Half of the 120,000 prisoners were children. It was the start of the War Years, the turning from 1941 to 1942. Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor and President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered 90 percent of America's ethnic Japanese from their homes in retaliation. For four years, they lived in bleak camps edged in barbed wire, deep inside deserts and swamps. Internees were allowed only what they could carry, including bedding and eating utensils. Upon arrival there were no chairs to sit on, no tables to eat at, no tools to build with or scissors with which to cut.
What do you tell someone who has lost everything? In Japan, there is actually a word for the occasion: "gaman," a quality both hard and soft. To practice gaman is to endure that which seems unendurable, with patience and grace.