HomeAsian AmericansThe Terror: Infamy Episode 2 recap

The Terror: Infamy Episode 2 recap

Editor’s Note: This recap contains spoilers.

Read Episode 1 recap here

The second episode of The Terror: Infamy, “All the Demons Are Still in Hell”, begins with Henry alone in a cell repeating, “I am not a spy: I am a simple fisherman. I love this country.” Soon, this man will be forced to prove he is a fisherman. He along with Yamato (George Takei) and Hideo Furuya will be taken out on the ice to fish under the supervision of the US Army. Yamato suspects ghosts are causing people to vanish, but it turns out a young Nisei,  Nick Okada (Kai Bradbury),  is a DOJ (Department of Justice) mole and has been pointing out innocent men as spies. The Issei leave Okada on the ice at the mercy of the local spirits. 

Back in California, the Terminal Island Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans are forced to move off the island to a hotel in Little Tokyo (downtown LA) . Wilson Yoshida, one of the few Issei men left, sees a woman he knew, Yūko (Kiki Sukezane). She vanishes. In a separate incident, Chester also goes looking for Yūko at the brothel, but the madame claims there was no Yūko or any Japanese woman there. While in Los Angeles, Chester reunites with Luz who is still pregnant and has been staying and working at the St. Jerome Orphanage.  

The forced relocation of all Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans is announced. The Terminal Islanders begin to sell what they cannot take and end up at “Edendale Race Track” where the internees are assigned empty horse stalls to live in.  Luz is at the orphanage when the police come to gather up the children of Japanese American descent, even the babies. Luz is told that “anyone with even one drop of Jap blood has got to go.” Chester and Luz decide to run away the New Mexico, but the FBI catches them and Chester ends up back at the racetrack. 

At the Edendale Assembly Center, Toshiro Furuya (Alex Shimizu) meets Yūko. She in her own stall. With his father, Hideo (Eiji Inoue) in North Dakota and his mother, Masako (Yuki Morita) dead, Toshiro is a camp orphan that the Yoshidas are looking after.

At the race track, Wilson Yoshida (James Saito) sees Yūko again and he tries to warn Chester. But then, Yūko takes possession of him and makes him attack an army guard, take his gun and then walk toward other armed white servicemen. Despite warnings, Wilson Yoshida doesn’t drop the gun or stop advancing so he is shot to death.

Yoshida’s wife Fumi (Hiro Ambrosino) feels that there is some kind of evil that surrounds Chester and tells Chester to stay away. Soon enough the Terminal Islanders are loaded on to buses and taken far from  Southern California to the fictional Colinas de Oro, Oregon.

Fact vs Fiction

The Terror: Infamy diverges from history in this second episode. In reality, Terminal Islanders were sent to Santa Anita Racetrack. According to Densho, Manzanar was the only Japanese concentration camp to house orphans at what came to be known as the Children’s Village.

There were no War Relocation Authority camps in Oregon. The WRA camps were: Manzanar, CA; Tule Lake, CA; Poston, AZ; Gila River, AZ; Topaz, UT; Minidoka, Idaho; Heart Mountain, WY; Amache, CO; Jerome and Rohwer, Arkansas. There were different facilities run by different US government agencies. According to Densho, the detention center in North Dakota was Fort Lincoln, near Bismark.

The death of Yoshida is a significant distortion of history. According to Densho, there were seven confirmed cases of deaths by gunfire within the internment centers. Further, Densho concludes that all seven of the homicide victims were unarmed civilians, three being American citizens.

The 17-year-old Los Angeles-born James Ito and the 21-year-old Tacoma-born Katsuji James Kanegawa died after being shot during a protest at Manzanar concentration camp (Manzanar Riot) in December 1942, a year after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The Garden Grove-born 30-year-old Shoichi James Okamoto died after being shot during an argument with a sentry at Tule Lake Segregation Center. 

In May of 1942, a guard shot down the 58-year-old Kanesaburo Oshima (in the back) at a Fort Sill, Oklahoma (US Army and DOJ internment center) as he climbed the fence. The other internees felt he had gone “insane” due to the stress. Oshima had been one of the Issei leaders (in his case as a “consular agent”) taken from Oahu on the same day that Pearl Harbor was bombed according to Densho. The 58-year-old Toshio Kobata and the 59-year-old Hirota Isomura were shot in the back and killed at the Lordsburgy, New Mexico internment center on 27 July 1942. Both men had medical conditions that should have prevented them from running. The 65-year-old James Hatsuaki Wakasa was shot five feet inside the fence on 11 April 1943 at Topaz. 

The three cases of younger men who died were the result of angry protest. The older men, all Japanese born, might have had a psychological break. In The Terror: Infamy, with Yoshida armed, the white soldiers are seen in a more sympathetic light. One has to ask, during a time of heightened racism, not only in California and the Pacific Coast, but nationwide toward minorities, what purpose does that truly serve?

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