Pictured at a reception at Hayward Public Library are: (standing, from left) Hayward City Councilmember George Syrop, City Manager Kelly McAdoo, Library Director Jayanti Addleman, Councilmember Julie Roche, Jane Yanagi Diamond, Fred M. Shinoda, Kayoko Mochida Ikuma, Tooru Mochida, Mayor Mark Salinas, Aileen Yamashita Hisaoka, Takeo Kato, artist Patricia Wakida; (seated, from left) Mae Yanagi Ferral, Sumi Haramaki Lampert, Ibuki Hibi Lee, Frank K. Hashimoto, Satoshi Hibi (Photo by Russell Foote Photography, footephoto.com)

HAYWARD — Dozens of Bay Area community members paid tribute to the 606 Japanese American wartime residents of the Hayward area on Feb. 4 at a ceremony dedicating a new public sculpture installed at the Hayward Heritage Plaza.

The sculpture, designed by artist and historian Patricia Wakida, was commissioned by the City of Hayward nearly three years ago, and includes the names of every person of Japanese ancestry who were forced into exile from the Hayward region as a result of Executive Order 9066.

Pam Honda pointing at her ancestors’ names on the sculpture. (Photo by Patricia Wakida)

Over 60 Hayward city officials and guests attended the dedication ceremony at the Hayward Heritage Plaza, which is the same park where these Japanese American families were ordered to report with their baggage for the buses that would take them to the Tanforan detention center in nearby San Bruno on May 8, 1942.

Before the area was called Hayward, it had other geographical identifiers including Eden Township, its most common name in the 1900s, when it was a largely agricultural area with fruit orchards, truck crop farms, and dozens of flower nurseries run by Japanese American immigrant families. Flower production thrived in the cool Bay Area climate and required less land than vegetable or fruit farming, since it utilized glass-covered greenhouses and lath-covered structures.

Following the signing of Executive Order 9066 in February 1942, 108 civilian exclusion orders, according to region, were issued to remove Japanese Americans on the West Coast from their homes, under penalty of fines and imprisonment. Exclusion Order No. 34 affected the area of Alameda County from San Leandro to Warm Springs and ordered Japanese Americans to register at the Civil Control Station at 920 C St. in Hayward on May 4, 1942 and then required them to assemble at the Hayward Plaza at Watkins and C streets on May 8.

Patricia Wakida with art historian and curator ShiPu Wang (Photo by Ibuki Hibi Lee)

Renowned photographer Dorothea Lange was hired by the Wartime Civil Control Administration agency to record the removal of the Japanese Americans on location in Hayward. Lange’s photo shoot of the day has resulted in some of the most iconic government photos produced of the World War II camp experience, including portraits of the Mochida family, the Aso family, Mae Yanagi, and Hisako Hibi and her daughter Ibuki.

The new sculpture has been installed in close proximity to a series of historical markers describing the events that occurred there in 1942. The sculpture, fabricated of stainless steel, consists of three distinct layers, which represent “earth, man, and heaven,” according to Wakida, who was one of the speakers at the dedication.

“The largest metal cylinder references the surrounding geography and land, the ‘earth,’ where the names of the 606 people we are honoring and remember are etched upon,” she said. “The uppermost cut edge of the cylinder echoes the undulating surrounding hills, with its spring streams and oak and bay laurel forests. The shape of the Hayward hills are meant to capture the vista and root the names in this site specific place.

“The second cylinder, or ‘man,’ tells the story of the Japanese Americans who settled in this region and were predominantly engaged in the floral industry, growing carnations, chrysanthemums, lilies, and roses among other cut flowers and plants for the booming flower industry. This image of the once ubiquitous greenhouse, that enabled the community to bloom, despite a rampantly anti-Asian climate, is mirrored by an image of the stark barracks at Topaz — the roses of their labor transforming into lengths of barbed wire that would entwine in their lives during the war.

Peter and Wendy Horikoshi and Kyle Tashima performing “Tanforan” (Photo by Patricia Wakida)

“The third and uppermost circle, or ‘heaven,’ features four circular motifs that represent peace, solidarity, Japan and the United States, and finally a remembrance of the day that the community was forced into exile by their own government. These circular symbols intentionally hang above the greenhouses and barracks like constellations in the night sky.”

Former incarcerees who attended the ceremony: Frank Koji Hashimoto, Sumi Haramaki Lampert, Ibuki Hibi Lee, Satoshi Hibi, Takeo Kato, Kayoko Mochida Ikuma, Tooru Mochida, Fred M. Shinoda, Aileen Yamashita Hisaoka, Jane Yanagi Diamond, Mae Yanagi Ferral. Takeo Kato’s brother, Kiyoshi “Kix” Kato, was planning to attend but wasn’t feeling well. Hisaoka’s name is not inscribed on the sculpture as she was born in camp, but she was honored as well.

Speakers at the ceremony included Hayward Mayor Mark Salinas, Memorial Art Committee project leader Robbin Kawabata, Mae Yanagi Ferral, and Lois Oda from the Eden Township JACL Chapter. Musicians Peter and Wendy Horikoshi and Kyle Kashima performed the original song “Tanforan” at a reception held after the ceremony at the Hayward Public Library.

Additional funding for the sculpture was provided by the JACL Legacy grants.

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