The Kiyono and Zentaro Maekawa family had a farm in Auburn, Washington before World War II. In May of 1942 they were sent to the Pinedale “Assembly Center” near Fresno, California and then were moved to Tule Lake in northern California. In 1943 the Maekawa family were transferred to Minidoka in Idaho when Tule Lake became a segregated camp. They left Minidoka in spring of 1944 when they moved to Nyssa, Oregon where Kiyono and Zentaro worked on a farm. They returned to Auburn after the war ended.
Their son, Don Maekawa, writes that he recalls that “whittling and wood carving were popular among the men to while away the time.” He also says, “The seashells were plentiful at Tule Lake since the camp was built on an ancient dried up lake bed. This type of craftwork was common among the folks in camp since there were lots of seashells and lots of time.”