Reel American HistoryHistory on trial Main Page

AboutFilmsFor StudentsFor TeachersBibliographyResources

Films >> Come See the Paradise (1990) >>

See the extensive bibliography (divided into print, video/audio, and online resources) below the essay.

The United States has always been a melting pot of nationalities since the Spanish, British, and French joined the Native Americans in populating America as early as the fifteenth century. It wasn’t until the nineteenth century, however, that the Asian population began their journey across the Pacific to Hawaii and then to the mainland of America.

The Start of Japanese Immigration: 1884
The first significant number of Japanese, mostly male agricultural workers, came to Hawaii in 1884, brought there by white American plantation owners. Some of these workers enjoyed living in an American outpost and decided to continue on to the mainland. Upon arriving in the port cities of Seattle and San Francisco, however, they met with a very different culture than that of the Americans in Hawaii. Racism was commonplace in the United States; there was far less racial tension in Hawaii since the Caucasian population had always been the minority. The tension on the mainland was mainly caused by the perception that the Japanese were cheap, unfair labor, taking money and strength away from the American labor unions; this argument was unusual because there were few white farm laborers at that time; most farm owners contracted the work out to Mexican and Chinese immigrants. The Japanese were also a tight-knit cultural group who didn’t mingle into society like other immigrants, causing suspicion at their purpose in America.

Japan’s International Image
To appease the West Coast labor unions, Washington imposed more stringent immigration policies. These changes began to cause tension between the Japanese and American governments. Japan was no longer an agricultural, rural country like China. It was a nation undergoing tremendous growth into an industrial powerhouse, and it was concerned with its international image: “From the beginning of trans-Pacific migration, the Japanese government had evinced great interest in the way its subjects were treated abroad” (Daniels, “Asian” 103). Much of this concern did not stem from caring about its citizens; it was more about the prestige of Japan as a nation: “As early as 1888 . . . diplomatic representatives on the West Coast were sending danger signals to the foreign ministry in Tokyo” (Daniels, “Asian” 103). In the spring of 1900, meetings were held in Seattle and San Francisco to promote anti-Japanese actions. Many of the attendees were prominent citizens of those cities. The San Francisco meeting was organized by the American Federation of Labor; their main argument was economically based. They argued that many of the immigrants arriving at their ports appeared all but destitute; letting in these homeless travelers would only place a burden on Americans. These arguments changed in 1904-5 with Japan’s victory over a white power in the Russo-Japanese War. This war showed a side of Japan that made many Americans nervous. This caused a frenzy of media hype in San Francisco that announced that when the war was over, “the brown stream of Japanese immigration . . . would become a ‘raging torrent’” (Daniels, “Asian” 116). This sensationalist description was over-inflated; the entire number of Japanese immigrants over forty years didn’t equal that of one year of Italian immigrants. While many continued to use economic arguments to further tensions between Japanese and Americans, some used biological reasons; points like diluting the blood of Americans were accepted and rather commonplace during the time period. In 1905, the first segregation law specific to the Japanese went into effect in San Francisco; all Japanese children were to attend Chinese schools only. While these actions weren’t even noticed by the rest of America, “it aroused immediate and impassioned protest from the Japanese government” (Robinson 15). Blatant discrimination of this nature was so intolerable to Japan that war was the only answer to such a heinous act. Theodore Roosevelt tried to mollify the Japanese government with a request to California to reverse the law in addition to suggesting to Congress that Japanese nationals be granted American citizenship, though he knew the likelihood of citizenship would not be offered. California reversed the law, likely because Roosevelt also promised to begin limiting Japanese immigration.

The Gentleman’s Agreement:1908
President Roosevelt saw reason behind the economic arguments coming from the West Coast, though he made a public gesture towards the Japanese government in a speech in 1905 that gave the appearance that he approved of Japanese naturalization. However, in 1908, a “Gentleman’s Agreement” between Japan and the United States ended passport issuance to any Japanese laborer wanting to enter the United States. This agreement, though mutual, resulted in adding to the tension already mounting between the two governments. The agreement did allow for the unmarried Issei, or first-generation Japanese immigrants, to bring over brides from Japan; this almost doubled the Japanese population in a very short time. These marriages resulted in the Nisei population, the second-generation Japanese born in America.

Angering Japan: 1913-1924
The Japanese were quietly making themselves indispensable in the American western agricultural communities: “One of the most striking aspects of the Japanese immigrants’ adaptation to California agriculture was their ability to collectively organize to meet their economic needs” (O’Brien and Fugita 19). The increase in control of the agricultural industry and the increase in the Japanese population, however small in comparison to other nationalities, brought racism to a head in California. In 1913, two bills were proposed; one made it illegal for any “alien” to own land, and the other prevented anyone other than whites and African Americans to be eligible for naturalization. Tokyo was incensed at these exclusions; there were mass protests in Japan and even calls for war. President Woodrow Wilson dispatched Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan to Sacramento in hopes of making California legislators understand how their actions could have national and international ramifications. The bills passed despite Washington’s attempts. America’s navy began preparing for war with Japan. By the summer of 1913, the threat of war had settled, but America’s government was still on high alert. While the two governments postured over California’s discrimination against the Japanese, the industrious Issei found a loophole to the Alien Land Act. They transferred ownership of their land to their American-born children. Unfortunately, the California legislature caught on, and in 1920, a new law was passed that made it illegal for a noncitizen to act as guardian of the land if the owners couldn’t manage it themselves. This initiated a new series of attempts at diplomacy between Tokyo and Washington. Congress was convinced, however, that because of the hold that the Japanese government tried to maintain with its people, that none of the immigrants would ever truly be American citizens and therefore their loyalty would forever be questioned.

The 1924 Immigration Act
In the spring of 1924, America passed a restrictive immigration act that put annual limitations on the number of immigrants allowed from specific nationalities. The numbers were heavily in favor of western and northern European countries while also “prohibiting the admission of any alien ineligible to citizenship as an immigrant” (Ichioka, “Issei” 244). This clause negated the Gentleman’s Agreement of 1908 and ceased all Japanese immigration. Then Japanese Ambassador Hanihara Masanao warned that this act would be detrimental to the relations between the two countries, since Japan had faithfully upheld their end of the Gentlemen’s Agreement for almost 20 years. These warnings were perceived as threats by some in the American government, and the act passed without changes. The Japanese people and the Japanese government were insulted at the overtly racial act, while some Americans saw this as permission to openly threaten the Japanese living in their country. More and more incidents of vandalism and violence against the West Coast Japanese were being reported, but the law did little or nothing to stop it. The Japanese and American governments slowly drew apart, ceasing efforts to settle the difficulties between the two countries.

