Internment back home
Ito’s mother sent him letters from an internment camp throughout the war. She begged Ito not to put himself in harm’s way, so he did not tell her that he had seen major battles until after the war was over, Ito said.
After the Pearl Harbor attack, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on Feb. 19, 1942, which allowed the creation of “military areas… from which any or all persons may be excluded” to protect the country from “espionage” and “sabotage.”
Ito’s mother, father and two sisters were given a couple weeks to dispose of everything that didn’t fit into a few suitcases and were moved to Rowher Internment Camp in Arkansas. They were among around 120,000 Japanese and Japanese-Americans held in these military zones until the war was over.
Pictured: Ito’s mother and two sisters in front of the unpainted sharecropping house they lived in in California.