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Sogioka, Gene. Playing Mahjong. 1943.

This image depicts two Japanese Americans playing Mahjong in the Poston Japanese American Relocation Center in Arizona. In the wake of the Pearl Harbor attacks, Japanese interment camps were established to defend against the perceived threat of people of Japanese origin. The Relocation Program: A Guidebook (published by the Department of the Interior, War Relocation Authority, in 1943) states that pastimes such as Mahjong, including non odori, shibai, go, and flower arrangeing—which have no political implications—were freely permitted. The War Relocation Authority also promoted YMCA and YWCA activities amongst youth in the camps as a means of assimilating Nisei (children of Japanese immigrants) into broader American society.

Records of the Japanese American Relocation Centers

 

 


 

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