Refortifying the American Navy
By 1930, Japan’s liberal government was being overtaken by a more military-minded group who, in 1931, attacked and occupied a Chinese province and threatened to take over most of Eastern China. In 1933, newly elected President Franklin Roosevelt was deeply concerned at the Japanese invasion of China. As he made overtures towards reconciliation with Japan, he also gave financial aid to China and undertook a refortifying of the United States Navy: “Fearing a new naval arms race, Roosevelt requested a large defense appropriation in his 1935 budget” (Robinson 50). His request was denied. Roosevelt again applied for funds to bolster America’s naval forces in 1936. This time, probably because of Japan’s refusal to sign a naval limitation treaty between the U.S, Britain, and Japan, the request was approved. With these funds in hand, Roosevelt began to focus on the possibility of terrorism by the Japanese people on American soil: “Beginning in spring 1936, [Roosevelt] made significant efforts to investigate and neutralize any possibility of disloyal activity. His efforts focused on . . . the Japanese-American residents of . . . Hawaii” (Robinson 54). The results of these investigations led to the creation of the “Project for the Defense of Oahu.” This plan, exclusive to the Hawaiian Islands, allowed for the institution of martial law if necessary, the suspending of rights of the accused to be tried before a judge, the registration of enemy aliens, and the selective imprisonment of anyone deemed dangerous.

An Axis Nation
By the summer of 1937, Japan was fully engaged in invading northern China. That winter, the Japanese attacked the U.S.S. Panay, sinking her where she lay at anchor in the Yangtze river. Americans were outraged but were appeased when Japan apologized and offered compensation; because most Americans felt that the overture was sincere, FDR was forced to withhold retaliation and accept the offer. These feelings changed in 1940 when Japan signed the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy. This overt sign of allegiance with the Axis nations allowed FDR to connect Japan with the same warlike behavior as the enemy in Europe. Roosevelt put economic pressure on Japan by encouraging American companies to cease sales of airplanes or parts to Japan. Sales of iron and steel were also stopped. The first peacetime draft was initiated; millions of young men, thousands of them Nisei, registered. At the same time, the nation had become fearful of anyone who didn’t appear “American.” Somehow, the Japanese-American Nisei were seen to be more connected to Japan than America, though most of them had never seen their parents’ homeland. The Japanese government made conditional attempts at peace, but Roosevelt would not be swayed in his opinion that the Japanese meant war.

Registering Aliens
When Roosevelt “transferred the Immigration and Naturalization Service from the Labor to the Justice Department [and signed] a law requiring all aliens to register with the government,” the perceived connection of all those of Japanese ancestry to Japan was reinforced (Robinson 61). Around the same time, the FBI and the Office of Naval Intelligence began gathering information about the Issei and Nisei along the West Coast and in Hawaii to be used for plans to keep the coast safe from an internal invasion of the Japanese. Interestingly, the FBI’s finding in Hawaii contradicted the belief that anyone of Japanese ancestry was anti-American. The report recommended that to keep the loyalty of these residents, a campaign for pro-American and anti-Japanese organizations should be instituted. This report was corroborated by another that was conducted in California. The report stated that the “greatest concern in case of war was not Japanese-American loyalty but outbreaks of violence against the Japanese population” (Robinson 66). A cover memo to the report, however, outlined certain aspects of the report that made it sound as though the local Japanese were a danger and that the whole of the West Coast was unprotected in the event of an invasion. Despite the reassuring nature of the report as a whole, the government’s anxiety rose. America demanded that Japan withdraw from China. The U.S., together with Britain and the Netherlands, imposed an oil embargo against Japan. Japan sought two solutions to this situation: strive to have the embargo lifted and to prepare for war. On November 20, 1941, Japan requested an agreement whereby it would cease expansion in the Pacific if America would resume trade. The American government countered with a request for “a three-month truce based on Japan’s withdrawal of troops from Indochina and her agreement not to invoke the Tripartate Act with Germany and Italy if the United States became engaged in the European war” (Robinson 71). No response came from Japan. Roosevelt attempted one last request for a peace treaty on December 6, but the Japanese fleet was already on its way to Hawaii.

Pearl Harbor: 1941
On December 7, 1941, Japanese naval and air forces launched a surprise bombing raid on Pearl Harbor, the chief base of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific fleet. This attack came as a shock to America; the government was certain that the Japanese did not have the ability to attack on such a scale so far from home. They had been planning for attacks from their own citizens rather that focusing on attacks from abroad. The next day, the President declared war on Japan; search and seizure of property and persons of Japanese ancestry began immediately on the West Coast: “Most of these persons were merely community leaders in organizations such as the Buddhist temple or Japanese Association” (O’Brien and Fugita 44). Fear of the enemy escalated with news of the Japanese army’s successful battles across the Pacific. Newspapers in California, especially the Los Angeles Times, ran inflammatory headlines that were more often imaginary than true: “Much of this jingoism was disseminated by the West Coast military authorities” (Daniels, “Prisoners” 29). The press and radio spread the imaginary information farther and farther, frightening Americans into believing their country was at risk from both the outside and the interior. The U.S. military losses strengthened this argument.

The Executive Order: 1942
Almost three months after the United States declared war on Japan, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, “Authorizing the Secretary of War to Prescribe Military Areas” (Daniels, “Prisoners” 145). This order gave the military the authority to gather all those of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast and send them inland, out of the prohibited military zones along the coast. This gathering did not take place immediately, since no provisions had been made to transport or house such a large number of individuals. On March 27, 1942, the first restrictions were placed on the Japanese living in the new military zones; a curfew was placed on their movements and their ability to be in public between certain hours of the day. On March 30, a new law went into effect that stated that no one of Japanese ancestry could leave the military zones, effectively trapping them until the military decided what to do with them and where to send them.

The Evacuation Begins
By the end of March, the army divided the West Coast into 107 districts for evacuation. Locations and timing of the evacuations were kept a strict secret. When evacuation notices were posted, there were seven days to register, prepare, and board trains or buses. Once boarded, the evacuees were conveyed to temporary assembly centers; many racetracks and fairgrounds were used as intermediate housing where families shared horse stalls as living quarters and bathed where horses were washed down after races. The War Relocation Authority, meanwhile, struggled to find areas of land large enough to erect more permanent camps that were conducive to long-term living but far enough from the public eye and from any major railways or highways: “For most inmates, the settling in process had to be accomplished twice: first at the army-run assembly centers; then, weeks or a couple of months later, at the WRA relocation centers” (Daniels, “Prisoners” 65). The only exception to this were the people who went to Manzanar, a camp in East-Central California; this camp served as both an assembly center and a detention center.

By February of 1943, almost 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans were housed in ten camps dotted across the United States, from California to Arkansas. Each camp became a self-contained town of sorts; children attended school, newspapers were published, gardens were grown, families went to church. The inmates took care of the camps under the direction of the WRA administrators and were paid for their duties, though the pay was meager and the tasks came with no ability to make decisions. There was no running water to any of the living quarters, though all had electricity. Heat was supplied by various means, usually coal stoves. No furniture was provided other than army-issue cots; many of the resourceful inmates used reclaimed lumber from camp projects to fashion furniture.

Application for Leave Clearance
The United States, fighting wars in both Europe and the Pacific, ran into a draft crisis. Part of the solution was to determine loyalty of the incarcerated Japanese Americans in hopes of gaining more men for the war. In an attempt to allow “loyal” inmates to leave the camps, the WRA fashioned a questionnaire and mandated that every man and woman over the age of seventeen complete and sign it. Two questions in particular threw the somewhat settled communities into turmoil. Question 27 asked, “Are you willing to serve in the armed forces of the United States on combat duty, wherever ordered?” Question 28 was more complicated: “Will you swear unqualified allegiance to the United States of America, and faithfully defend the United States from any or all attack by foreign or domestic forces, and foreswear any form of allegiance or obedience to the Japanese Emperor, or any other foreign governmental power or organization?” Many of the Issei were torn when confronted with such a question. If they answered “no,” they would be labeled as disloyal. If they answered “yes,” they were renouncing the country of their birth for a country that had laws forbidding them to become citizens. For the Nisei, answering yes to either or both questions was defending a country that, despite their citizenship, stripped them of their rights and imprisoned them. Ultimately, over 95% of the internees over seventeen answered the questionnaire. Only about 8% answered no; these disloyal individuals were sent to a camp that was transformed into a detention center as the other camps found reasons to release their inmates.

