THE KIKUCHI DIARY: Chronicle from an American Concentration Camp by Charles Kikuchi

THE KIKUCHI DIARY: Chronicle from an American Concentration Camp

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The name Charles Kikuchi will not be unfamiliar to those acquainted with the World War II Japanese-American relocation literature, particularly in connection with the indispensable three-volume Japanese Evacuation and Relocation Study conducted by the Berkeley sociologist Dorothy Swaine Thomas, aided by Nisei (American-born) students including Kikuchi (who contributed the case histories which largely comprise volume two of JERS). During his field work, Thomas encouraged Kikuchi to record his personal impressions of life in the camps -- hence this edited version of his diary of a four-month stay-at the Tanforan Center which, as Modell suggests in his introduction, can be read profitably on several levels: as a detailed record of the camp's activities and the reactions of the inmates, as a daybook of a young Japanese-American's psychological feelings about this extraordinary upheaval, and as ""one strangely glowing example of the far wider phenomenon of ethnic ambivalence."" Indeed that latter word sums up Kikuchi's attitude; he believes that ""on the whole the Nisei group didn't get too damaged"" by the relocation policy, that ""Generally, we probably gained as a result,"" that the Issei [native Japanese] ""are too pro-Japan to be trusted with our future"" and ""the future must be left in Nisei hands, sink or swim"" -- more a generational than racial conflict. Serious students of this American aberration will recognize the Kikuchi journal for what it is: a germane but ultimately marginal document.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1973
Publisher: Univ. of Illinois Press