Letter from Kenji Okuda to Norio Higano dated April 4, 1942

Letter from Kenji Okuda to Norio Higano dated April 4, 1942. Higano Family Papers, Acc. 2870, Box 1, folders 9-11. University of Washington Libraries: Manuscripts, Special Collections, University Archives.

Page 1, Letter from Kenji Okuda to Norio Higano dated April 4, 1942 Page 2, Letter from Kenji Okuda to Norio Higano dated April 4, 1942

April 4, 1942

Dear Norio:

Thanks a lot for your interesting letter---you’d better tell me “lots more” about the U. of Chicago. And I’m writing rather quickly after receiving your letter--I got it this afternoon---to ask you a few questions and to rise to a point of information.

Before I begin, I guess I’ll give you a brief picture of conditions over here although they haven’t changed much since you left. Every one is fine--we’re busily packing and getting ready to move on an hour’s notice or perhaps a little more. I read in tonight’s papers that some 1000 in San Francisco and some 2,000 in San Diego have to move out by the 8th, and the notice came out today, meaning only four days notice before one must evacuate in those sectors. I think that Seattle will be vacated in sections, perhaps 1000 a day, and I’m hoping that they take the populated down town areas first, not that I’m selfish or anything but----. Although there was some news of using Longacres as an “assembly center” similar to Santa Anita and Puyallup Fair Grounds, that seems to have fallen through. The Army feels that the Fair Grounds will take care of all the Japanese in this area, and I’ve just heard that another such camp will be or is being set up in Toppenish on some fair grounds there. Evidently, the Army is planning to evacuate the Yakima Valley farmers too for I see no reason why they would ship Japanese from this area back there to the temporary “assembly centers”. I hear nothing yet of where a “reception center” similar to Owens Valley will be set up although work must be going ahead on it somewhere. Puyallup will be, or should be, ready by the 18 or 20th of this month, so we’ll be moving darn soon. Wish us luck.

Have you had a chance to read the latest issue of the Christian Century --- I like the author’s attitude concerning the Japanese evacuation which he discusses. Quite a relief after reading what has been printed continuously after war started.

Yep--I understand Misako Kondo is going to attend Chicago for the spring quarter, graduate, and then try to go to Oberlin. But my estimation of her sort of drops every time I have a chance to talk to her. Tell me how she responds, will you? And you plutocrat---taking the best living facilities at the U. As Harry tells it, the House is supposed to contain some pretty “hottish” looking women. Right? And how is Sat getting along?

The idea you’ve got seems pretty good---take 10 hours and spend the rest of the time looking over Chicago--or isn’t that it? Since I read the book “Gold Coast and the Slums” in Sociology, I’ve been curious to know if that area is still in a similar condition. Investigate it some time for me, will you?

To put your mind at rest, I shall attempt to explain what happened at the Sunday meeting. We got into quite an argument—but don’t get excited, I think we accomplished our purpose although it took quite a while to do it. Chihiro and I weren’t sure what Clarence meant, I finally caught on, but Chihiro didn’t and had the floor for about half an hour. We got committees going on determining or investigating the required duties for each type of responsibility and we’ll mimeograph our findings after we get together this Sunday to work on the outline. Then we’'ll try to familiarize those interested with the outline so that they can grasp a view of the whole and be capable of seeing that these duties which will be listed are performed as efficiently as possible regardless of where they go. I guess the big task from here on in is propaganda for the idea--and I think that the whole set-up is very good. (P.S. I didn’t have a chance to talk with Mary although she was at church since I had to dash off to take care of Noboru Inamoto and Harold Inatomi who left for the University of Minnesota that evening).

I’ve been behaving very well because of the curfew---but I am planning to stay overnight at the Y. next Friday, and I hope I can enjoy myself. (Pardon my lousy typing).

How is the academic and social life at the University of Chicago? I still am not sure whether or not Oberlin is my very first choice. A letter I got from Chicago sounds as though they have quite a few good scholarships to offer. If you have any chance, will you try to see what the possibilities of getting tuition and other financial assistance is? I’ve read their catalogue, but I think that someone on the spot can get a better picture than any book can give.

Here’s my mental quandary in a nut shell. Chicago, although more expensive than Oberlin, seems to offer more opportunities for financial aid, and has a much greater spread in economics. But on the other hand Oberlin is a nice small college whose scholastic ranking is very high and with a very well-rounded academic and social life. Have you any thoughts to offer on this point? By the way, about how much does board cost you at the International House?

Can’t think of much local news to report. I got a good laugh when I heard that May Kurose went to Chicago to attend the Baptist Training School---and Lily Yorozu was telling me that May thought she wasn’t going to enjoy her trip to Chicago so much since none of her traveling companions smoked. But hell---ain’t people queer?

By the way, I just happened to sit down by a telephone the Sunday after you left, and I called Portland trying to get ahold of Corinne. I couldn’t get ahold of her----and then she called back that evening. But anyway, I got a chance to hear her voice. Hope she can go into some training hospital back east somewhere----

Don’t burn yourself out from both ends--you’ve still got plenty of chances to see all of Chicago and the school----and how are the women?

Be good

P.S. How’s the war feeling in the campus?