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Feb. 20: Japanese American Internment Camp Survivors to Speak

Couple to discuss their experiences.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 2-1-2013

Mankato, Minn. – Two survivors of the Japanese American internment camps from the 1940s will speak at Minnesota State University, Mankato from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 20 in Trafton Center 121.

Saburo (Sab) and Marion Masada of Fresno, Calif., will share their experiences in a free, public presentation. The Masadas, a married couple, will discuss their experiences living in the camps that resulted from Executive Order 9066, signed 71 years ago (Feb. 19, 1942).

United States Executive Order 9066 was a U.S. presidential executive order signed and issued during World War II by President Franklin D. Roosevelt following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. The order allowed local military commanders to designate “military areas” as “exclusion zones” within the United States and led to the internment of Japanese Americans for the duration of the war.

Ten camps (relocation centers) were established under Executive Order 9066. Enforcement was abandoned in 1944, with the last of the camps closing in March 1946. Executive Order 9066 was not formally rescinded until 1976 under the administration of President Gerald Ford.

The following excerpt is from an April 24, 2012 Fremont (Neb.) Tribune article written by Tammy Real-McKeighan (click on this link to read entire article):

Like other Americans, Saburo Masada vividly remembers Dec. 7, 1941.

He and his family were working on a newly purchased farm in California. They turned on the radio to listen to a program. That program was interrupted by a news flash: Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor.

“I still remember saying, ‘What a stupid thing Japan is doing. Who do they think they are bombing our country?’” Masada said.

But within a short time, rumors circulated that Japanese Americans had something to do with the bombing — that they were loyal to Japan.

Soon, Masada would never forget another date: March 16, 1942. That day, a U.S. Army truck drove into the front yard of the farm. All nine family members were loaded into it and taken to the Fresno fairgrounds. Once a fun place, the fairgrounds now was surrounded with barbed wire fences and guard towers with soldiers manning guns pointed at Saburo and other Japanese Americans. (END OF EXCERPT)

The event is sponsored by Minnesota State Mankato’s Honors Program and is funded by Arts and Humanities, Honors, Graduate Studies and Research and Institutional Diversity.

Please contact Gina Wenger, professor of art at Minnesota State Mankato, for more information or accommodations. Wenger can be reached by phone at 507-389-5484 or by email at Those interested in more information may also call the Honors Program Office at 507-389-5191 or send an email to

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,413 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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