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The Poston (Colorado River Relocation Center) Tailor School

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After the inital trama of imprisonment, the Japanese American inmate community with the help of the Office of Indian Affairs (OIA) and the War Relocation Authority (WRA) wanted to to ease the stress of imprisionment.  (The OIA managed Poston for the WRA for the first 2 years.)  Stress was successiful eased by adding educational, recreational, and sporting activities for almost everyone.  One major success was the Poston Tailoring School where hundreds of inmates learned tailoring and were able to make clothing for themselves and their families in the camp. See the photo of the large graduating class of 1945.  The school was headed by Kesajiro Urata a 71 year old tailor from Los Angeles.

Sewing machines were in short supply in the camp but fortunately for the inmates, a Los Angeles Japanese American owner of a sewing factory was interned in Poston.  He offered to lease his machines for a small fee and his sewing machines were sent to Poston.  Mr Urata gathered up inmate tailors and trained inmates to become teachers of Poston Tailor School.

My mother Michiko Kakuda became one of these teachers and was very honored to teach under Mr Urata's tutorage.

Cloth and tailoring accessories were purchased via Sears and Roebuck and Montgomery Wards catologs or the Poston Cooperative Store.  Banking services were supplied by the Bank of America at Poston.

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A project of the Japanese American National Museum

Major support by The Nippon Foundation