When the Tomihiro family left Minidoka War Relocation Center in south-central Idaho in 1945, they didn’t head home to Portland, Oregon, where they’d lived for decades. “Home” didn’t exist anymore—they had lost everything during the internment of people of Japanese ancestry in World War II. Before the war, the family had owned a half-block of houses and stores and a hotel. Now, they had nothing.
Their new apartment in Chicago was “really miserable, dark and dank, and roach- and rodent-infested,” Chiye Tomihiro recalled during a public hearing in Chicago about the harsh toll of internment in 1981. “We did not even have a sink.” Her mother, who got work as a seamstress, washed the family’s dishes in a hand