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Nurse of Manzanar: A Japanese American's World War II Journey (book)

Creators: Samuel Nakamura

Book cover. Courtesy of Samuel Nakamura
View in the Densho Encyclopedia

Edited diary of Toshiko Eto Nakamura (1910–94), a nurse who volunteered to work at the hospital in Manzanar during World War II.

This book begins with a brief introduction by Samuel Nakamura, son of Toshiko Eto Nakamura, who discovered the diary after his mother's death. In the preface, he explains his process of editing the diary, including tracking down the real names of people who appear as pseudonyms in the original. This preface is then followed by an introductory chapter that provides biographical background on Toshiko, including how she was sent to Japan by her parents for 7 years, then returned to California at 11, her graduation from Mills College, then Stanford School for Nursing, and her employment at a hospital in San Luis Obispo.

The rest of the volume is Toshiko's diary, beginning with her day at work on December 7, 1941 , her father's arrest by the FBI immediately after (and his subsequent internment at Missoula, Montana , Fort Sill, Oklahoma , and Camp Livingston, Louisiana ), her family's voluntary relocation to Ducor, California, and her decision to work as a nurse at the hospital at Manzanar concentration camp. In addition to reflections on her own experiences, Toshiko also includes descriptions of conditions at Manzanar, what life was like for people, different types of medical issues people faced (including mental issues), and the negative effects of camp life on family dynamics. The diary concludes with her departure from Manzanar after she is offered a position at a hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1943.

This volume also includes numerous images, reproductions of newspaper articles, and scans of government documents on the family from the period.

Toshiko Eto Nakamura was the daughter of Japanese immigrants Tameji and Take Eto in San Luis Obispo, California. A graduate of Mills College and Stanford School of Nursing, Toshiko was working as a registered nurse in San Luis Obispo when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. This book is based on an unpublished manuscript, titled My Memories of World War II, Toshiko had completed shortly after the war; she was unable to find a suitable publisher for it and had set it aside. Her son Samuel Nakamura discovered the manuscript soon after her death in 1994.

Authored by Emily Anderson
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Media Details
Author Samuel Nakamura
Pages 207
Publication Date 2009