The End to Camp Life
As early as 1942, groups outside the WRA were finding ways to release the internees. Some were college-aged Nisei who were allowed to return to school. Another program allowed prisoners to join the agricultural force again: some returned to the camps when winter came; for others, their release was permanent. The army was in desperate need of Japanese-speaking interpreters; over six thousand internees were released from camp to enlist in the program. Some people volunteered to return to Japan as exchanges for whomever the Japanese government was willing to release. In December of 1944, the WRA announced that the camps would be closed by the end of 1945. It took until March of 1946 for the last camp to officially close. Most of the inmates chose to resettle in states other than where they came from. Some cities, like Cincinnati, openly marketed “friendly living” for the newly released. Other areas had jobs they were willing to give to anyone, regardless of ancestry. While the WRA worked hard at incarcerating these individuals, they also worked hard in advertising what model citizens the Japanese Americans had proved to be.

The End to War: 1945
President Franklin Roosevelt died in April of 1944, not long after the WRA announced the closing of the internment camps. He was succeeded by Harry Truman, who inherited the war in the Pacific. Truman wanted an end to the mounting death toll of American men at the hands of the Japanese, but he also wanted to avoid invading Japan to accomplish this goal. On August 6, 1945, despite other options, a B-29 bomber named the Enola Gay released an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima: “After the bomb exploded in the air about 1,900 feet above Hiroshima, witnesses reported seeing a searing flash of light, feeling a sweeping rush of air, and hearing a deafening roar, which was intensified by the sound of collapsing buildings” (Walker 77). On August 9, a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. The B-29’s original target was the city of Kokura, but because of stormy weather and enemy attacks, the pilot opted for his second target. After many days of debate, the Japanese government sent a message on August 10, 1945, offering conditional surrender and an end to the war.

Reparations -- 1945 to present
"The resettlement period was very difficult for a number of reasons that are often not fully appreciated" (Fugita and Fernandez 200). Most Japanese Americans wanted nothing more than to get back to their lives, which was impossible, since everything they had was either sold or stolen during their imprisonment. Many dispersed across America instead of returning to the West Coast; this broke up communities and separated families, making it harder to assimilate into life after the war. "By the 1960s, the former incarcerees had generally established broadly middle class lifestyles and numerous active communities" (Fugita and Fernandez 203). Hawaii had become a state in 1950, allowing the much larger Japanese American community to elect Japanese American Congressmen and Senators. Understanding the value of education as a leading force in obtaining good jobs, the Sansei, or third generation Japanese Americans, surpassed their Nisei parents in the number of students obtaining a college degree. In the 1970s, a small group of Nisei progressives "began pursuing reparations for their losses during the incarceration" (Fugita and Fernandez 204). These efforts led to the repeal of FDR's Executive Order 9066 by President Gerald Ford in 1976 on the thirty-fourth anniversary of its inception. "It was Ford's successor, Jimmy Carter, who helped begin the last phase of what Japanese Americans call the struggle for redress" (Daniels, Prisoners 91): the creation of the Commission on the Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. The investigations over the next three years resulted in a report titled "Personal Justice Denied," which made five recommendations, including a formal apology from the U.S. government, pardons for those who resisted the incarceration, and a $20,000 tax-free payment to all living Japanese Americans who had been imprisoned. After several legal battles and many years later, The Civil Rights Act transferred the Redress Commission's recommendations into law in 1988, with the first financial reparations taking place in 1990. Attorney General Dick Thornburg personally distributed these checks to the oldest survivors, some who were over 100 years old, with these words: "Your struggle for redress and the events that led to today are the finest examples of what our country is about, and of what I have pledged to protect and defend, for your efforts have strengthened the nation's Constitution by reaffirming the inalienability of our civil rights."

