Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away....well, okay it was Port Dover, Ontario in 1989 or '90 when I was just starting out in the newspaper trade, I interviewed a very old Japanese-Canadian gentleman by the name of Kobi Kobiyashi, who was one of the town's leading citizen. The occasion was a gift he was presenting to the muncipal government of a couple of dozen Japanese sakura cherry blossom trees. At the time it seemed to me to be a bit of an odd gift, though now that I live in Tokyo I realize what a big deal sakura are to the Japanese. They bloom magnificently in spring for about ten days, turning whole parks bright pink before the blossoms wither and fall. In Japanese culture, they are said to symbolize the transitory nature of life. Once I learned that Kobi's story made a lot more sense.
You can read more about the internment in Canada here or listen to David Suzuki (from "the Nature of Things") talk about his terrible experiences as a child during the internment. To learn more about the effect of the internment in the US, there is no better book than Dave Neiwert's Strawberry Days.
(cross-posted at Firedoglake, where we will be discussing Strawberry Days on Sunday at 5 pm EST)