Papers relating to the Harry Ueno's internment at Camp Manzanar in 1942. Includes correspondence, clippings, and oral history
During World War II, approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans were deemed a national security threat and placed in internment
camps. Contrary to common belief, Japanese Americans protested against their involuntary confinement. The Manzanar Riot is
among the most renowned examples of internee resistance and Harry Ueno played a central role in it.
Harry Ueno was born on April 14, 1907 in Hawaii. When he was eight years old, he was taken to Hiroshima, Japan, to be educated.
Afler graduating from the Kuba City grammar school and attending a trade school in Tokyo for nearly a year, he returned to
the United States in 1923. He held various positions in Washington and northern California before moving to Los Angeles in
1931. In Los Angeles, he and his wife, Yaso, had three children. Harry Ueno was employed as a salesman for retail fruits and
vegetables until the evacuation.
The Ueno family was evacuated to Manzanar. A few months into his internment, he initiated the investigation of the sugar and
beef shortage, and organized 1,600 kitchen workers into Mess Hall Workers Union. On December 5, 1942, Tayama, a JACL (Japanese
American Citizen's League) leader in Manzanar, was severely beaten by masked internees. Although Ueno was arrested for this
incident, he was not charged or given a trial. The internees in Manzanar congregated in front of Ueno's jail cell demanding
his release. Ueno was the veritable folk hero, the martyr of Manzanar, around whom the internees marched. The riot ended with
eight internees wounded and two killed. Ueno along with other camp leaders were removed to isolation centers where they were
cut off from all contact. It was not until nearly a year later, that he would see his family again.
With the war's end, the Ueno family resettled in northern California and began a cherry and strawberry farm. Harry Ueno is
now retired, and is an act!ve member and supporter of the Japanese American community and its related research.
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