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These works were created by Terry Yoshimura Bendt and I for “ConneXtions: A Collaboration of Glass and Wood,” an exhibition jointly sponsored by the International Society of Glass Beadmakers (ISGB) and the American Association of Woodturners (AAW). The exhibition will feature collaborations between more than 100 member artists and will run from June 26 through December 15, 2007, at the AAW Gallery in St. Paul, Minnesota. Both Terry and I are Japanese-American, and our pieces, which were inspired by the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, represent journeys both personal and creative.

Executive Order 9066

Lynne Yamaguchi, woodturner, and Terry Yoshimura Bendt, glass beadmaker
Tucson, Arizona

Executive Order 9066 was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942. This order authorized the forced evacuation from their homes of more than 120,000 persons of Japanese descent living on the west coast of the United States and in Hawaii during World War II. Two-thirds of those rounded up were American-born citizens; many of the rest were long-term residents denied citizenship because of their Asian ancestry. Individuals with even one-sixteenth Japanese blood were considered enemy aliens and were subject to incarceration under Executive Order 9066.

These American citizens and immigrants were given six days to sell, store, or otherwise dispose of their possessions and were told they could take only what they could carry. Many owned homes, farms, and thriving businesses and suffered tremendous financial loss.

The evacuees—half of them women, a quarter children—were numbered, tagged, collected, and transported to fairgrounds, racetracks, migrant worker camps, and other sites where assembly centers had been hastily set up. At the Santa Anita Racetrack in Los Angeles, for example, thousands were housed in whitewashed horse stalls, sleeping on mattresses they had to stuff with straw. They lived in these temporary centers for up to seven months before being transported in batches to one of the ten internment camps located throughout the interior of the United States.

One of the best known of these camps was located in Manzanar, California. Among the rest was a camp on the Gila River Indian Reservation in Arizona. These two camps inspired the pieces presented here: “Executive Order 9066: Manzanar” (top) and “Executive Order 9066: Gila River” (bottom). (Follow the links to see and read about the pieces in greater detail.)

"Executive Order 9066: Manzanar," photographed May 26, 2007, at special Tucson showing.

"Executive Order 9066: Gila River," photographed May 26, 2007, at special Tucson showing.

“Manzanar”  •  “Gila River”  •  Back to home page  •  Back to titled work