Desert Exile : The Uprooting a Japanese American Family is an original source by Yoshiko. Uchida was forced to move with her family into a concentration camp in the United States as a result of World War II. Uchida suffered dehumanizing treatment and injustices in the “relocation camps” of the U.S. Uchida, in her autobiography, stated that the Army “had not made any effort to introduce us to even the most basic civilities of life.” Uchida’s Desert Exile is an universal story about a family that held on to their humanity and happiness in spite of great hardship.
Takashi Uchida, Uchida’s father, was an immigrant of Japanese descent and successful businessman. Takashi Uchida’s family, business, and friends were physically separated from him immediately after the Pearl Harbor bombing. Takashi and 90 other Japanese leaders from his community were sent to an internment center in Missoula Montana, where they were labeled “enemy foreigners”. Takashi later joined his family in their “relocation centers” in California, then Utah. Takashi kept his humanity and happiness despite his being stripped from his family and home. Uchida’s memoir describes her father’s view of life in a perfect way. Takashi was able to continue living his life as he desired while in captivity by helping to run the organizations in the internment camp. Takashi worked on various projects, from funeral procession to communication between prisoners and the Army. All of this was done without any compensation or recognition. Takashi did these tasks in spite of threats from other Japanese internees. Takashi, a Japanese internee, remained humane despite the dehumanizing treatment he received by keeping busy and helping others. Yoshiko uchida’s memoir also shows how she held on to humanity despite the darkness and despair of her internment. Uchida describes her family as being happy and moderately prosperous before they were forced to intern. She talks about her family being able to have guests regularly, and wearing beautiful clothes. The contrast between these examples of happiness and the grim conditions in the camps was striking. Uchida’s situation could have made her gloomy, but she chose not to. Uchida was able to find beauty in many different situations. Uchida often pauses to describe the beauty she saw in the midst of terror. Uchida didn’t dwell on her negative experiences, like the agitators who dominated chapter eight. Instead she looked for the beauty that was there. This helped her remain hopeful even though she faced injustice.
Uchida’s memoir is a compelling story about how holding on to humanity and finding joy can help you overcome a difficult situation. “Keeping busy and helping others” was how her father kept himself going, ready to face whatever came next. Uchida recalls happy images and events that show her desire to be happy in the face of despair. This gives her strength to continue her journey. Uchida’s book is more inspiring, hopeful, and humane than just a memoir about a survivor family.