Print Resources

Armor, John, and Peter Wright. Manzanar: Photographs by Ansel Adams. New York: Times Books, 1989.
"Ansel Adams was a friend of Manzanar's second director, Ralph Merritt, who was familiar with Adams's work as a photographer in Yosemite National Park, not far from the camp. It was he who invited Adams to Manzanar, and to make a photographic record of it. . . . 'Moved by the human story unfolding in the encirclement of desert and mountains, and by the wish to identify my photography . . . with tragic momentum of the times, I came to Manzanar with my cameras in the fall of 1943.'"
Brooks, Roy L. When Sorry Isn't Enough -- The Controversy over Apologies and Reparations for Human Injustice. New York: New York UP, 1999.
Questions about the current worldwide ferment over human injustices seem to arise every week. Why does the U.S. offer $20,000 atonement money to Japanese Americans relocated to concentration camps during World War II, while not even apologizing to African Americans for 250 years of human bondage and another century of institutionalized discrimination? . . . Is Germany's highly praised redress program, which has paid billions of dollars to Jews worldwide, a success and, as such, an example for others? More generally, is compensation for a historical wrong dangerous "blood money" that allows a nation to wash its hands forever of its responsibility to those it has injured? A rich collection of essays from leading scholars, pundits, activists, and political leaders the world over, many written expressly for this volume, When Sorry Isn't Enough also includes the voices of the victims of some of the world's worst atrocities, thereby providing a panoramic perspective on an international controversy often marked more by heat than reason.
Daniels, Roger. Asian America: Chinese and Japanese in the United States since 1850. Seattle: U of Washington P, 1988.
"While it uses much archival evidence, [this book] attempts to synthesize the history of . . . Japanese in this country and to treat their lives as integral to the American mosaic. . . . The burden of this book . . . is that the immigration and acculturation of Asians has been more significant in the history of the United States than their relatives numbers would indicate. Examination of the unique experiences of . . . Japanese Americans gives a different and instructive perspective to more universal questions concerning the nature of the immigrant experience and the role of race and ethnicity in American life."
Daniels, Roger. Concentration Camps U.S.A: Japanese Americans and World War II. Hinsdale: Dryden Press, 1971.
From a review by Warren F. Kimball: "This brief book makes an excellent attempt to tell the story of the experience of Japanese Americans during World War II. After a brief historical comparison of the Japanese American experience in the United States with that of the Chinese Americans, Professor Daniels sets the stage for the story of the evacuation of Japanese Americans and the dislocation of their community in the face of tremendous external and internal pressures. The story . . . does not speak well to the furtherance of American ideals, and the author points the finger of guilt at both military and civilian officials in the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration."
Daniels, Roger. Prisoners Without Trial: Japanese Americans in World War II. New York: Hill and Wang, 1993.
Daniels constructs a book that "describe[s] and attempt[s] to explain how and why nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans were take from their homes in the spring and early summer of 1942 and incarcerated in concentration camps by the United States government. . . . The wartime abuse of Japanese Americans, it is now clear, was merely a link in a chain of racism that stretched back to the earliest contacts between Asians and whites on American soil." The book contains population tables, maps, quotes from government officials during and after the war, and concludes with photographs of the internment, an appendix which contains, among other items, the whole of the Executive Order 9066.
Daniels, Roger. The Decision to Relocate the Japanese Americans. New York: Lippincott, 1975.
Daniels tackles the internment from a slightly different angle, discussing how the decision by the United States government to intern Japanese Americans was very similar in many ways to the Canadian government's decisions. Interestingly, Daniels is able to uncover more records that prove that the Canadian internment was premeditated, where American documents were nearly impossible to uncover. It appears that Daniels also discovered evidence that "indicates some propensity toward unity of action between the two governments."
Dempster, Brian Komei, ed. From Our Side of the Fence: Growing Up in America's Concentration Camps. San Francisco: Kearny Street Workshop, 2001.
"For San Francisco's Japantown, a community that has been uprooted three times over, the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California was envisioned by the Nisei as a home for the community that could not be taken away. In providing a space for the community to gather, struggle, grieve, create, grow, and renew itself, the JCCCNC . . . meets its call to the future. The student writers in the Internment Autobiography Writing Workshop, led by Brian Komei Dempster, discovered that here, they could freely explore and express their camp experiences. This anthology is comprised of the stories of eleven student writers. . . . The lesson plans for Dempster's Internment Autobiography Writing Workshop . . . provide a clear and structured model for any internee who wishes to record his or her wartime memories. . . . The legacy of the writers in this collection is to inspire and to invite each of us to discover our own truths to share."
Dusselier, Jane E. Artifacts of Loss: Crafting Survival in Japanese American Concentration Camps. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 2008.
"Rather than understanding camp-made art as evidence of humane treatment, I suggest that these material cultures comprised diverse visual accounts of loss, and physical as well as mental landscapes of survival. . . . By creating art in forms such as flowers made with tissue paper, wood carvings of pets left behind, and furniture from discarded apple crates, internees revealed and asserted their many losses. Considering what “was lost in terms of what remains,” this chapter positions camp-made art as creating narratives that bring past losses and, by association, past oppressions into the present moment. . . . While imprisoned, Japanese American women, children, and men employed art to remake the physical landscapes of the camps into livable places, establish new and reform existing connections, and create mental spaces of survival."
Earl, Phillip I. "Nevada's Miscegenation Laws and the Marriage of Mr. & Mrs. Harry Bridges." Nevada Historical Society Quarterly 37.1 (1994): 1-17.
A detailed explanation of how Nevada's miscegenation statute was enacted in November of 1861, and how, over time, the law became obsolete enough to repeal it. The law may have lasted more years had it not been for Harry Bridges and his fiancee, Noriko Sawara. Bridges was one of the founders of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) in San Francisco and was quite well known in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. When Bridges came to Reno, NV to marry his fiancee, he enlisted the help of attorneys found through coworkers of Sawara's to overcome the archaic, racist law that forbade them this right.
Fugita, Stephen, and Marilyn Fernandez. Altered Lives, Enduring Community: Japanese Americans Remember Their World War II Incarceration. Seattle: U of Washington P, 2004.
"The main purpose of this study is to examine the impact of the World War II experiences of exclusion and incarceration of Japanese Americans on their postwar efforts to reestablish themselves in American Society. . . . Our principal focus, using the Denshō survey (digitized videotapes of former incarcerees living in the Seattle area), will be on the socioeconomic consequences, which are more readily measurable with traditional survey and historical methodologies. Secondarily, we will explore the psychological effects, which are considerably more difficult to document and may have a course of development quite distinct from the socioeconomic ones."
Gordon, Linda, and Gary Y. Okihiro, eds. Impounded: Dorothea Lange and the Censored Images of Japanese American Internment. New York: W. W. Norton, 2006.
The two introductory essays by the editors are powerful discussions of how important it was to Dorothea Lange to "tell the historic story of internment from the perspective of the internees." Gordon's essay focuses on Lange's photography, notes, and philosophy about working for the War Relocation Authority when her views about the incarceration were clearly against what the WRA stood for. Okihiro's essay discusses what happened to the select few Japanese Americans in Hawai'i who were deemed "‘suspects' for [the] selective detention program." These were the men and women to be considered the biggest threat to America, and who were treated the worst during the years of internment. After the essays, Lange's photography can be divided into topics: what the internees lost because of the Executive Order, the initial evacuation proceedings, and, finally, the internment itself, both in temporary areas as well as at Manzanar, California's largest camp. As Lange turned in her work to the WRA, the Army realized how inflammatory the images would be and quietly hid her work in the National Archives. Many of the images in the book have never been published until now. This photographic chronicle of the internment by Lange is a valuable testimony to the suffering and endurance of the Japanese American people.
Grapes, Bryan J. Japanese American Internment Camps. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2001.
"[This text is] particularly suited to students beginning serious historical study. By examining these firsthand documents, novice historians can begin to form their own insights and conclusions about the historical era [of the Japanese American internment]. To aid the students in that process, [this text] includes introductions that provide an overview of [the internment], timelines, and annotated bibliographies that point the serious student toward key historical works for further study."
Hanson, Arthur A., ed. Japanese American World War II Evacuation Oral History Project Part I: Internees. Westport: Meckler Publishing, 1991.
"At the heart of the collection of interviews in the Japanese American Project for the Oral History Program at California State University, Fullerton, are those treating the topic of the World War II removal and detention for more than 112,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were American citizens. Although the interviews with internees that comprise Part I of the . . . project constitute but a fraction of the overall holdings in the CSUF-OHP's Japanese American Project collection relative to this category, they have been selected because, taken together, they are both powerfully illuminating in themselves and revelatory of the diverse and multifaceted internee experience as a whole."
Hanson, Arthur A., ed. Japanese American World War II Evacuation Oral History Project Part II: Administrators. Westport: Meckler Publishing, 1991.
