On Monday, Dec. 16, a Shinto rite is planned to purify the space and mark the date that Japanese, German and Italian immigrants began to be arrested and held at the Tuna Canyon Detention Station just days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941.
In memory of over 2,000 men and several women, Rev. Dr. Yoshi Alfred Tsuyuki of the Konko Church will begin the service at 9 a.m. in the oak grove designated by the Los Angeles City Council as Historical Cultural Monument 1039.
The ceremony will be held near the Club House at the Verdugo Hills Golf Course, located at 6433 La Tuna Canyon Rd. in Tujunga.
Despite a discouraging start in 2006, community leader Paul Tsuneishi and local historian Lloyd Hitt persevered. They inspired the newly formed Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition, which has since worked to remember the fate of teachers, priests, martial arts instructors, and fishermen whose lives were suddenly interrupted. Rev. Tsuyuki’s father was among them.
Many of the men disappeared when the FBI arrested them, so their families suffered as bank accounts were frozen and chaos ensued. Japanese American families were especially vulnerable when Executive Order 9066 sent them to concentration camps located away from the West Coast in remote areas inland.
Some of the detainees were people of Japanese descent forcibly brought to the U.S. from Peru.
Last spring, busloads of people came to City Hall from the San Fernando Valley and the local Japanese American community to testify in favor of preserving history, flooding the council chamber with a sea of red shirts. Rose Ochi, Friends of Manzanar board member, recalled her personal experience during the war years.
H. Ernie Nishii, grandson of an arrested Buddhist priest, and David Scott, grandson of the officer in charge, will participate in the service, as will representatives of the affected communities.
Invited guests are Rep. Adam Schiff, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, and Los Angeles City Councilmember Felipe Fuentes of the 7th District.
The property owner, Michael Hoberman of Snowball West Investments, has given permission for the ceremony.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or the Tuna Canyon Detention Station’s Facebook page. Maps will be available online. Indicate if you are a family member of a Tuna Canyon internee. Reservations are needed by Saturday, Dec. 7, in order to plan for refreshments and parking.