By Wyoming First Lady Carol Mead

Artwork by Wyoming High School Students

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Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources
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Bill Hosokawa

Seventy-four days after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry – two thirds were American citizens – from their homes on the Pacific coast to ten relocation points in the interior of the United States.

Government authorities built one of these centers near Heart Mountain, between Cody and Powell in Wyoming.

At a cost of more than five million dollars, the Army Corp of Engineers erected more than 560 barracks on 46,000 acres. Each 20-foot by 100-foot structure contained six rooms, none larger than a two-car garage. Tarpaper covered the wood-sheathed walls and officials boasted that one of those “apartment” building could be built within fifty-eight minutes.

A barbed-wire fence, fanned each night by high-beam searchlights and guarded by nine armed soldiers, surrounded the camp.

Bill Hosokawa was an American citizen born in Seattle but because of his Japanese lineage, he was forced to enter the camp. With his journalism background, his job in the camp was to work on the Heart Mountain Sentinel, a publication for the internees. Even though it was printed in nearby Cody, no one from Cody ever saw it.

In an interview with Wyoming historian and author Mark Junge in 1989, Hosokawa, now retired from both the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News , details camp life and his experiences at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center. He also discusses the sad fact that something like this could happen again.

Bill Hosokawa
Interview with Mark Junge