by Max Brantley
Mr. Satoda, who gives his age as “94½,” was 22 when he and his family were uprooted from their home in San Francisco and sent to an assembly center in Fresno, Calif., and then to the Jerome Relocation Center in the mosquito-ridden Arkansas Delta. They were among an estimated 120,000 people of Japanese descent, about two-thirds of them United States citizens, who were regarded as enemy aliens and incarcerated after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
“Today was supposed to be my graduation day at Cal,” Mr. Satoda noted on May 13, 1942, the second day of a confinement that lasted almost three years.
“Got hell from Mom for fooling around with women,” he wrote six days later.
“Hot as hell today,” he reported the following evening. “Ptomaine poisoning in mess hall,” he added. “3 or 4 hundred sick.”