During World War II, two camps were established in Fresno: the Fresno Assembly Center and Pinedale Assembly Center.

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The Pinedale Assembly Center Memorial Project Committee is a joint committee of the Central California District Council of the Japanese American League and the Central California Nikkei Foundation. They are both 501c(3) California non-profit corporations.




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During World War II, two camps were established in Fresno: the Fresno Assembly Center and Pinedale Assembly Center.

The Fresno Assembly Center, which was at the Fresno Fairgrounds, housed Nikkei from Central California. A monument was dedicated at the site on February 19, 1992, the fiftieth anniversary of Executive Order No. 9066.  The Order was the basis for General John L. DeWitt, Commander of the Western Defense Command, to forcibly exclude over 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast and detain them for nearly three years during the War.

Over 70,000 were American citizens born in the U.S.  They were detained without charges or trial.  The basis of the detention was so-called “military necessity” to prevent espionage and sabotage.  Yet not one Japanese American was ever charged let alone convicted of espionage or sabotage in the five months prior to internment or in Hawaii or the interior of the mainland during the War.

Pinedale remained in obscurity because the 4,823 internees were from out of the area — Amador and Sacramento counties as well as Oregon and Washington.

After the temporary incarceration in Pinedale for three months in 1942, internees were sent to permanent internment camps such as Tule Lake in Northern California and Poston in Arizona.

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Recent Posts

February 19, 2012 |

Local Medal Ceremony to Honor Japanese American WWII Veterans on Feb. 19, 2012

The Central California District of the Japanese American Citizens League will award replica Congressional Gold Medals to local Japanese American World War II veterans at the 2012 Day of Remembrance Luncheon on February 19.  The local ceremony follows a national medal ceremony held in Washington D.C. last month. “This year’s Day of Remembrance will pay special tribute to all our Nisei veterans who bravely risked their lives on the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific to defend our country,” says Dale Ikeda, event co-chair.  “Because many of our local veterans could not travel to the Capitol for the national ceremony, we wanted to take the opportunity here at home to pay tribute to their...

July 1, 2011 |

The Japanese American Story of Internment and Redress

By Dale Ikeda Presented at Kochi University on July 1, 2011 Mina-san, Konnichiwa. My wife, Debbie, and I are pleased to join you at Kochi University. It is an honor to address members of the Kochi University community. Thank you. As Co-Chair of the Fresno-Kochi Sister Cities Committee, I thank the people of Kochi Prefecture for being warm and gracious hosts of the Grassroots Summit. We are having a wonderful time. Arigato gozaimasu. My topic is “The Japanese American Story of Internment and Redress.” The main focus of my remarks and the photos relate to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. It is a story not well known even in America. Please raise your hand if you knew that the...

September 2, 2009 |

Howard Watkins Photo Gallery

Here is a link to many groundbreaking and dinner photos taken by photographer Howard...

February 21, 2009 |

Civil Liberties Act of 1988

In 1970, the Japanese American Citizens League at its National Convention adopted a resolution to seek redress for the loss of liberties and property of those impacted by the exclusion and internment orders. Thus began a 20-year battle for redress. JACL and the Japanese American legislators, Senators Daniel K. Inouye and Spark M. Matsunaga and Representatives Norman Y. Mineta and Robert Matsui, were successful in obtaining Congressional approval for the creation of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians in 1980. After extensive research and hearings around the country, the Commission found that military necessity did not warrant the exclusion and detention of Japanese Americans. It concluded that the “broad historical causes which shaped these...

February 16, 2009 |

John Tagami’s Tribute to Nisei Veterans

Thanks for that introduction, Jeannette. I’d like to thank JACL and Dale Ikeda for inviting me tonight to pay tribute to the Nisei veterans of WWII. Because of time constraints, I am taking the liberty of confining my remarks to veterans of the Military Intelligence Service. When I was growing up, we sansei had very few role JA models in mainstream culture. I loved Kato from the Green Hornet and Mr. Sulu from Star Trek. Kato rocked; Sulu was cool as a cucumber. But even as a kid, I knew that they were just supporting players, never the main guy. Fortunately, we had real-life role models who took second billing to no one –...

June 2, 2008 |

Four Hirabayashi Cousins: A Question of Identity by James Hirabayashi

The sudden onset of World War II on December 7th 1941 thrust the issue of identity to the forefront for all Japanese Americans. On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing the War Department to prescribe military areas from which any or all persons may be excluded.  This order served as the basis for Lt. General John L. DeWitt to issue the curfew and exclusion orders.  Public Proclamation No. 3 established a curfew from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for Japanese Americans in Military Area No. 1 and requiring them to stay within a five-mile radius of their homes.  The implementation of the exclusion order began on March 24,...

June 2, 2007 |

Position Paper

From: The Pinedale Assembly Center Memorial Project Committee, a joint committee of the Central California Nikkei Foundation and the Central California District Council of the Japanese American Citizens League To: Fresno City Council Re: Designation of Building 8 located at 7435 N. Ingram Avenue, Fresno, to the Local Register of Historic Resources The Historic Preservation Commission unanimously voted to nominate Building 8 to the Fresno City Council for designation to the Local Register of Historic Resources on November 28, 2005. The Fresno City Council will conduct a public hearing to consider the designation on January 10, 2006. Building 8 has historic significance due to its use as a warehouse by the Sugar Pine Lumber...

February 19, 2007 |

Honorable James A. Ardaiz Speech

[Speech given February 19, 2007, by the Honorable James A. Ardaiz, Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District, at the groundbreaking ceremony for Remembrance Plaza concerning the Pinedale Assembly Center] Sixty-five years ago today this spot where we now stand was part of mostly barren land on the outskirts of the small San Joaquin valley community of Fresno and the much smaller community of Pinedale. At that time, to envision that it would have any significant place in the history of this country would not be conceived of by anybody. Sixty-five years ago it was simply one more patch of alkaline soil in what were then endless acres of valley land....

February 19, 2007 |

DOR ground-breaking remarks

By: Dale Ikeda Feb. 19, 2007 Good morning. On behalf of the Pinedale Assembly Center Memorial project committee, let me add my welcome to this Day of Remembrance marking the 65th anniversary of Executive Order No. 9066. Our theme is “hate, healing, honor and hope.” In the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor by the empire of Japan, fear, suspicion and hatred was mis-directed towards Americans of Japanese ancestry and resulted in their unjust internment by their own government for nearly three years in violation of their constitutional rights. The passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 providing for a presidential apology to the internees went a long ways to help heal...

February 3, 2006 |

JAs Fight for Memorial at Former Pinedale Assembly Center

By Caroline Aoyagi-Stom, Pacific Citizen Executive Editor Published February 3, 2006 The dilapidated warehouse located on the northwest side of Fresno, Calif. may not look like much for the everyday passersby but for Jim Hirabayashi the building holds historic significance not only for his family but for tens of thousands of Japanese Americans. For almost three months following the start of World War II this location was home for Hirabayashi, then 15, along with his parents and three siblings. The area was then known as the Pinedale Assembly Center, a temporary holding area for 4,823 JAs. Eventually they would head to Tule Lake, one of ten internment camps scattered across the Western States. “It...

December 7, 2005 |

Presiding Justice Ardaiz speech to bar attorneys


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