Letter from Kenji Okuda to the Ring family dated January 6, 1943

Letter from Kenji Okuda to the Ring family dated January 6, 1943. Ring Family Papers, Acc. 4241, Box 1, folder 13. University of Washington Libraries: Manuscripts, Special Collections, University Archives.

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Amache, Colorado
January 6, 1943

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Ring,

Though you may not realize it, your acts of thoughtful kindness are spreading the seeds of love and goodwill which will slowly germinate and blossom to recover this would from the hate, cynicism, blindness, and intolerance which engulf it. I certainly enjoyed your letter, and my mother is showering loving care on those sprigs of green which you so kindly sent her. I am speaking for her and the family when we say a sincere and humble "Thank you." My mother cannot write English well enough to express her appreciation directly to you.

It is surprising how a few greens will brighten up a room, and particularly in the wilderness of southeastern Colorado where everything is now a drab, colorless brown. Winter has come to the Arkansas. River Valley, but it is still a mild winter - and a dry one indirect contrast to physical conditions at Minidoka in Idaho.

We all hope and pray that you Mr. King and your mother are recovered fully from your illness. It is indeed unfortunate to partake of food which does not agree - many of these centers will vouch for that, but fortunately very few have had any serous cases of food poisoning.

At long last, and thanks to the efforts of so many on my behalf, I have secured my release. The FBI and War Department have now certified me to be a loyal, upstanding American citizen free to return to the American life and that I am planning to do as soon as I can. Present plans are to leave camp Monday (Jan. 11). (I hope that Mr. Schmoe’s still in Denver or thereabouts), go via Colorado Springs where I plan to visit George Yamada in the CPS Camp, Denver, Lincoln, St. Louis, and Chicago to Oberlin arriving there at the end of the month.1 Bill seems to be taking the situation in hand splendidly, and so he will probably show me the ropes. The second term starts Feb. 4.

Christmas and New Year’s Day were very pleasant in camp - excellent dinners - a simplicity of life which enabled us to catch as never before the true picture of Christmas - of Christ’s glad coming. As we face the New Year, our determination to face the odds and to come out victorious spiritually is the greatest challenge. Although men may always slaughter men, and peoples hate peoples, as long as the group of Christian people keep themselves as true Christians, God’s will must and will hold sway.

A few are leaving camp very week for school - the effects of Mr. O’Brien’s, Mr. Schmoe’s and Tom Bodine’s influences are self-evident when we study the number of students who have left Puyallup and Minidoka for school with the record of other centers - at least 40 left Idaho, and there were only about 250 altogether at that time. As I try to catch up with the fellows and girls I know, I find them scattered almost all over the U.S. - from Washington State to Simmons College in Boston - from the U of Utah to Guilford College in North Carolina. The more I talk with those in this center, the more convinced I am that I was very fortunate to live in the Pacific Northwest where the economic, political and social tensions were nowhere as great and to have know people like yourselves.

There is so much that I want to do before I leave, and so little time in which to do it, that I must cut this letter short. Thank you again ever so much, for your kind gift or greens. We are treasuring them.

May God grant you a Happy New Year - and peaceful one too.


P.S. I hope that Eleanor had a nice trip down to San Francisco.



1. Civilian Public Service camps were created jointly by the U.S. government and three predominately pacifist churches (Mennonites, Quakers and Church of the Brethren) to provide alternative service opportunities for conscientious objectors.