• View of the Tule Lake Segregation Center from guard tower on top of Castle Rock

    Tule Lake Unit

Life at Tule Lake in Film

Life Behind Bars

Life Behind Barbed Wire - Films by Anders Tomlinson

The Following two short films are about Tule Lake by survivors of the wartime incarceration

The first film is the visual rendering of a poem by Hiroshi Kashiwagi. A Meeting At Tule Lake earned him the title of Tule Lake's poet laureate. He was inspired to write and recite it at the 1975 Tule Lake pilgrimage. Since then, it has become an anthem for Tule Lake's pilgrims. Kashiwagi was honored with an American Book Award by the Before Columbus Foundation in 2005 for his memoir, Swimming in the American (2005), a collection of his poetry, short stories and plays.

The second film takes a look at day-to-day life in the Tule Lake Segregation Center. Jimi Yamaichi, who became a construction foreman in Tule Lake Segregation Center, shares his knowledge of the physical features of the camp site and the hardships endured by the families incarcerated in Tule Lake.

Credit: Produced by the Tule Lake Committee (2007); directed, filmed and edited by Anders Tomlinson

 
Hiroshi Kashwagi's Poem "A Meeting in Tule Lake"
(object placeholder)
 
Jimi Yamaichi Introduces Life at Tule Lake
(object placeholder)
 

Restored Films by Charles Palmerlee

Color footage shot at Tule Lake by teacher Charles Palmerlee, 1942-1945 is available for viewing at the Discover Nikkei website.These short, silent films include hand-made intertitle cards; panning shots of camp barracks; the guard tower at sunset; high school students, including a graduation; school administrators and office staff; Japanese dance performances; crafts, including bird and shell pins; the Tule Lake Union Church; Christian Youth Fellowship group; shots of families and children; and the transition to a segregation camp with families leaving and others arriving.

Did You Know?

Babies at Tule Lake Segregation Center

Despite the camp's conditions, life continued during the years Japanese Americans were incarcerated at Tule Lake. 1,490 babies were born and 331 people died.