Week 7 Readings

Gasa Gasa Girl Goes to Camp, follows Lily Yuriko’s life in the Japanese internment camps.  During her time in the camp she writes about different aspects of her life including her life before and after arriving at the camp. Yuriko was 10 years old when her and her family were displaced and moved into a temporary camp.  These “temporary” camps were not actually temporary rather that they were in place for the entirety of world war II and held thousands of Japanese Americans and other American citizens who were believed to be a threat to Americas safety. While America viewed Japanese Americans as potential threats and treated them differently because of it, many members of the camp still carried pride for their country and addressed themselves as “American”. Japanese Americans also tried to assimilate and become more American and distance themselves from their Japanese culture. One example is when Yuriko mentions how many of her mother’s friends had their eyes fixed to make their eyes look wider like Americans eyes.  Another aspect of this story was religion.  Yuriko’s mother was a devout Buddhist who went to sermons on a frequent basis and believed highly in karma. She believed that her wrongdoing in her past life were the cause of their misfortunes in the present. Similar to other readings where religion was used as a relief in peoples everyday life, this story continues that same theme however, religion is now also seen as the cause of their suffering as well.

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