Skip to content

November 17, 1944

Minutes, with the Commandant, November 14: Mr. Yamato also present, but Miss McKim interpreting. “The Command asked
us to proceed with the matters we had for discussion. First, we asked whether he had approved of the trip which we requested for two patients and two doctors to town hospital for X-rays. He said, ‘Yes, they can go—if they walk both ways and make the trip during one day. There is no available transportation for them.’ We replied, ‘This is impossible, but possibly they would be able to walk from the market to the hospital if they could go with the truck when it goes to market.’ He said that our doctors should be able to get along without X-ray; we have much better equipment than the military prison camps; that in his homeland they get along without X-ray for such cases. He said there was no fuel for the truck, and that if they went with it on one of its trips to the market, there would be no way for them to return. We explained the importance of these patients being X-rayed, and that we did not come to him with minor cases, but made such requests only when our doctors felt that it was absolutely necessary, and a case of life or death. He replied, ‘No matter. It cannot be done.’ . . . We told him we did not think we were getting a fair ration—that people are actually starving, and that according to international law he is responsible to see that people in the camp, under his direct control, do not starve. He replied that his responsibility ended when more food was being supplied than people Outside were getting. . . . . We asked if our petition had been forwarded to the Highest Commander. He said, ‘No, it would only anger him if he received it.’ . . . The head of the Work Details would like to make the following statement to the women concerning the request for more helpers in the veg room: ‘Out of 189 women, there are now 45 from whom we can expect little or no camp work, owing to sickness. To take care of the sick we now have 35 women, and consequently an increasing burden has been thrown onto the rest of the women to keep going such essential services as vegetable and rice preparation, and education. The schedule of women’s work hours set up some time ago js now inadequate and a number of women are already giving much more of their time to the community. In the vegetable room, more workers are needed the first thing in the morning so that our vegetables, particularly camotes nowadays, are well cooked  by lunchtime. Perhaps some can do their gardening in th afternoon and prepare vegetables in the morning. Please do not feel that you are being ‘picked on” or censored if you are asked to help. Also do not criticize other women for not “doing their bit,” because the odds are that they  are handicapped by sickness of which you are ignorant’’ In the garden, the average number of hours dropped to 200 per day, with 70 people, for the first two weeks in November (excluding the days of the typhoon).”

| think how often poverty and ignorance breed obstinacy. Tomibe and Oura—two sides of the face of Japan. One was educated in a cultured background; the other in poverty and bitterness, not understanding polite Japanese conversation. There is a world between, yet both are Japan, just as wealth and poverty, culture and ignorance live side by side in America.

I told Jerry if he couldn’t give me an hour a day from six to seven that I would come home sick or well and he could look after me. June and Bedie finally popped in after two days’ absence.