"The World War II Japanese American Evacuation experience is central to the collection of interviews comprising the Japanese American Project of the Oral History Program at California State University, Fullerton. Wile most of the interviews focused upon this event are with interned Japanese Americans, a sizable number recount the Evacuation from the perspective of those who served as administrators in the several varieties of centers established by the U.S. government for the wartime detention of people of Japanese ancestry. Thus, this volume of the . . . project consists of interviews transacted with seven of these administrators. Collectively, these interviews, which possess an intertextual compatibility, evoke a broad range of administrative responses to the challenges posed by the U.S. government's decision to incarcerate resident aliens and citizens of Japanese ancestry."
Harth Erica, ed. Last Witnesses: Reflections on the Wartime Internment of Japanese Americans. New York: Palgrave, 2001.
A first-hand look back at the years of internment. The editor was a child of a camp administrator who attended school with the detained children; she provides an essay of her own in this recounting of history through the eyes of those who lived through the experience. "To the writers in this book-- novelists, memoirists, poets, activists, scholars, students, professionals -- the World War II internment of Japanese Americans in the detention camps is an unfinished chapter of American history. . . . All the contributors to this volume have necessarily had to reflect on how to write about the incarceration at a distance of sixty years. As the last witnesses to the mass removal and imprisonment are about to leave the stand forever, we ask ourselves what stories we want to make known now."
Hatamiya, Leslie T. Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and the Passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1993.
"This book is first and foremost about political reality and the policy-making process on Capitol Hill. Its purpose is to assess the importance and effectiveness of factors affecting the redress legislation throughout the policy-making process--from introducing the bill in Congress to obtaining cosponsors, to maneuvering through communities to voting on the bill on the floor and signing it into law--in terms of a successful legislative outcome. Moreover, this book places the legislative campaign for redress in the broader theoretical context of how Congress and the policy-making process work. The crucial question is how a small and politically incohesive minority group was able, at a time of massive federal budget deficits, to secure passage of a potentially controversial bill, authorizing $1.25 billion in redress payments, by members of Congress who would gain no electoral advantage by supporting that bill."
Houston, Jeanne Wakatsuki. Farewell to Manzanar. New York: Random House, 1972.
"Because this is a true story, involving an extraordinary episode in American history, we have included a list of dates and laws we hope will make it easier to follow. It needs some historical context. But this is not political history. It is a story, or a web of stories -- my own, my father's, my family's -- tracing a few paths, out of the multitude of paths that led up to and away from the experience of the internment."
Ichioka, Yuji. Before Internment. Stanford: Stanford UP, 2006.
Most historic studies of Japanese American history failed to take into account the years before World War II. "What happened in the interwar period had a definite influence on events during the internment period," to the extent that one cannot fully understand the internment without understanding the decades before 1941. "Five of the essays in this collection cover one aspect or another of the Issei generation during the prewar period." This book contains twelve essays that discuss such topics as the "second generation problem," Japanese American loyalty, Japanese immigrant nationalism, and the future of Japanese American studies.
Ichioka, Yuji. The Issei: The World of the First Generation Japanese Immigrants 1885-1924. New York: The Free Press, 1988.
"This is the first history of the first generation of Japanese immigrants -- the Issei -- and the deep hostility they encountered in the United States. American historian Yuji Ichioka . . . uses archival Japanese language sources to explore the political circumstances, the working conditions, and the social and family life of these early immigrants." This book is important in understanding the underlying reasons for Asian exclusion laws and, ultimately, the incarceration of the Japanese American people in 1941. Ichioka also provides details about how labor unions factor into much of the racially motivated exclusion, tying the history of the Japanese people in America to its "rapid expansion of industrial capitalism after the Civil War."
Irons, Peter H. Justice at War. New York: Oxford UP, 1983.
"This book tells the story of the Japanese American wartime cases -- the historic cases in which the United States Supreme Court upheld in 1943 and 1944 the military orders that forced more than 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry from their West Coast homes into ten internment camps scattered from the California desert to the swamps of Arkansas. These cases arose in 1942 when four young American citizens -- Gordon Hirabayashi, Minoru Yasui, Fred Korematsu, and Mitsuye Endo -- raised constitutional challenges to the internment orders."
Kashima, Tetsuden. Judgment Without Trial: Japanese American Imprisonment during World War II. Seattle: U of Washington P, 2003.
"This study shows that the decision to imprison persons of Japanese ancestry during the war was made before the attack on Pearl Harbor. There were differences of opinion over which persons or organizations ought to be investigated and who should later be imprisoned, but the decision was a product of rational deliberation; it was not necessarily made in haste or because of 'hysteria,' as perhaps the general populace and some authors may believe. Further, the failure to establish a single overarching authority for those interned or incarcerated led to considerable bureaucratic conflict and confusion."
Kitagawa, Daisuke. Issei and Nisei: The Internment Years. New York: Seabury Press, 1967.
"In this book I have attempted to share with my readers [the internment experience at Tule Lake, California] . . . my personal experience within the context of the corporate experience of Japanese Americans as a whole in their forced internment years: 1942-44. The book is autobiographical, but it is not my autobiography. If anything, it is a collective autobiography of the Japanese-American community as a whole, in which I am simultaneously an observer, and actor, and the narrator."
Lawson, Fusao Inada, ed. Only What We Could Carry: The Japanese American Internment Experience.
"The story of the internment, while in most ways unique to its time, is disturbingly relevant. The targets have changed, but the themes have remained constant. Recent immigrant groups, gays and lesbians, those belonging to minority racial, ethnic, or religious groups still experience prejudice, hatred, and contempt. A larger purpose of this anthology, then, is not just to explore history, but to use that exploration to understand more deeply the consequences of racial prejudice, to confront more fully the harm that it does and the strengths that it calls forth, and by increasing intellectual and emotional awareness, to help ensure that such events cannot occur again."
Leighton, Alexander H., Lt. Comdr., Medical Corps, USNR. The Governing of Men: General Principles and Recommendations Based on Experience at a Japanese Relocation Camp. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1946.
This book, while tremendously outdated, is an interesting view into the justification for what was then coined "the evacuation" of Japanese Americans. The War Relocation Camp of Poston, Arizona, became a sort of research laboratory for applied psychology and social anthropology: "The project had two major aspects: first, advising the administrative officers concerning current situations in the center; and second, making observations and analyses that would have bearing on general problems of administration and government, particularly in occupied areas." The book discusses a strike of the "evacuees" due to unmet grievances and the unfair and illegal arrest of two internees. While it is disturbing to read such a coldly scientific analysis of life in camp, it is valuable to catch a glimpse into the feeling the military had regarding the War Relocation Administration and the internment of over 110,000 Japanese Americans.
Miyakawa, Edward T. Tule Lake. Trafford Publishing, 2006.
"Although Tule Lake is in novel form, it draws from actual events that occurred within the barbed wire and machine gun manned towers of an American concentration camp and from my own life experiences as well as that of my family's. It is in part the story of my father, . . . my maternal grandparents, the Shigenos, their son and daughters . . . They lost everything they had spent their lives in America working for in one week when the U.S. government ordered them to evacuate."
Miyamoto, S. Frank, and O'Brien, Robert W. "A Survey of Some Changes in the Seattle Japanese Community Since Evacuation." Research Studies of the State College of Washington 15 (1947): 147-54.
A brief discussion of a sociological study regarding the Japanese American community in and around the Seattle area, conducted based on details of the population before the war and after the lifting of the evacuation order in 1945.
Modell, John. "Class or Ethnic Solidarity: The Japanese American Company Union." Pacific Historical Review 38 (1969): 192-206.
Modell's article focuses on the attempts of the Retail Food Clerks Union, Local 770, to lure Nisei fruit stand workers to their cause, thereby eliminating the lower wage competition and creating what they considered "an 'American' standard of living." If the Nisei showed interest in continuing the Issei's way of doing business, they were branded "enemies of American labor." To avoid this conflict, the Nisei created their own union, causing Local 770 to wage war against the Japanese workers.
Muller, Eric L., ed. Colors of Confinement: Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2012.
Bill Manbo was a Nisei, a second-generation Japanese born in America, who photographed his incarceration at Heart Mountain Internment Camp in Wyoming. Muller does not mention how Manbo managed to have a camera, film, and the equipment to develop the film within the confines of camp, but the color images that Manbo took are both heart-warming and chilling. Sights like Manbo's young son walking down an empty road past piles of coal and flimsy shacks, internee children playing against a backdrop of sky and deserted wilderness, or the bleak winter landscape seen from the road between the barracks, demonstrate that Manbo wasn't just photographing his time at Heart Mountain to document his family's life. Manbo used his camera to capture the internee's attempts to maintain a semblance of civilization within a harsh reality.
Murata, Kiyoaki. An Enemy Among Friends. New York: Kodansha International, 1991.
This is an autobiography of a man who was born and raised in Japan but came to America just before the outbreak of World War II. He claims that in the seven years he spent in the United States, he had only "delightful and fruitful" experiences, and his reason for writing the memoir was because, "feeling that a record of [his] wartime life in American may be of interest to today's Americans, [he has] attempted to recount it as it happened, without making any moral judgments."
