In an editorial in the Quest written a few days after Hattie Kawahara, Ruth Nishino, and Gus Tanaka were forced out of their homes and into the erstwhile stockyards in North Portland, Reed students sympathized in print with the sacrifices being asked of their Japanese American classmates and their families. For some civilians, the editors wrote, the war means simply giving up sugar. For others, it means "completely abandoning home, business, and education." The Reed student editors looked forward to "some happier and future day" when the Japanese would return to their former lives. Then, they wrote, "Reed will be one of the first to welcome them home."
But their optimism was misplaced. Evacuation and internment left permanent scars on the psyches of two generations of Oregon nikkei: the immigrants who had believed so fervently in the dream and promise of America, and their children, American citizens by birth, who came of age behind barbed wire or alone, thousands of miles from home. When it was possible to do so, many did not choose to return to the West Coast. The memories of being unwanted, unwelcome, suspected of disloyalty, even treachery, were too painful. Others had already begun new lives elsewhere and did not want to look back.
Hattie Kawahara spent five months interned at Minidoka before she was released to attend college on the East Coast. She finished her undergraduate work at Mt. Holyoke in Massachusetts. An outstanding student, she was awarded her degree with honors, earned her master's in political science, and then went to the University of Minnesota for her Ph.D. She taught at Wayne University (now Wayne State University), won a Ford Foundation Fellowship for research in Japan (where she met her husband, who was on General Douglas MacArthur's occupation staff), and later returned to begin what would be a distinguished 27-year teaching career in Washington, D.C., with the Foreign Service Institute.
Ruth Nishino fell in love with and married a fellow internee at Minidoka, and after the war ended they moved to Montreal to raise their family. She became in-volved in community organizations and later worked as a legal secretary. It took her more than 40 years to complete the education that evacuation interrupted. In May of 1985, honored at the podium as that year's oldest graduate, she earned a combined degree in fine arts and sociology from Brock University in St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada.