Japanese American National Museum
Collections & Research

[Letter to Helen McNary from Fusa Tsumagari, Arcadia, California, August 9, 1942]

Tsumagari, Fusa [ bio ]

[Letter to Helen McNary from Fusa Tsumagari, Arcadia, California, August 9, 1942]
Enlarge Image (87.8KB)

H: 8 in, W: 9.75 in (sheet); H: 4.25 in, W: 5.25 in (envelope)

Arcadia, Calif., August 9, 1942


Gift of Elizabeth Y. Yamada


1 letter and envelope from Fusa Tsumagari to Helen McNary.

August 9, 1942 / Santa Anita Assembly Center / District 5 F-27-5 / Arcadia, California / Dear Miss McNary, / It was my intention to write to you on the same day I wrote to Miss Breed, but a mob riot developed and caused all suspension of work. / Before I tell you about it I want to thank you for sending me the candy and also for lending me your shorthand book. At the present time my shorthand is at a standstill, but as we may move soon, I hope to resume my lessons in the winter. / Though we don't know where we will be moving we expect to be snowbound in the winter. At any rate, it certainly will be much colder than San Diego. / On Wednesday, the army (not from Frisco, though) ordered our barracks searched for contraband. Previous to this whenever such an order was issued we were given bulletins and notified on everything. This, however, was done abruptly with no reason given and did not give the people a very good attitude toward the search. Then, they closed certain gates and would not allow the people to pass unless they were searched. This, too, aroused their anger. / Then, to top that, they began to confiscate such things as scissors and knitting needles as contraband. Then, some of the police had the nerve to steal people's money and also remove things from people's houses without allowing the occupant to see what was taken. One policeman in particular aroused the people to such a degree that they began to mob him. Incidentally a Korean was leading the men in their raid. Many people had grievances against him before as he was claimed to be a "stool pidgeon". Unfortunately the mob of people were so aroused that they chased him and beat him with chairs. This was wrong, but a mad mob is very hard to control. Incidentally this led to the discovery of liquor smuggling and jailing of some of the stewards of the mess hall. The army took control for three days and everything was at a standstill. We and also the army were glad they finally moved out. The newspapers did not give this version, but that's the way we saw it. Just a few days before the incident we were all craving for excitement, but now that it is over we are glad that it is over. / Once again thank you for the candy and book. If you have time, please write to me sometime. / Sincerely, / Fusa Tsumagari

All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in this collection must be submitted to the Collections Management & Access Unit at the Japanese American National Museum (



Jump to Top of Page Japanese American National Museum home
Copyright © 1998-2019 Japanese American National Museum
100 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles California 90012   ▪   phone: (213) 625-0414