Murray, Alice Yang. Historical Memories of the Japanese American Internment and the Struggle for Redress. Stanford: Stanford UP, 2008.
Murray compares the activism of three separate Japanese American organizations fighting for redress: The National Coalition for Redress/Reparations; the Japanese American Citizens League; and the National Council for Japanese American Redress. Each of these groups not only campaigned for different definitions of redress, they had completely different recollections of the internment years, causing rivalry and accusations of misrepresentation while pleading similar cases; reparation to the Japanese American people for the violation of their civil and personal rights. Murray examines these differences to discover how they came to such diverging understandings of what it meant to have been a prisoner in their own country.
Murray, Alice Yang. What Did the Internment of Japanese Americans Mean? Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000.
"The design of this book reflects two considerations. First, [Murray wants] to provide students with a wide range of influential scholarship on the causes and consequences of internment. Students can use this collection to compare the sources, methods, and interpretations of researchers in the fields of political, constitutional, cultural, and social history. Second, [Murray wishes] to draw students' attention to the process of producing historical research and knowledge. . . . [Murray hopes] that this will encourage students to contemplate the relationship between politics and scholarship and to explore connections between intellectual agendas, scholarly careers, and political activism."
Nagata, Donna K. Legacy of Injustice: Exploring the Cross-generational Impact of the Japanese American Internment. New York: Plenum Press, 1993.
This book examines such questions as "How is the impact of one generation's historic injustice passed on to the next generation? And what long-term effects has the internment had for the offspring of those who were incarcerated?" The answers came from The Sansei Research Project, a large-scale study that focused on the children of the Nisei, or second-generation Japanese. The Sansei have lived with the events that their parents and grandparents (Issei) suffered through and passed down like family heirlooms to a generation who did not suffer the same racism or cultural abuse as their ancestors. Nagata uses the cross-generational survey to compile the "many levels at which the internment remains a significant force in the lives of the Sansei."
Ng, Wendy L. Japanese American Internment during World War II: A History and Reference Guide. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2002.
"This book [compiled by a Sansei sociologist] contains materials designed to assist readers in learning about the internment experience: a chronology; a series of interpretive essays, primary source documents, brief biographies of key individuals, an annotated bibliography, and a glossary of terms. Although the focus is on the Japanese American internment experience, certain materials apply to the Japanese in Hawaii, who were not interned, but were still suspect in much the same way as mainland Japanese."
Otsuka, Julie. When the Emperor was Divine: A Novel. New York: Anchor Books, 2003.
A fictional internment story told from five different perspectives. Otsuka writes in easy, comfortable tones, pulling in the reader as she describes horrible experiences faced by the people in the novel: having to kill the family dog rather than giving it away or setting it loose to starve; packing mementos that mean so much, but have absolutely no value; attending the funeral of a man who was shot because he wanted to pick a flower that was on the other side of the barbed wire. Otsuka writes a powerfully sad drama with eloquence and a strict attention to detail.
Robinson, Greg. A Tragedy of Democracy: Japanese Confinement in North America. New York: Columbia UP, 2009.
"What is particularly noteworthy about the confinement of the Issei and Nisei is its fundamentally ironic character: it was an arbitrary and antidemocratic measure put into effect by a government devoted to humanitarian aims, which occurred as part of a war the nation was waging for the survival of world freedom. Through its official actions, undertaken in the name of national security, the United States not only brought suffering to its own people but handicapped its war effort. . . . A first purpose of this book is to set down a record of Executive Order 9066 and the wartime Japanese American experience in a clear and digestible fashion. . . . [Second, this book expands] the contours of discussion on Japanese American confinement beyond the overly narrow framework of time and space in which the subject has been placed."
Robinson, Greg. By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2001
Robinson tackles the difficulty of understanding Executive Order 9066 from the perspective of President Franklin Roosevelt: "Roosevelt's view of Japanese Americans as immutably foreign and dangerous was a crucial factor in his approval of the internment. To understand how Roosevelt evolved these beliefs, we must examine the nature of American society in which Roosevelt spent his early life and investigate how his attitudes toward the presence of people of Japanese ancestry in the United States were shaped by dominant social and intellectual patterns of the period."
Sone, Monica Itoi. Nisei Daughter. Seattle: U of Washington P, 1979.
"The title of this book, Nisei Daughter, is well chosen. . . . This is an autobiographical account by a Japanese-American woman that describes her childhood, adolescence, and young womanhood while growing up in a Japanese immigrant family Seattle."
Stewart, Todd. Placing Memory: A Photographic Exploration of Japanese American Internment. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2008.
Stewart believes that a physical place holds memory. The examination of this theory helped him to begin his photographic documentation of ten internment sites throughout America. Regarding his first site visit, he says that, "What surprised me most about . . . Manzanar was the immediacy of the experience. Although the landscape had been abandoned for fifty years, the presence of ten thousand internees was unmistakable." Through his work, Stewart tries to hold true to Robert Adams' "three verities of landscape art; geography, autobiography, and metaphor," as stated in Adams' essay, "Truth and Landscape." When compared with the images of Dorothea Lange, one can almost see the ghosts of the many people who were held without justice.
Tajima, Renée, ed. The Anthology of Asian Pacific American Film and Video. New York: Film News Now Foundation, 1985.
An informative catalogue of shorts and documentaries about the internment and other Asian American subjects: "Around a dozen years ago a clarion call sounded for a new creative movement in the Asian pacific American community. Textbooks had been blind to our history for too long, and we had seen one too many Fu Manchu derivatives. . . . Artists responded to the call in different ways. Some took up the camera, and set about to do something more than simply produce films. They forged a movement out of this new creative energy and from it grew the body of work the Anthology of Asian Pacific Film and Video was drawn from. . . . These filmmakers are intensely aware of our dual existence as Asians in America, and within the scope of multicultural relations they evoke the many dimensions of Asian life from the Mississippi delta to New York City's Lower East Side."
Takei, George. To the Stars: The Autobiography of George Takei, Star Trek's Mr. Sulu. New York: Pocket Books, 1994.
Takei chronicles his life beginning at age four, when he and his family must board a train from their home in Los Angeles to Rowher, Arkansas, the most eastern of the internment camps housing Japanese Americans during World War II. When released from camp, his family begins a journey to rebuild their lives, and Takei ends up living a dream that fifty years earlier seemed "the sheerest of fantasies."
Tateishi, John. And Justice for All: An Oral History of the Japanese American Detention Camps. New York: Random House, 1984.
Thirty oral accounts of life in the War Relocation Camps: "Emerging from accounts of our common experience are a number of unique stories as well, some of pain and hardship, some bittersweet, some with touches of humor, many with an extraordinary dedication to American ideals. But underlying all of the accounts is a sense of personal tragedy for having experienced a nation's betrayal of a people's loyalty and faith."
Uchida, Yoshiko. Desert Exile: The Uprooting of a Japanese American Family. Seattle: U of Washington P, 1982.
"It is my generation . . . who lived through the evacuation of 1942. We are (the Sansei's) link to the past and we must provide them with the cultural memory they lack. We must tell them all we can remember, so they can better understand the history of their own people. As they listen to our voices from the past, however, I ask that they remember they are listening in a totally different time; in a totally changed world."
Walker, J. Samuel. Prompt and Utter Destruction: Truman and the Use of the Atomic Bombs Against Japan. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1997.
Walker analyzes the events that lead up to the war in the Pacific, and the decisions that were made regarding the use of the atomic bomb on Japan. He posits that "historically sound conclusions can be reached only by examining conditions and decision making in the United States and Japan in the summer of 1945 and by recognizing that the considerations that led to Hiroshima were much more complex and much less clear-cut than the conventional view suggests." Walker also examines the fact that Truman never stated categorically that the bombs should be used; it would be impossible to answer certain important questions about the decisions to use the bombs, because those answers "are matters of speculation, assumption, or uncertainty rather than matters of conclusive evidence."
Weglyn, Michi. Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of America's Concentration Camps. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1976.
In the preface, Weglyn states that "as a teen-age participant in this mass exodus I, like others, went along into confinement, trusting that our revered President . . . had found that the measure was in the best interest of our country. . . . Twenty-five years later, curiosity led me into exhuming documents of this extraordinary chapter in our history, which had seen the shattering . . . of so many hopes and dreams. . . . Persuaded that the enormity of a bygone injustice has been only partially perceived, I have taken upon myself the task of piecing together what might be called the 'forgotten' -- or ignored -- parts of the tapestry of those years. . . . I hope that this uniquely American story will serve as a reminder to all those who cherish their liberties . . . and as a warning that they who say that it can never happen again are probably wrong." The appendices of the book contain reproduced documents from the War Relocation Authority, the military, and camp administrators, while the first fourteen pages before the title page contains photographs and news stories of the beginning of the internment years.

