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UCR center receives grant for book about WWII Riverside Japanese-American Diary

UCR center receives grant for book about WWII Riverside Japanese-American Diary

(April 24, 2001)

The Center for Asian Pacific America at the University of California, Riverside received a $14,000 grant to fund the transcription and publication of the World War II-era diaries of Riverside-born, Japanese-American George Fujimoto, Jr.

The California Civil Liberties Public Education Program provided the grant April 23 to fund a book to be titled, "From Riverside to Poston: The Fujimoto Diaries." The work will cover the years 1942-47 when anti-Japanese sentiment forced more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans from their West Coast homes to detention camps in the interior West. The Fujimoto family lost their home in Riverside and spent years in a camp in Poston, Ariz. The book will supplement diary entries with family photographs and oral history interviews.

The book will also document George Fujimoto's wartime service in the U.S. Army. Enlistment was the only way out of the camps. Fujimoto, now 80, is working closely with Deborah Wong, a UCR music professor and the Director of the Center for Asia Pacific America. Wong will transcribe, edit, and publish the diaries. The forced relocation came two months after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor when the federal government forced all Japanese-Americans, regardless of loyalty or citizenship, to evacuate the West Coast because they were thought to be security threats.

"From Riverside to Poston," a vivid personal history of internment and return, also provides a historical perspective on the Asian-American experience in Riverside, a little documented topic, according to Wong. The book will not only fill a gap, but is expected to provide a model for how oral history, diaries, and autobiography can converge.

Established in 1994, the Center for Asian Pacific America is located in the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at UCR and is dedicated to making Asian American Studies and the Asian Pacific American community visible in the Inland Area. The California Civil Liberties Public Education Program was established in 1999 through legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Mike Honda (D-San Jose). Its purpose is to fund projects that document the forced relocation of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

For more information, contact Dr. Deborah Wong at (909) 787-3726 or send her an e-mail message at

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