GARDENA, CA — During World War II, while incarcerated behind barbed wire at Manzanar, a handful of Japanese Americans— Dr. Morganlander Shimpe Nishimura, a nuclear physicist from the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Kenji Nozaki, a chemist at the University of California, Los Angeles, Dr. Masuo Kodani, cytologist from UC Berkeley, Frank Hirasawa, organic chemist, Homer Kimura, a mechanical engineer, along with Frank Kageyama and Tomoichi Hata, worked to develop high-quality rubber from the Guayule plant in support of the United States’ war effort.
As Manzanar Committee member Joyce Okazaki wrote in this space in March 2009, “On five acres of land with 40 incarcerees, and at a cost of about $100.00, the Manzanar Guayule Project produced a higher yield of plant and a higher quality of rubber than the [larger Emergency Rubber Project in Salinas, California] or tree rubber. The tensile strength of the rubber was 5,150 pounds per square inch (PSI), compared to 3,700 PSI for Salinas, and 4,400 PSI for tree rubber.”
=On August 30, the Manzanar Committee sponsored a program on the Manzanar Guayule Project, featuring Frank Kageyama’s son, Dr. Glenn H. Kageyama, Ph.D., Professor of Neuroscience and Cell Biology at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, who discussed the achievements and the significance of the Manzanar Guayule Project.
Also featured was Colleen McMahan, Ph.D., lead research chemist for the Agricultural Research Service Domestic Natural Rubber Project, United States Department of Agriculture, who gave a fascinating presentation on how Guayule is once again being looked at as a source of high-quality rubber, including how large corporations such as Cooper Tire and Bridgestone Tire are investing heavily in Guayule.
Below are some photos from the event.
LEAD PHOTO: Dr. Glenn H. Kageyama speaking at the program on the Manzanar Guayule Rubber Project, August 30, 2015, Gardena, California. Kageyama is holding samples of rubber made from the Guayule plant. Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee.
Manzanar Guayule Rubber Project Has Enduring Impact – Photos
14 photos; ©2015 Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee. All rights reserved. Click on any photo in the gallery below to view a larger image and to click through the gallery.
The Manzanar Committee’s Official web site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. You may copy, distribute and/or transmit any story or audio content published on this site under the terms of this license, but only if proper attribution is indicated. The full name of the author and a link back to the original article on this site are required. Photographs, graphic images, and other content not specified are subject to additional restrictions. Additional information is available at: Manzanar Committee Official web site – Licensing and Copyright Information.