In 1945 the Japanese who had been evacuated from the Sacramento area started to return. They faced hostility and acceptance, violence and benevolence. The following are excerpts from a Federal Document describing the pre- and post-war population, hinting at what actually happened and was to happen. For those of you who wish to slog through this document you may email me and I will email you the PDF.
I was intrigued by a statement toward the end of the report. Regardless of current personal opinions about the local newspaper, the official WRA report suggests the Sacramento Bee was less than cordial and supportive of returning Japanese. The statement made was vague. So I went to the in-house index of the Sacramento area newspapers to see what I could find. The index was compiled by Library staff and is in no way comprehensive. For the dates 1937 to 1973 I could find nothing about the exclusion and evacuation of the Japanese from Sacramento, nor of their return. I will make no judgments nor draw any conclusions concerning the lack of indexing.
Next, I grabbed a roll of film for January, 1945, and started looking at the Bee. After about 30 minutes I found three articles, included after the excerpts.
Gerald F. Ward
WAR RELOCATION AUTHORITY
Community Analysis Section
March 1, 1945
Community Analysis Notes No. 8
WEST COAST LOCALITIES: SACRAMENTO COUNTY AND CITY
[Excerpted from page 1]
In a total pre-war population of 105,000 in the City of Sacramento, the Japanese population was just under 2,900. The Japanese population of the County was, in 1940, 6,764.
At evacuation, most Sacramento County people went to Tule Lake Center, where many remained even after segregation. In July, 1944, there were 2,799 at Tule Lake, more than 2,000 having been residents there before segregation. Other Sacramento people had come in from all centers except Heart Mountain and Minidoka. On the same date, there were 382 at Poston, all but 7 individuals residing in Camp II; and 623 at Gila (September 30). (Exact numbers at other centers not known.)
[Excerpted from page 7-8]
Post-Exclusion. At evacuation, workers in State offices were "suspended". Since the lifting of Japanese exclusion, State Personnel Board (Civil Service) has announced that Nisei evacuees will be employed according to their qualifications, applications being accepted from those who never have worked for the State previously, and old employees being re-hired after individual investigation.
The Council of Churches, YMCA, and Council for Civic Unity have made statements and given material to the newspapers in a campaign to gain acceptance of returning evacuees. Rabbi Goldburg addressed the Rotary Club in January, condemning boycotts. Undoubtedly a boycott would not be effective in a city the size of Sacramento.
Attitudes of people who have rented Japanese property apparently are the same as attitudes elsewhere or perhaps a little better.
The Sacramento Bee has continued a campaign against return of the Japanese, although its statements, on the whole, have not been violent and it has quoted favorable statements by civic organizations.
A genuine difficulty arises in the increase of population in the old Japanese district, especially increase of Negro population. An undisciplined element here and around the railroad station presents a real problem to returning evacuees. a man who returned before the lifting of exclusion, Mr. Osada, and his Caucasian wife who had remained in Sacramento have pointed out the possible threat from a undisciplined group having a high proportion of males. The Osadas have assisted others returning on short-term leaves, have cared for evacuee property, and probably will give other assistance in the course of their real estate business.
Mrs. Tono Sakai, from Topaz, was issued in January a Sacramento license to operate the Lincoln Hotel, believed to be the first business permit issued to a foreign-born Japanese in California since December 17, 1944.
Police Chief McAllister of Sacramento City has asked for cooperation of the public in avoiding any untoward incidents, stating "acts of violence ... will not be tolerated." Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, following the above mentioned fires, added 3 deputies to the sheriff's staff to give extra protection to Japanese and their property.
Sacramento Bee, January 17, 1945, Page 8
Sacramento Bee, January 19, 1945, Page 20