Former Los Angeles Department of Transportation official, and current city traffic engineer and traffic planner, James Okazaki, and his team came through and designed the cultural historic marker for the confinement site that opened on December 16, 1941 days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
It was a long process that required the local City Councilmember support. His persistence resulted in District 7 Councilmember Monica Rodriguez and District 4 David Ryu jointly sponsoring a motion to install a Cultural Heritage marker on April 12, 2018 at the intersection with three corners nearest the Tuna Canyon Detention Station site in Tujunga on April 12, 2018.
Now Angelinos and travelers from all over the world will stop and learn about the history and confinement of 2,000 Japanese, Germsn, and Italian immigrants, and Japanese taken from Peru during World War II.
The Sunland Tujunga Neighborhood Council and Little Landers Historical Society’s fight to preserve local history for more than ten years is no longer a little known
Department of Justice site. The late Paul Tsuneishi and Dr. Lloyd Hitt contacted the National Archives when the freedom of information act released the Enemy Alien Case Files that amounted to eighty eight pages and started to unravel the missing link between December 7 and February 19 when EO9066 was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Deputy Consul General Hiroki Matsuo addressed the crowd accompanied by Consul Shigeru Kikuma on behalf of the Los Angeles Consul General Akira Chiba who has attended every Tuna Canyon event. Tuna Canyon President Nancy Kyoko Oda thanked everyone for his special recognition. Chris Komai, President of the Little Tokyo Community Council, spoke about his grandfather’s photo when he chose to be the first to be fingerprinted. His grandfather was the founding publisher of the 105 year old Rafu Shimpo.
Time is running out for the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition to install a memorial onsite before the children of the Issei are gone. With the support of two National Park Japanese American Confinement Sites grant, it has developed a beautiful 18 A framed traveling exhibit that has been to ten locations, diorama, published an accompanying exhibit book, and commissioned an original play called, “Only the Oaks Remain,” that was written by Soji Kashiwagi and preformed by the Grateful Crane Ensemble. In addition to the exhibit, the NPS Legacy Project’s mission is to interview twenty five descendants with the Japanese American National Museum Frank M Watase Media Center.
The Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition stands it’s ground to build a lasting memorial under the symbolic oak grove in honor of the Issei men, German, and Italian aliens, and Japanese taken from Peru during World War II. For further information, go to www.tunacanyon.org