Clark and the Japanese
For The Madera Tribune
George Clark, founder of The Madera Tribune.
By December 1944, the president had declared that the Issei and Nisei, forcefully removed from their homes nearly three years prior, would be able to return to the west coast. But, with Sunny Nishimoto’s draft notice arriving the same month, and Keith Nishimoto still stationed at Fort Snelling; with two years left on the Bridge store’s lease back home, the Nishimoto’s decided to stay in Minneapolis until they knew they could reopen their store in Madera. Considering the hardships faced by many Japanese American families as they returned to California, it may have been fortunate that the Nishimotos waited until the war had ended and racial tensions had somewhat eased.
Even though no incidents of racial discrimination were reported in Madera, if the Nishimoto’s had read articles published in their hometown newspaper in 1945, they would have been alarmed to read of acts of violence and aggression against those of Japanese ancestry.
In May 1945, articles in the Tribune reported on union protests and threats to strike in Stockton if a Japanese man were to return to his job as an automobile machinist. Even more dismaying were articles about a Parlier Japanese American family who had their home shot up one evening by a neighbor.