This form letter notified the Matsumura family that they were permitted to live anywhere in the United States and that reloaction centers would close by January 3, 1946. In stating why he was going to relocate, Shutaro Matsumura observed, “Concentration camp life is an abnormal wartime manner of living which is definitely hindering the progress in education of the Nisei evacuee.” The gates to limited freedom for Japanese Americans began to swing open in 1943 when the WRA settled on a relocation policy. Internees had to secure employment and a sponsor in the community where they intended to settle, as well as a spotless security record. Many Caucasians, especially the Quakers, helped to find communities ready to accept Japanese Americans. Unable to return to the West Coast until January 1945, many internees settled in Midwestern and Eastern cities where there was more employment and less prejudice. Shutaro Matsumura was one of 3,500 internees from Manzanar who applied for, and obtained “leave clearance.” He chose to go to New York. As these forms illustrate, the paperwork associated with relocating was mountainous, and took months to process. On October 24, Mr. Matsumura and his wife met the bus outside Manzanar with a rail ticket, $25 in expense money, and the good wishes of the United States Government.
5001 Hwy. 395 Independence,California 93526
Manzanar National Historic Site