Video/Audio Resources

Beyond Barbed Wire. Dir. Steve Rosen. Perf. Noriyuki "Pat" Morita. VCI Video, 1997.
"Recounts the personal sacrifices and untold stories of heroism displayed by the Japanese American soldiers of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service who fought for America while their families were held in internment camps."
Children of the Camps: The Japanese American WWII Internment Camp Experience. Dir. Satsuki Ina. PBS, 2001.
"Children of the Camps is a one-hour documentary that portrays the poignant stories of six Japanese Americans who were interned as children in US concentration camps during W.W.II. The film captures a three-day intensive group experience, during which the participants are guided by Dr. Satsuki Ina, a university professor and therapist, through a process that enables them to speak honestly about their experiences and the continuing impact of internment on their lives today."
Days of Waiting: The Life and Art of Estelle Ishigo. Dir. Steven Okazaki. San Francisco: Distributed by NAATA/Crosscurrent Media, 2005, 1988.
"Academy Award-winning documentary by Steven Okazaki. The film documents the life and art of Estelle Ishigo, the Caucasian wife of nisei Arthur Ishigo. Her journal entries and artwork convey a vivid sense of the internees' daily lives and the deep impact of exclusion and incarceration."
A Family Gathering. Dir. Lise Yasui, Ann Tegnell. PBS Video, 1989.
"Tells the story of a third-generation Japanese-American woman's search for her family history and understanding of their internment during the Second World War. Focuses on Masuo Yasui who, after living in the United States for thirty years, was arrested by the FBI as a potentially dangerous alien five days after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor."
Farewell to Manzanar. Dir. John Korty. Perf. Yuki Shimoda, Nobu McCarthy, Dori Takeshita, Akemi Kikumura, Clyde Kasatsu, Mako, Pat Morita. Universal Studios, 1976.
Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston's written memoir of the same title is brought to life in this autobiographical documentary of the Wakatsuki family's experience in America after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. From the bombing until their release, Houston's parents and siblings endure racism, slander, incarceration, violence, and death as they struggle to understand why America no longer wants to see them as Americans. Many parallels between Farewell to Manzanar and Come See The Paradise will be noticed: the father, accused of being a traitor, held captive in Fort Lincoln; breaking household items rather than selling them for far less than they are worth; an eldest son who tries to be an exemplary American, and an angry second son who wants to rebel against incarceration; a riot in the camp that is caused by soldiers stealing the provisions meant for the internees; the gradual decline of a once-respected father. These and more comparisons are evident, causing the watcher to wonder if Alan Parker gleaned most of his story ideas from this film and Houston's autobiography.
History and Memory for Akiko and Takashige. Dir. Rea Tajiri. Electronic Arts Intermix, St. Paul: KTCA, 1993, 1991.
"Tells the story of the filmmaker's search for her family's history and experience as Japanese Americans during the Second World War."
Manzanar. Dir. Robert A.Nakamura. San Francisco: Distributed by NAATA, 1971-1990
"Documentary by Robert Nakamura which depicts a Nisei's memories of boyhood spent in a U.S. concentration camp during World War II."
A Personal Matter: Gordon Hirabayashi versus the United States. San Francisco: CrossCurrent Media: National Asian American Telecommunications Association, 1992.
"Documents the 43-year stuggle to overturn the conviction of Gordon Hirabayashi resulting from his defying internment in a Japanese-American concentration camp during World War II on the grounds that the order violated his Constitutional freedoms."
Unfinished Business: The Japanese-American Internment Cases. Dir. Steven Okazaki. Farallon Films, 1984.
"'Unfinished Business' is [a documentary] of three Japanese-American resistors -- Gorden Hirabayashi, Fred Korematsu, and Minoru Yasui -- who courageously defied the government order and refused to go [to the internment camps], resulting in their conviction and imprisonment. The film interweaves their personal stories with moving archival footage of wartime anti-Japanese hysteria, the evacuation and incarceration, and life at the camps. It captures the men 40 years later, fighting to overturn their original convictions in the final round of the battle against the act which shattered the lives of two generations of Japanese Americans."

