“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Independence in Inyo County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Sacred Space

Manzanar National Historic Site

Sacred Space Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 10, 2009
1. Sacred Space Marker
Inscription. Life at Manzanar was uncertain, but the prospect of dying behind barbed wire, far from home, may have been unthinkable. On May 16, 1943, Matsunosuke Murakami, 62, became the first of 150 men, women, and children to die in camp. He and 14 others, most infants and older men without families, were laid to rest in this cemetery outside the barbed wire fence in an old peach orchard from Manzanarís farming era. Here, in the shadow of majestic Mt. Williamson, their somber funerals and memorials were attended by hundreds of mourners.

While some deceased were sent to hometown cemeteries, most were cremated and their ashes held in camp until their families left Manzanar. Giichi Matsumura, an internee who died in 1945 while exploring the Sierra, is buried high in the mountains above you.

Today, only six graves here, including Matsunosuke Murakamiís, contain remains; families requested the removal of others after the war.

(Right side of the marker - additional photo):
The Japanese Kanji characters read “Soul Consoling Tower.” Master stonemason Ryozo Kado, a Catholic, and Buddhist minister Shinjo Nagatomi designed this iconic monument as a permanent tribute to Manzanarís dead. Kado built the obelisk with the assistance of Block 9 residents and a young Buddhistsí
Sacred Space Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 10, 2009
2. Sacred Space Marker
This is the right side of the main marker
group, funded by 15-cent donations from each family in camp. Rev. Nagatomi carefully inscribed the monumentsís characters—including “Erected by the Manzanar Japanese, August 1943” on the west side.

While Rev. Nagatomi and Ryozo Kado live on in the memories of family and community, Kado also left his legacy in cement and stone. He built the sentry posts at the camp entrance and other camp features in his distinctive faux wood style. Compare the posts surrounding his monument to those near the sentry posts and look for other examples of Kadoís craftsmanship around Manzanar.
Erected by National Park Service and US Department of the Interior National Wild and Scenic River Systems.
Location. 36° 43.548′ N, 118° 9.744′ W. Marker is in Independence, California, in Inyo County. Marker can be reached from Manzanar Reward Road. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5001 Highway 395 (Entrance to the Site), Independence CA 93526, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Legacy (within shouting distance of this marker); Weaving for the War (approx. ĺ mile away); A Community's Living Room (approx. 0.8 miles away);
Memorial Obelisk image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 10, 2009
3. Memorial Obelisk
Manzanar (approx. one mile away); Alabama Gates (approx. 4.8 miles away); Edwards House (approx. 5.7 miles away); Mary Austinís Home (approx. 5.7 miles away); Putnamís Stone Cabin (approx. 5.7 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Independence.
Categories. Asian AmericansCemeteries & Burial SitesWar, World II
Manzanar Cemetery image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 10, 2009
4. Manzanar Cemetery
Manzanar Entrance Sign image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 10, 2009
5. Manzanar Entrance Sign
Manzanar National Historic Site image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 10, 2009
6. Manzanar National Historic Site
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 403 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Photo showing full marker. • Wide area view of the marker and its surroundings. • Can you help?
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