Celebration to Mark 2nd Anniversary of Tuna Canyon’s Monument Status


Photo taken on December 16, 2013 during the Shinto Purification rite on site to cleanse the space and remember the day we believe it first registered aliens on December 16, 1941. Congregants here are descendants.

Photo taken on Dec. 16, 2013 during a Shinto purification rite at the Tuna Canyon Detention Station site  to cleanse the space and remember the day when it is believed the first “aliens” were registered, Dec. 16, 1941. The congregants were descendants of detainees.

Hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Shinto and Buddhist priests were rounded up by the FBI and taken to San Pedro, Griffith Park, and/or Tujunga.

Their inner strength helped them survive the traumatic ordeal during and after the war.

On Thursday, May 28, Rev. Dr. Duncan Ryuken Williams will be the featured speaker for the second anniversary of the Tuna Canyon Detention Station as a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument at the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center, 12953 Branford St. in Pacoima, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Despite the lawsuit by the landowner, Snowball West, against the City of Los Angeles, the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition continues to work on the memorialization of the Issei, German, Italians, and Latin Japanese who were arrested by the FBI before Executive Order 9066 as dangerous “enemy aliens.”

On Sept. 16, 1995, journalist Danica Kirka wrote an article for The Los Angeles Times headlined “Documents Offer Glimpse of WWII Detention Center.” It began with a quote from Daisho Tana’s diary entry for Sunday, March 15, 1942: “Today is the dawn of the CCC camp of Tujunga which is outside of Los Angeles. … We are prohibited to go within 10 feet of the fence, and it is most painful to be cut off from the outside world.”

From the day after the Pearl Harbor attack until the end of 1943, the Immigration and Naturalization Service ran a little-known detention center in Tujunga, formerly a Civilian Conservation Corps camp, for civilians classified as enemies of the United States.

For this event, Williams, who is a noted Shinso Ito Center scholar, has translated Tana’s diary during his stay at Tuna Canyon. An exhibit of butsudan (Buddhist shrines) made in the Poston, Ariz. concentration from the Sugano family of Senshin Buddhist Temple and others will borrowed and put on display.

The coalition thanks the religious archivists for their support for this event as it is seeking family members of the detainees, photos, letters, and artifacts for a traveling exhibit scheduled for December 2016.

Bento orders are recommended before May 20 for $10 per person at [email protected]



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