Online Resources

Ansel Adams Gallery
Photographs of life at Manzanar.
Ansel Adams. "Photographs of Japanese American Internment at Manzanar." American Memory, Library of Congress.
"In 1943, Ansel Adams (1902-1984), America's best-known photographer, documented the Manzanar War Relocation Center in California and the Japanese Americans interned there during World War II."
The Archives Library Information Center: Japanese Relocation and Internment During World War II
The National Archives have amassed a collection of content "beyond the physical holdings of [their] two traditional libraries." This site is a collection of links to a myriad of sources regarding documents and photographs of the relocation, the War Relocation Authority, censorship of "enemy alien mail," and other topics that center around the Japanese American internment during World War II. No discussion is offered on how the list of links was collected, or why some topics are represented but others, like the original Executive Order 9066, were excluded.
Children of the Camps.
Companion web site to the documentary film: "The Children of the Camps documentary captures the experiences of six Americans of Japanese ancestry who were confined as innocent children to internment camps by the U.S. government during World War II. The film vividly portrays their personal journey to heal the deep wounds they suffered from this experience."
Children of the Camps.
"The Children of The Camps Project was initiated by Dr. Satsuki Ina with the following primary goals: to develop a documentary that explores the ongoing emotional, familial, and psychological consequences of the WW II internment camp experience for those who were "children of the camps", and that documents their personal journey to healing from the wounds of racism . . . ; to facilitate a healing experience for the Japanese American community by holding workshops where former internees and their families can view the documentary and further explore the personal and intergenerational impact of the internment experience . . . ; and to educate the general public regarding the long term effects of the World War II internment trauma on Japanese Americans, the harmful impact of institutionalized racism in general, and the need for understanding and healing of both victim and perpetrator."
Clara Breed Collection.
"The online collection of Clara Breed, or 'Miss Breed' as she was known by her young library patrons, includes over 300 letters and cards received by Breed from Japanese American children and young adults during their World War II incarceration. Miss Breed was the children's librarian at San Diego Public Library from 1929 to 1945. When her young Japanese American patrons were forced into concentration camps with their families in 1942, Breed became their reliable correspondent, sending them books, assisting with requests for supplies, and through her actions, serving as a reminder of the possibility for decency and justice in a troubled world."
Clem Albers Gallery Gallery
Photographs of life at Manzanar.
Colasurdo, Luke. "The Internment of Japanese Americans as reported by Seattle Area Newspapers." The Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project, 2005.
"Seattle area newspapers closely covered the evacuation. Their editorials fell into three categories: some were for evacuation, some were against evacuation, and some were ambivalent. This essay examines some of the smaller newspapers in the region, weekly newspapers that served specialized communities."
Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project.
"Densho's mission is to preserve the testimonies of Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated during World War II before their memories are extinguished. We offer these irreplaceable firsthand accounts, coupled with historical images and teacher resources, to explore principles of democracy and promote equal justice for all."
Dorothea Lange Gallery
Photographs of life at Manazanar: "Dorothea Lange had already achieved success as a documentary photographer with her depression era work with the Farm Security Administration when she joined the War Relocation Authority in 1941. Unlike Ansel Adams, Lange was involved with the relocation from the beginning. Her Manzanar photographs depict the early days of camp when barracks were being constructed, classrooms were still haphazardly arranged, and life for the internees was more uncertain. Where Adams portraits seem almost heroic, Lange more often catches the semi-tragic atmosphere of her subjects. The captions with Lange's photos in our gallery are in her own words. Today we use the term 'internee' to talk about the Japanese Americans who lived in the camps. Lange's usage of 'evacuee' to describe her photographic subjects reflects the common terminology of 1942."
Francis Stewart Gallery
Photographs of life at Manazanar: "Francis Stewart visited Manzanar twice as a photographer for the War Relocation Authority. His first visit was near the beginning of camp, in May, 1942. He then returned in February, 1943, when camp life was more settled. The captions with Stewart's photos in our gallery are in his own words. Today we use the term 'internee' to talk about the Japanese Americans who lived in the camps. Stewart's usage of 'evacuee' to describe his photographic subjects reflects the common terminology of 1942."
George Takei -- Legendary Actor and Political Activist
George Takei is known for his groundbreaking role at Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek: The Original Series. He tells Ana Kasparian [of The Young Turks online news network] about his childhood in a Japanese internment camp, marching with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for civil rights, being gay in Hollywood, and how his unique experiences helped form his career as a political activist. What was the breaking point that emboldened George to come out of the closet? What did the marginalization of Japanese Americans teach him about the plight of all Americans? George Takei explains all this and more in this special interview.
Honouliuli Special Resource Study
"The internment story has garnered increasing national attention over the past 20 years with a focus on events that took place on the West Coast and other mainland sites. The sites of the Manzanar, Minidoka, and Tule Lake Internment Camps are now units of the National Park System. In contrast, the Hawaiian internment story has received relatively little attention."
The Japanese American Archival Collection of California State University, Sacramento
"The Japanese American Archival Collection originated from a gift of photographs, documents and artifacts from the teaching materials of Mary Tsuruko Tsukamoto. . . . This award winning collection is comprised of over 5,000 documents, photographs, artifacts and exhibits materials housed in the California State University, Sacramento Library, Department of Special Collections and University Archives. The Collection chronicles the story of Japanese Americans in Northern California from 1869 through post World War II [when], without evidence and due process of law, Japanese American citizens and their families were forcefully removed from their homes, deprived of their property and constitutional rights, and collectively placed in internment camps. The extent of the loyalty, courage and spirit of these men and women of Japanese ancestry is related through writings, camp newspapers, oral testimony, pictorial documentation and surviving works of art in the Collection."
Japanese American National Museum
"The mission of the Japanese American National Museum is to promote understanding and appreciation of America's ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience."
Japanese American National Museum: Japanese American Incarceration Facts
Handy quick reference.
Japanese American Relocation Digital Archives
University of California project. Sections on people, places, daily life, personal experiences. Lesson plans.
Japanese-American Internment
Chapter in the well-respected Digital History project. Many resources for teaching.
List of Detention Camps, Temporary Detention Centers, and Department of Justice Internment Camps from the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund Network
This site contains a list of the camps that were located in the Continental United States with statistics on opening and closing dates, peak population, origin of prisoners, and other specific details about each location. Unfortunately, CLPEF is no longer actively updating the site since their closure in 1998, but the information compiled is a useful starting point to understand how many people were in the camps from 1942 to 1946. This site does not discuss the camps located in the Hawaiian islands.
Manzanar National Historic Site - National Park Service
"In 1942, the United States government ordered more than 110,000 men, women, and children to leave their homes and detained them in remote, military-style camps. Manzanar War Relocation Center was one of ten camps where Japanese American citizens and resident Japanese aliens were interned during World War II."
A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans & the U.S. Constitution (from the Smithsonian)
"During the opening months of World War II, almost 120,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of them citizens of the United States, were forced out of their homes and into detention camps established by the U.S. government. Many would spend the next three years living under armed guard, behind barbed wire. This exhibit explores this period when racial prejudice and fear upset the delicate balance between the rights of the citizen and the power of the state. It tells the story of Japanese Americans who suffered a great injustice at the hands of the government, and who have struggled ever since to insure the rights of all citizens guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution."
Utah Education Network: Liberty
Places To Go, People To See, Things To Do, Teacher Resources, Bibliography.
The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco: Internment of San Francisco Japanese
San Francisco News articles.
World War II Internment in Hawai'i: An online resource for students and instructors
The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i maintains this site to aid students and teachers with primary sources for social studies projects specific to the Japanese American internment on the Hawai'ian islands. These camps were very different than those on the mainland: because the population of the islands were comprised of over 40% Japanese, the economy couldn't sustain a mass incarceration, and so only 1% of the local Japanese were detained. The islands were not yet part of the United States, but were a US military outpost: therefore, under martial law, these individuals could be detained without being accused or convicted of any crime. The site discusses this history, provides a timeline of global and local events related to the war, and houses a collection of diaries, photos, school papers, and other documents from the camps.