Miné Okubo, Untitled (Departure and segregation of pro-Japanese to Tule Lake, Central Utah Relocation Project, Topaz, Utah, 1942–44), c. 1942–44, ink on paper. Japanese American National Museum, Gift of the Miné Okubo Estate (2007.62.197)
Look carefully at this drawing by Miné Okubo. Examine all the details in the foreground, middleground, and background.
- What is depicted in this drawing?
- Where might all the people in the vehicles be leaving from?
- Where might they be going?
- How would you describe the expressions on the faces you see?
- What questions do you have about this image?
In her book Citizen 13660, originally published in 1946, Ms. Okubo wrote the following about her image:
The program of segregation was now instituted. One of its purposes was to protect loyal Japanese Americans from the continuing threats of pro-Japanese agitators. Tule Lake, one of the ten original centers, was chosen as a segregation center for the disloyal. In the fall of 1943 thirteen hundred Topazians (about one tenth of the total) were sent there. The group included all who had said they wished to return to Japan; the “no, nos,” that is, those who would not change their unsatisfactory answers to the questionnaire when they were given a chance to do so; all who remained under suspicion of disloyalty after investigation by the War Relocation Authority and the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and close relatives who would rather be segregated with their families than separated from them.
Whatever decision was made, families suffered deeply.