Within the exclusion zone, the government posted signs on street lamps and telephone poles with “Instructions to All Persons of JAPANESE Ancestry” for their impending forced removal. Families had weeks, sometimes only days, to liquidate businesses, determine the disposition of farms, sell or store belongings, and pack only what they could carry to “assembly centers” — bleak temporary camps the government quickly set up on fairgrounds, race tracks and other locales.
Japanese Americans were eventually crammed onto buses and trains, windows blocked, and transported to 10 more permanent concentration camps located in remote areas. Among these 120,000 Japanese Americans were family members of Stan Yogi, co-author of this article. His mother’s family was incarcerated in the camp at Manzanar, California, his father’s family at camps in Jerome, Arkansas and Gila River, Arizona.