How were some of the people able to get out of Topaz prior to the end of the war in Journey to Topaz?
One of the ways people were able to get out of Topaz prior to the end of the war was to enlist in the Armed Forces. Although in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, Japanese Americans were prohibited from joining the military, the government eventually changed its mind, and recruiters from the War Department arrived in Topaz. The army recruiters informed the young men in the camp that
"the President felt that all loyal Americans regardless of race should be permitted to exercise their responsibilities as citizens,"
and encouraged them to join a volunteer all-Nisei unit which was being formed. Although the decision of whether to join up or not was difficult to make, those, like Ken, who did, were sent to basic training in Shelby, Mississippi (Chapter 16).
In addition to those who became soldiers, some young men were given permission to work on the sugar beet farms of Idaho. Also,
"college students were going out to schools in the East and Midwest, and families whose fathers could find work outside, were permitted to relocate outside the prohibited West Coast zone."
Yuki and her family could not easily be included in any of these categories, however. Yuki's father had been "released from Montana on parole," even though he had done nothing to make him a criminal. This classification meant that wherever he wanted to go, he would have to have a sponsor to vouch for him (Chapter 17).