The North American Post
Takami Page 7
[Editor’s Note]: All names are rendered in the English First, Middle, Last name order.
In the Business of Renting Rooms in Chicago
I will continue the story of Takami Hibiya, editor-in-chief of The North American Post (Hokubei Hōchi). Interned in the Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho during the war, he wasn’t affiliated with the camp newspaper, the Minidoka Irrigator. Reporter Hideo Kitayama, who had worked at The North American Times (Hokubei Jiji), was part of the editorial staff. Important Japanese and Japanese Americans (Nikkei) were arrested by the FBI and moved from internment camp to camp, but ordinary detainees were sent to ten resettlement camps (relocation centers). From May of the year following the outbreak of WWII they were concentration camps. Life at an internment camp and resettlement camp was practically the same. For reference, the following is a list of resettlement camps. The numbers of detainees reflects the peak population.
Utah, Topaz = 8,130 people
Arizona, Poston =17,814 people
Arizona, Gila River = 13,348 people
Colorado, Granada = 7,318 people
Wyoming, Heart Mountain = 10,767 people
Arkansas, Jerome = 8,497 people
California, Manzanar = 10,046 people
California, Tule Lake = 18,789 people
Idaho, Minidoka = 9,346 people
*Rohwer, Arkansas = 8,475 people
The total amount of internees was 111,580 people
(Shinichi Katō According to A one-hundred year history of immigrants in America) Both reporters, Mr. Hibiya and Mr. Kanō, were interred in one of these camps, but before the end of the war Mr. Hibiya was released from the Minidoka camp and went on to Chicago. There was nothing for this unambitious man to do aside from managing cheap apartments. According to the “1949 All American Japanese Address Book” (published by the Nichi Bei newspaper company), the apartment managed by Mr. Hibiya was located at 4945 North Winthrop Avenue. “I had difficulty with drunk residents. I was always worried about them carelessly starting a fire from forgetting to put out a cigarette,” he said. Even if he were to manage apartments in this district of Chicago forever he could never get ahead. As an intellectual, he couldn’t bear forever guarding against a drunkard’s fire. He collected his wife Yoshi and their child, and set off on a journey across the country in his secondhand car to look for a suitable place to live. “We took a month to look around various places, but in the end I thought Seattle was the best place to live, so we went back to our former home and the newspaper company where I used to work,” he said.
And so he joined The North American Post, but he was as poor and unambitious as ever. Together with his wife Yoshi’s income he managed to make a living. His hobbies were golfing and smoking pipe tobacco. He didn’t drink alcohol or gamble. According to his sister, Haruko Shimada, there was a time in his days as a student at Waseda University when he fell into playing mahjong. But after the war he occasionally sat around the mahjong table with Japanese trading company employees but he couldn’t enjoy inflation mahjong and almost never went in for a piece of the pie. I forget when exactly, but unusually he complained to me about it when visiting Japan for the first time in a long time.
“I’m thinking about quitting the company. I can’t live on only $300 a month,” he said. Takemitsu Kubota, the president of The North American Post, was also visiting Japan at the time, so I said, “Mr. Hibiya, I think it might be difficult for you to speak up, so I’ll do it for you,” and got started negotiating his raise.
take a life lesson from the Japanese newspaper
 This camp and its peak population were not included in the original article. However, it does mention there were 10 camps, so it’s curious that it was left out. It should be noted also that the total numbers do not quite add up, even with the addition of Rohwer, Arkansas.
 They would have been paid a high salary for their bi/multilingual abilities in negotiating trade overseas.
 increasing the rate, or points—a game of raising the stakes