Nagare no Tabi (A Stream's Journey)


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Nagare no Tabi (A Stream's Journey)


Chiura Obata, a renowned art professor and artist interred at Topaz, produced the art and text for this story. It was originally published in the New Year’s edition of the ""Topaz Times"" in January of 1943. Translated, the story reads:
“Under the spring sun, our fateful journey began from Berkeley, California. Our destiny after ""Pearl Harbor"" was to be determined by a Higher Power—who could foretell our fate? Now, looking back, we feel nostalgia as we see the panorama of the past eight months of our life.
While buses carried us across the great San Francisco Bay Bridge, we caught a glimpse of the San Francisco skyline silhouetted in the rain. We felt a tug in our hearts as we bid farewell to the familiar surroundings to which we had become so attached.
We waded in rain, through slush and mud up to our knees, only to stumble into empty horse stalls. Many an involuntary sob escaped our lips as we began our life at Tanforan.
The spirit of ten thousand people, however, could not be crushed for long. Presently, we made our own way of life among ourselves and found a bond of attachment with everything around us. But our journey was not yet over. We were soon to say farewell to the community we had helped to build and to the familiar grandstand which towered above.
Good-bye, California! Good-bye to our beloved mother state. Our last adieus were said as we sped past the beautiful Feather River.
Hello, Utah! But how dry and wild the desert country is! Resting beside the railroad, we girded our spirits and prepared ourselves for our coming life.
The desert dust storm! Barracks, rooms—everything, everywhere was sunk in darkness! But not so our hopes and determination to conquer nature’s violence. We looked up, and there, as if in answer, not fifty feet above us we saw the pure blue of the skies.
Four months of hardship have passed. Our strong hopes and iron will to succeed have never wavered. At last, we see the beautiful dawn as reflected in the morning sun bright against the snow-covered Mt. Topaz!”
(Translation from: Lawson Fusao Inada, Only What We Could Carry: The Japanese American Internment Experience (Berkeley: Heyday, 2000), 50.)


Utah State University, Merrill-Cazier Library, Special Collections & Archives, Topaz Internment Camp Documents, (MSS 170, Box 1, Fd. 2)




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