Minidoka: An American Concentration Camp by Teresa Tamura

  • Fred Takashi Kawahara was a child when his family was forced to move to the Minidoka internment camp. In 2006, he returned to the site for a visit, accompanied by his grandson, Derek Shigeo Kawahara.

    Teresa Tamura
  • Bedframes remain in a barrack at Minidoka.

    Teresa Tamura

Minidoka: An American Concentration Camp
Teresa Tamura,
305 pages, hardcover:
Caxton Press, 2013

In the wake of the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an order forcing the West Coast's entire Japanese and Japanese American population to relocate to internment camps. Photojournalist Teresa Tamura, a third-generation Japanese American, tells the story of one such camp in Minidoka: An American Concentration Camp. Thousands of people were imprisoned there, mere hours from the author's Idaho hometown, yet her parents never spoke of it; Tamura only learned of the camp as an adult. Little remains of Minidoka, which became a national historic site in 2001; aerial images show a handful of structures dotting what is now farmland. Surviving photographs depict a bleak outdoor landscape, minimal comforts, and a community bravely attempting to maintain a normal life. The text interweaves history with Tamura's personal account, while her images vividly portray the lives and legacies of those forced for three years to call Minidoka home.

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