Note: The following table was prepared by Sumiko Kobayashi for the Imprisoned Without Trial Exhibit in October 2008. The article which follows appeared in Medford Leas Life also in October 2008.

Japanese American residents of Medford Leas
who were interned in World War II

(D) indicates deceased

NameEvacuated fromToRelocated to
ENDO, Ayaka (D)San FranciscoTopaz UTMinneapolis MN
ENDO, Minoru (D)San FranciscoTopaz UTMIS Ft Snelling MN
ISHIDA, FlorenceSeattleMinidoka IDNew York City
KAWANO, JamesLos AngelesHeart Mtn WYDrake U. Des Moines
KAWANO, ShigekoLos AngelesPoston 1 AZTemple U.
KOBAYASHI, SumikoSan Leandro CATopaz UTDrew U., NJ
KOBAYASHI, SuyeSan Leandro CATopaz UTBloomfield, CT
MARUTANI, William (D)Kent WATule Lake CADakota Wesleyan SD
MORIUCHI, TakashiLivingston CAAmache COHaddonfield, NJ
MORIUCHI, YurikoLos AngelesRohwer ARPhiladelphia
MURAKAMI, MarySan Dimas CAHeart Mtn WYPhiladelphia
MURAKAMI, TomomiHollydale CARohwer ARSwarthmore College
OYE, George (D)Sacramento CAJerome/Gila RiverPhiladelphia
OYE, KazueWatsonville CAPoston 2 AZPhiladelphia
SHIMANOUCHI, IdaSan FranciscoTopaz, UTSmith College MA
TODA, MaryWatsonville, CAPoston 2 AZ GGeorge School, PA
UYEHARA, GrayceStockton, CARohwer ARPhiladelphia
UYEHARA, HiroshiLos AngelesRohwer ARPhiladelphia

JAPANESE AMERICANS AT MEDFORD LEAS: WHO ARE THEY?
by Sumi Kobayashi
(from the October, 2008 issue of Medford Leas Life)

There are 21 current and former Japanese Amercan residents at Medford Leas. Most were born and grew up on the west coast of the United States and came to the east coast as a result of the United States Government placing all persons of Japanese ancestry in American-style concentration camps during World War II.

The evacuees had lived on the west coast from Seattle to Southern California. The late William Marutani lived in Kent, WA; Florence Ishida in Seattle, WA. Minoru Endo and Ida Shimanouchi lived in San Francisco. Others in the Bay area were Sumiko Kobayashi, Kazuye Oye, and Mary Toda. Takashi Moriuchi, Grayce Uyehara, and the late George Oye hailed from central California. Yuriko Moriuchi, Shigeko and James Kawano, Mary and Tom Murakami, and Hiroshi Uyehara lived in the Los Angeles area. All were American citizens born in the United States who were swept up in the evacuation of ethnic Japanese.

They were first sent to temporary holding areas, like race tracks and fairgrounds, which could accommodate several thousand people, while semi-permanent barrack cities were prepared in interior mountain states and swampy land along the Mississippi River in Arkansas. Min Endo, Yuri Moriuchi, Tom Murakami, and Hiroshi Uyehara were assigned to horse stalls that had been hastily whitewashed and converted into living quarters.

As the fall of 1942 approached, the internees were sent to ten camps in California, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Arkansas. True to their beliefs, the Quakers were in the forefront reaching out to the imprisoned people. The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) sent layettes to mothers of newborns in all ten camps. Florence Ishida was one of those who received a layette.

As the tide of war changed in favor of the U.S., the Government allowed the release of the internees. Tom Murakami, Bill Marutani, Ida Shimanouchi, Sumi Kobayashi, James and Shigeko Kawano left to attend college. Tak Moriuchi, Min Endo, and Hiroshi Uyehara had already graduated. Min Endo left for the Military Intelligence Service Language School in Minnesota, where he was retained as an instructor after going through intensive training. When the war ended, he went to Tokyo as part of the Occupation of Japan. Mary Toda became secretary to the Dean of the George School, a Friends boarding school in Bucks County.

The Nisei (American born and educated) who relocated to the east coast found their futures in varying fields. Tak Moriuchi remained in agriculture and expanded his horizons to banking and real estate, and was one of the co-founders of Medford Leas. Min Endo became a Vice-President of Mikasa, Inc. Tom Murakami, Ph.D., Hiroshi Uyehara, and Sumi Kobayashi found technical careers with RCA, Westinghouse and FMC Corp-oration, respectively. James Kawano, a pharmacist, had his own store in West Philadelphia. Ida Shimanouchi and Grayce Uyehara went into education. Ida taught English at a progressive private school in Manhattan. Grayce switched careers from music to social work and became a counselor in the Lower Merion School District. Grayce later played a key role as coordinator in the ten-year lobbying effort to obtain redress for the Japanese Americans.

As a result of the assistance of the Friends in the relocation centers and the welcoming attitude and helpful assistance in the resettlement process, many of the evacuees joined the Society of Friends. Tak and Yuri Moriuchi became stalwart supporters of Moorestown Meeting and its associated school. James and Shigeko Kawano joined Merion Meeting. George and Kaz Oye became members of Providence Meeting. George joined the staff of AFSC soon after he came to Philadelphia and volunteered to keep the books of the Friends Credit Union after he retired.

Tak Moriuchi was responsible for most of the Japanese Americans becoming residents of Medford Leas. He convinced fellow members of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) that Medford Leas was where they wanted to be when their children had flown the nest and they faced possible health problems in their senior years.

Four Japanese American residents of Medford Leas were born in Japan, three of whom were not interned. Victoria Marutani was a nurse in occupied Japan, when she met Bill, who enlisted the help of his Congressman to enable her to enter the U.S., opening the door for other U.S. servicemen to marry Japanese women. Kimiko DeFranco also came to the U.S. as the bride of an American serviceman. Steve Yanai came to the U.S. after the war, earned a Ph.D in physical chemistry, and joined Rohm & Haas. Of the 18 residents who were interned, Suye Kobayashi was the only one not born in the US. She had come to the as a bride in 1922, interned at Topaz, (in center wearing a white cap) she spent the last years of her life at Medford Leas and died in November 2001.