The following letter to the editor by playwright/poet and former Tule Lake incarceree Hiroshi Kashiwagi was submitted to the Herald and News, the daily newspaper in Klamath Falls, California, not far from the site of the former Tule Lake Segregation Center, in response to their story on the controversy about the proposed perimeter fence that would enclose the airstrip at the site (story linked below). It is reprinted here with the permission of the author.
I am the playwright/poet Hiroshi Kashiwagi. I am also a Tule Lake survivor, a No-No Boy and a renunciant—a recovered American.
It seems like we’ve lived with a fence all our lives, beginning at Arboga Prison, and then at Tule Lake Concentration Camp. I mean a barbed wire fence with guard towers and search lights at night, and sentries with guns that could explode in our faces.
Then, after we were released from Tule Lake, there was a symbolic fence, an imaginary one, to ward off the disdain and contempt of those in our own community toward us because we were confined at Tule Lake Segregation Center as “disloyals” and “troublemakers.”
Now, yet another fence at Tule Lake. This time a real one to cut off access to the camp site, the source of our painful memory, a sacred place we return to again and again for remembrance, for solace, for healing.
We cannot let this happen. We cannot let them hang this fence around us forever and ever. We just cannot. We must stop it.
Hiroshi Kashiwagi, a native of Sacramento, California, writes from San Francisco, California.
The views expressed in this story are those of the author, and are not necessarily those of the Manzanar Committee.
You can help STOP The Fence at Tule Lake. For information and to sign the petition: Call To Action: STOP The Fence At Tule Lake.
LEAD PHOTO: Hiroshi Kashiwagi (foreground) and his wife, Sadako. Photo: Kashiwagi Family Collection.
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- Call To Action: STOP The Fence At Tule Lake
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- A No-No Boy Goes To Washington – Hiroshi Kashiwagi
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