To what religion did the Wakatsuki family subscribe in Farewell to Manzanar?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Wakatsuki family did not really subscribe to any religion. Jeanne says,

"Culturally we were like those Jews who observe certain traditions but never visit a synagogue. We kept a little Buddhist shrine in the house, and we celebrated a few Japanese holidays that were religiously connected - the way Christmas is. But we never said prayers."

Jeanne had never been in a Buddhist temple, and had first heard about Christianity when a friend on Terminal Island took her to a Baptist Sunday School. At Manzanar, Jeanne was drawn to Catholicism through the influence of two Maryknoll nuns who ran an orphanage and set up a "Children's Village" and a chapel in one of the barracks. These two nuns, of Japanese ancestry, were joined by Father Steinback, "one of the few Caucasians to live among (the internees) inside the compound and eat in (their) mess halls." Father Steinback was greatly admired for this, and many internees converted to Catholicism because of his untiring efforts. Jeanne herself was drawn to Catholicism because of the kindness and generosity of the two nuns, Sister Suzanna and Sister Bernadette. She was also fascinated by the stories of the saints and martyrs. Jeanne recalls almost being baptized into the faith, only to be stopped by her father, who "was always suspicious of organized religions" (Chapter 5).

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Farewell To Manzanar

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