An Abandoned Pot of Rice (short story)
Creators: Hisaye Yamamoto DeSoto
Short essay by Hisaye Yamamoto DeSoto about the Kumamoto-mura community near Oceanside, California, where her family lived just prior to World War II. The pleasant reminiscences of life there are tempered by recollections of the chaos after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the events leading up to the forced removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast. The title of the story comes from the narrator's recollection of making a pot of rice intending to make rice balls on the day of their forced departure, but forgetting about it, leaving the full pot behind. Years later, she returns to the site of the community, which subsequently became a large military base which for a time housed tens of thousands of Southeast Asian refugees. Noting the similarities with the concentration camps she and her family were in, she observes that this group was the third group of Asians to come and go from the geographical area, after the Japanese Americans and the Native Americans before them.
"An Abandoned Pot of Rice" first appeared in the 1984 Rafu Shimpo holiday edition, one of many stories Yamamoto contributed to the paper over the years.