Japanese American National Museum, Gift of Charles and Lois Ferguson (94.180.7)
This is written on the back of the photograph you just saw.
- What is the name of the man in the photo?
- What was he in charge of?
- What do you think the “Children’s Village” was?
- Who are the children in the picture?
At the time World War II broke out, there were three orphanages within California to care for children of Japanese descent (including mixed-race Japanese children) and to serve the needs of the Japanese American community. Two of these orphanages, the Shonien and the Maryknoll Catholic Home, were in Los Angeles; the Salvation Army Children’s Home was in San Francisco.
The children in these orphanages were there for various reasons. Sometimes their parents died or were too ill to care for the children because of mental illness or contagious diseases like tuberculosis. Other children were there temporarily while their parents could get back on their feet again financially.
When the Japanese Americans were removed from the West Coast, Japanese American children in these three orphanages were removed and placed in the Manzanar Children’s Village. The children ranged in age from infants and toddlers to 18-year-olds, and their experiences at Manzanar varied greatly. Nearly 20 percent of the Japanese American children were of mixed race.