Japanese American National Museum
Collections & Research

[Letter to Clara Breed from Hisako Watanabe, Poston, Arizona, January 7, 1943]

Watanabe, Hisako [ bio ]

[Letter to Clara Breed from Hisako Watanabe, Poston, Arizona, January 7, 1943]
Enlarge Image (87.8KB)

H: 10 in, W: 8 in (sheet); H: 3.5 in, 6 in (envelope)

Poston, Ariz., January 7, 1943


Gift of Elizabeth Y. Yamada


1 letter and envelope from Hisako Watanabe to Clara Breed.

January 7, 1943/Dear Miss Breed,/I was overjoyed to hear from you and that lovely book!! you sent me. Thank you very much. When I saw the books it left me speechless with gladness and I cannot find words to express my feeling. You helped to enlighten my holiday spirits. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done for us. I appreciate the well you feel toward us Japanese. It is in times like these that we need all the friends we can make and it is our duty to keep these friends. I hope I didn't put you to a lot of trouble but in a place like this we haven't anything and I didn't know of any other way to ask you. I am sorry if I caused you a lot of extra work or trouble./I was glad to hear that you received the flowers in good shape. Everyone had some part of the package. William made the name pin for you. It looks like two different pieces of wood, my mother thought it was, but it is just one piece of mesquite wood with (over) two shades of color. Richard (my oldest brother) made the little geta. I hoped you would like everything and I hope it helped your Christmas to be a merrier one./I will be very glad to write to you and I hope you will find time to correspond with me too. There are many things I would like to tell you about Poston but if I were to try and tell you everything it would take too long. I will tell you a few things about our camp which is Camp 3./ The camp is made up of blocks. Each block has its own washroom, ironing room and latrine. There are 14 barracks and a mess hall or dining hall and a recreational hall in each block. It looks something like this [drawing of barracks and facilities, one block] I can't draw very good but I hope you can tell what a block looks like by this picture./Each family has dressed their barrack in a different way. We have a little vegetable garden on the side of the barrack. /The schools are better than what they were. When school started about 3 months ago there were no chairs, tables, books, etc. It was just a barren room. Everyone had their father or brother make them a chair. We had to carry these crude chairs from one class to another./ Now we have tables, chairs, and we just received our books. In our history class there are maps and other things on the wall which makes it look much more like a class room. There are many, many more things I would like to tell you but I shall save it for next time. /I told mama you liked the flowers and the corsages and she looked very pleased. Mama made the flowers and my brother, Richard, made the corsages. He is good at that sort of thing because he has been working in flower shops in San Diego and also in Los Angeles./Yes, I remember the dolls that are put up on "O Hina Matsuri" and I am sure you can use the geta for something. You may even be able to do something with it and wear it as a little pin. William was very proud of the name pin he made for you and when I told him how much you liked it and how you were going to wear it, he beamed up like a little kid. Yes, the heart would make a very lovely pin. I was trying to make a pin too but I cut my finger so I decided to let it go. If I ever go into carving again I shall remember to make you a cute little teddy bear pin which I think you will love. This is not a promise because I still want my fingers in good shape. /Everyone asked me to give you their best regards and they hope you had a nice, enjoyable holiday. /I certainly hope this war is going to be over soon, so that we can all go back into our old mode of living. When we come back to San Diego we shall be sure to look you up because you are one person no one could forget. You have a heart of gold and you believe in making other people happy. I am going to school and I have some homework to complete so I will close now but first I would like to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your letter./Please write me soon because I shall always be

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