Eji Suyama, 100th Bn/442nd RCT Draftees, No-Nos, Draft Resisters and Renunciants Archival Collection Endowment

UCLA Asian American Studies Center's Suyama Project aims to preserve the history of Japanese American resistance during World War II, including, but not limited to the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team draftees, Army and draft resisters, No-Nos, renunciants, and other Nikkei dissidents of World War II. The Suyama Project is made possible through the generous gift of an anonymous donor who wanted to honor and remember the legacy of resistance, broadly understood.

Home >> Introduction >> The Inouye Diary


What follows are excerpts from a diary that Tatsuo Inouye kept while imprisoned in the stockade at the Tule Lake Segregation Center. Inouye was arrested on November 13, 1943 and held in the stockade until February 14, 1944, for a total of three months and one day.

The stockade — a prison within a prison — was created in November 1943, after martial law was declared and the army occupied the camp. The army invasion started on the evening of November 4, 1943, when a group of Japanese Americans tried to prevent Caucasians from driving trucks out of Tule Lake. The group suspected that the trucks were loaded with food that were meant to be served to the Japanese Americans but were, instead, being smuggled out and being sold on the black market.

When the Project Director Raymond Best saw the crowd headed towards his residence, he overreacted and called in the army, which came in full force with tanks and jeeps mounted with machine guns.

Initially, a hastily made tent stockade was created in an open field to imprison the Japanese American men captured on the evening of Nov. 4. Later, more men were rounded up, and barracks were constructed. The barrack stockades, which had been built to house about 100 men, swelled to 400 detained men over an eight-month period. The stockade had four guard towers, one standing at each corner, and was surrounded with barbed wire fencing. The barrack stockades were built far from the general camp population barracks, and there were several fences built between the barrack stockades and the general camp area, which prevented the stockade prisoners from communicating with the camp residents.

Stockade inmates were not formally charged and were detained indefinitely. They were further denied visitation rights with family or friends. To protest the unfair and brutal treatment, stockade inmates held a number of hunger strikes. The stockade was finally destroyed after Ernest Besig of the Northern California American Civil Liberties Union and Wayne Collins, a San Francisco attorney, intervened.

Today, no remnants of the wooden stockade barracks exists. The only structure that remains standing in that general area is a lone cement jail house, which visitors mistake for the stockade barracks.

The following excerpts (PDF) from the Inouye diary begins with Tatsuo Inouye getting picked up by the military police in front of his children and being placed into the stockade. At this point, Tule Lake was already in turmoil for about a week. Several Tuleans had been picked up, beaten, and tossed into a make-shift stockade.

Transcribed by Nancy Kyoko Oda

Art work by Ernie Jane Masako Nishii

Special Acknowledgement Frances Sayuri Takeda

Translated by Professor Masumi Izumi

Edited by Martha Nakagawa

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