NJAH CEO, Rosalyn Tonai, welcomed panelists Grace Shimizu, Nancy Oda, and Larry DiStasi who opened the exhibit called “Only the Oaks Remain” on June 10. NorCal descendants who came are Gary Ino, Norm Furuta, Susan Maruyama, Gary Lew, and Annold Kawana. Angelenos, Genevieve and Gene Lew also attended the event Chairman of the Tuna Canyon Board, Dr. Lloyd Hitt said, “Of the many community projects I have championed over the years, to be involved in The Tuna Canyon Exhibit, “Only the Oaks Remain”, has been the most important project for me as it relates to the past, present, and the future. The exhibit represents years of preparation by people of a wide range of talents, races, & ethnicity with a goal, to determine what happened at the WWII Tuna Camp and more important to educate and remind the American public that it must never happen again. The timing is perfect with the world in its current state as people are divided over race and religion as east meets the west. The exhibit reminds us how a few racist coming together can spread fear that affects the outcome of how a nation responds to war in a time of crisis and fear. The tribal barriers have to come down on both sides for a lasting peace.For over seventy`years the Tuna Camp had slipped into the shadows where history often resides only to be rediscovered by those of us who care and that is why this exhibit is so important to me,
Speaker, Larry DiStasi, brought the detention center to life when he spoke about an Italian fisherman, Ralph Averga (age 48), whose record shows that he was in Tuna Canyon on August 11.1942. He then went to Griffith Park and finally to Camp Forrest, Tenn. Sharing Ralph Averga’s files brought a missing name for the Honor Roll.
Grace Shimizu spoke about Japanese Peruvian, Kiyoshi Hayashi. She responded to questions regarding Peruvian reparation saying that the government is backlogged with complaints from 2010 Since the Campaign for Justice filed in 2013, it will take awhile. Nancy Oda explored the loneliness of about Eugene Banhaf, Fritz Caspari, and Daisho Tana. During Daisho sensei’s incarceration, Tomoe, his wife,donned priestly robes for the 100 day service for a congregant. Her poetry is an important part of the exhibit.