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Fresno Betsuin Group Travels to Poston

Rinban Rev. Kazuaki Nakata Leads Members to Monument


Fresno Betsuin Buddhist Temple Rinban Rev. Kazuaki Nakata and his wife, Michiko Nakata, and their daughters, Kanon, Michilu, and Akika, met Gordon and Susan Hayashi, Robert and Jane Shintaku, and Tom and Nancy (Doi) Wilson and their daughter, Wren Emiko, at the Poston Memorial Monument at Poston, Arizona, on March 27.  


In 1992, a group of former Poston internees from Sacramento, led by Ted Kobata, built the Poston Memorial Monument, which was dedicated on Oct. 6 that year. 


Following a service at the monument, they went to the site of the remnants of the adobe school buildings from Camp 1 of the Poston internment camp, then to the Colorado River Indian Tribes Museum in Parker, Arizona.


Poston was one of 10 camps that held people from Washington, Oregon, California, and Arizona during World War II.  Poston, located on the Colorado River Indian Reservation south of Parker, Arizona, is where 18,000 people were interned from May 1942 to November 1945.  


When Poston was built, the government built barracks and buildings such as showers, toilets, laundry room, kitchen, and a mess hall.  For the schools, the men and women internees constructed buildings from adobe bricks in the three camps in Poston.  


The adobe school buildings of Camp 1 are the only ones remaining.  After the internees left, the buildings were used by the Native Americans, but they have not been used for many years and are deteriorating.  


Some restoration work is being done through the efforts of the Poston Community Alliance, an organization whose purpose is to preserve the history of Poston.


Since Rev. Nakata arrived in the United States in 2003, he has served several temples.  While he was in Sacramento, he met someone who was on the committee that built the Poston Memorial Monument and learned about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.  Since then, he has visited and held services at all 10 internment camps.


Robert Shintaku is a board member of the Poston Community Alliance.


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