This February the 19th marks 80 years since President Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066.
The Executive Order effected the forceable movement of nearly 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans from exclusion zones along the US’s western borders into relocation centers. Some two-thirds of those incarcerated were American citizens.
Toyojiro Yamada of Seattle was one of those held at the nearby Minidoka War Relocation Center in Idaho. Mr. Yamada’s grandson, Lawrence Matsuda donated to the Seattle Go Center Shogi and Go equipment that had belonged to his grandfather. These include a shogi board that had been made in the camp and a set of go stones that are believed to have been used there (pictured).
Privacy was scarce throughout the camp, and housing units at Minidoka were very poorly insulated, containing only a single lightbulb and coal burning stove. Incarcerees from the Pacific Northwest would have been unused to the high-altitude desert environment, experiencing temperatures below freezing in winter as well as summer days above 100°F.
Though an unfortunate history, the Seattle Go Center is honored to be trusted with a piece of it in remembrance.