Japanese-American Internment - CLOSING BUSINESSES

Although the owner of this Oakland, California business supported his country (America) and not the country of his ancestors (Japan), he—like other Japanese-Americans living in California and other western states—was forced to close his business. Instead of living in Oakland, he would live in an interment camp. Photo by Dorothea Lange, taken in March of 1942. Online via the Library of Congress.


The Shibuya family, who lived in Mountain View, California were successful Japanese-Americans. Just before they were uprooted from their beautiful home, to take up residence in an internment camp, they posed for a picture. Its caption (from the National Archives) states:

The Shibuya family on the lawn in front of their beautiful home before evacuation to War Relocation Authority centers where residents of Japanese ancestry are to be relocated. Mr. and Mrs. Shibuya came to this country in 1904 with only $60 and a basket of clothes. Later they established a prosperous business of raising select varieties of chrysanthemums for eastern markets. Four of their six American-born children attended leading California Universities.

That significant history did nothing to help the Shibuya family avoid forced evacuation.

A pictorial record tells similar stories for other Japanese-American families throughout California:

  • Storefront windows in the “Little Tokyo” section of Los Angeles instructed Japanese Americans to pack up their things and prepare to leave their homes.
  • Many stores in the area advertised bargain prices, or rental opportunities, as owners prepared to shutdown or sell-out businesses which supported their families.
  • Some of the patrons (soon-to-be evacuees) bought things they would need after relocation.
  • A neighborhood near the LA Civic Center, once populated with Japanese-American owners and tenants, prepared for new residents.
  • Those who lived at Manzanar could at least enjoy a mountain creek which flowed through the desert at the outer border of the camp.
  • On 6 April 1942, about 664 Japanese-Americans were ordered to leave San Francisco and were sent to camps. They had already registered with the Wartime Civil Control Administration.

Babies were born, or raised, in the camps. Later, one of those children - Dr. Satsuki Ina - devoted her career to help others deal with the psychological effects the interment created.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Feb 01, 2002

Updated Last Revision: Sep 01, 2017

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"CLOSING BUSINESSES" AwesomeStories.com. Feb 01, 2002. Jan 19, 2020.
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