Bushnell Days: The Japanese Community in Box Elder County
The Japanese Community in Box Elder County
A small but thriving Japanese American community, mostly made up of farmers, lived in Box Elder County at the start of World War II. Many of their ancestors had initially come to work on the railroads, then settled down to farm. National and local prejudice against people of Japanese descent flared after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Many Japanese citizens joined or supported the Japanese American Citizens League, which worked to promote understanding of Japanese culture and protect the rights of Japanese Americans. Despite this, laws and policies were put into place during World War II in Utah, including in Box Elder County, which prevented Japanese Americans from purchasing farms, and they were pressured to give up the land they already had. They also faced the seizure of their personal property, including guns, radios, and cameras. Despite this atmosphere of prejudice, many Japanese American citizens demonstrated their patriotism, including enlisting in the armed forces and reaching out to Japanese American soldiers recovering at Bushnell Hospital.