This site is dedicated to all Asian Americans in Riverside, past and present.
Many people contributed to this project.
Thanks are especially due to all the community members featured on this site, who were willing to share their stories.
A major grant from the California Council for the Humanities supported the research and the creation of this website.
Thanks are also due to:
Dr. Vince Moses, Riverside Metropolitan Museum
Dr. Edna Bonacich
William Swafford, Local History Librarian, Riverside Central Library
Mark Rawitsch, author of No Other Place (1984)
The staff at Olivewood Memorial Park
For translation help: Yukiko Matsuyama
The work on George Fujimoto's diaries was supported by a grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program (CCLPEP). It backed the research that will result in a book. It supported the work of transcribing the diaries and my interviews with George, made several public events possible, and it also underwrote some of the publication costs. The California Civil Liberties Public Education Program (CCLPEP) was created in 1999 as the result of the passage of the California Civil Liberties Public Education Act (AB1915) sponsored by Assembly member Mike Honda. Its purpose is to provide competitive grants for public educational activities and the development of educational materials to ensure that the events surrounding the exclusion, forced removal and incarceration of civilians and permanent resident aliens of Japanese ancestry will be remembered and so that causes and circumstances of this and similar events may be illuminated and understood. Diane Matsuda, the CCLPEP director, was a great help, and becoming part of the far-flung CCLPEP 'family' of researcher-activists was a dividend that is hard to describe. Meeting other grant recipients and hearing about their work on the history of the internment camps was inevitably inspiring and humbling; the urgency driving all of us was a shared bond, and the long-term legacy of the CCLPEP projects will be fundamentally important to Asian American Studies and to many Americans' understandings of the Japanese American internment and its impact on our society.
The lion's share of thanks goes to George and Masako Fujimoto for their time, their humility, their dignity, and their readiness to step forward.
At Special Collections, University of California, Riverside: Sidney Berger, former Director, for bringing the Fujimoto diaries to my attention. Sid said he had long hoped someone would work on them, and I share his hope that someone will be inspired to translate and publish Mr. Toranosuke Fujimoto's diaries, still in Special Collections. Melissa Conway, current Director of Special Collections; Sara Fitzgerald and Darian Daries.
Steve Walag (formerly with Photographic Services at the University of California, Riverside ) took the photographs of the Fujimoto diaries.
Lane Ryo Hirabayashi offered advice and encouragement along the way, and his work in related areas was an inspiration.
Members of the Riverside chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League were there from the beginning: Gen and Dolly Ogata, Irene Ogata, Junji Kumamoto, Clyde Wilson, Tony and Meiko Inaba, and Michiko Yoshimura were all a great help. Joyce Nako was a treasure. Alice Kanda ( nee Gotori) shared her memories of Riverside from this period.
All photographs were taken by Deborah Wong unless otherwise noted.