Internment of japanese americans

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					               Nicholas Scianmarello - USA
                 Jorge Padròn – Canada
                      Mr. Blackmon
            IB Contemporary History – Period 2
                    4 December 2006

    Internment of
   and Japanese-
   Historical Background - United States

• Racism and bias always existed in the United States
  population toward those of Japanese ancestry.
• There were an estimated 127,000 Japanese in the United
  States prior to the war, of which most lived in the West
  Coast States (Morgan).
• Fears of the Japanese existed as early as 1907, when
  Richmond Pearson Hobson wrote ―JAPAN MAY SEIZE
  THE PACIFIC COAST‖ (Okihiro Press).
• Hane explains that it was a mix of ―traditional anti-
  immigrant racist sentiment and the anger at Japanese
• Indeed, the United States closed its doors to Japanese
  immigration in the Immigration Act of 1924 (Hane).
  Historical Background - United States
• Other precedents existed to interment, such as the 1922
  United States Supreme Court decisions to uphold the
  decisions that ―members of the Mongolian race or the
  Malay race‖ cannot be naturalized (La Viollette).
• In addition, industrialists, who at first welcomed the
  cheap labor began looking at their Japanese work force
  with animosity, when they began to demand equal pay,
  in what Morgan called the second stage of
• Morgan adds that at this stage immigrant groups are
  isolated in ghettos with all the negative connotations of
  that life style.
• In this environment, it is not surprising that after the
  attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, white
  Americans and the government were in favor or inclined
  toward interment of the Japanese.
        Historical Background - Canada
• The Japanese had suffered the sting of racism ever since
  the first Japanese, a sailor named Manzo Nagano, stepped
  ashore in 1877 at New Westminster.
• The early British Columbia settlers were highly conscious of
  their British origins and, deeply concerned over the racial
  origins of the new immigrants, became obsessed with
  excluding ―undesirables.‖
• Laws were passed to keep the Japanese from working in the
  mines, to prevent them from voting and to prohibit them from
  working on any project funded by the province.
• Then came the stunning news of the Japanese attack on
  Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
• On December 25 the Japanese forced the surrender of the
  British garrison at Hong Kong, including two battalions of
• With these shocking events, the fears of a Japanese
  invasion, fanned by sensationalist press, spread along the
  Pacific Coast.
  Historical Background – Canada (cont)

• The RCMP arrested suspected Japanese operatives,
  impounded 1200 fishing boats and shut down Japanese
  newspapers and schools.
• By the eve of Pearl Harbor, nearly 23,000 people of
  Japanese descent made their home in Canada,
  principally in British Columbia.
• Three-quarters of that number were naturalized or
  native-born citizens.
• The Nikkei, or Canadians of Japanese descent, were
  foresters and fishermen, miners and merchants.
• Except for the industrialists who profited from cheap
  Asian labor, much of white British Columbia regarded the
  Nikkei with suspicion, if not rabid hostility.
         Decision to Intern: 1941-1942
                United States
National Security Argument:
• There was an espionage network at Honolulu with 200
  members and more extensive networks for the Japanese
  Army Intelligence and Japanese Navy (Roucek).
• In addition, reports were produced that Japanese
  saboteurs were residing in important business and
  military sectors, and places of strategic importance, such
  as oil wells and fields (Roucek).
• The February 19, 1942 Executive Order 9066 (Starn)
  decision to authorize the U.S. Army to relocate Japanese
  from such strategic areas can be supported in the name
  of National Security.
• With this, the Army relocated a large portion, 125,000,
  Japanese to internment camps under the control of a
  War Relocation Board (Roucek).
        Decision to Intern: 1941-1942
            United States (cont)
Political Reasons:
• Professor Floyd A. Cave of San Francisco State college
  admits that that the relocation policy was affected by
  ―economic and patriotic pressure groups, self-seeking
  politicians, scare mongers of the radio and press, and
  war hysteria on the part of the people‖ (Roucek).
• Under such conditions, action against the Japanese
  would have been seen in favorable eyes by the majority
  of the U.S. It is understandable then, that President
  Roosevelt would have been inclined to act against
         Decision to Intern: 1941-1942
             United States (cont)
Why Did the Courts Uphold Internment?
• The Japanese internment was challenged in the
  Toyosaburo Korematsu versus the United States in
• United States Supreme Court decided to uphold the
  policy of interment because it was seen it was for the
  public good and so acceptable.
• The court decision was that ―not… all such restrictions
  are unconstitutional...Pressing public necessity may
  sometimes justify the existence of such restrictions;
  racial antagonism never can‖ and the internment was
  viewed by the court as the ―pressing public necessity
  and not as racism (Toyosaburo Korematsu versus the
  United States).
• This is just one of several such ruling during the war.
        Decision to Intern: 1941-1942
• ―From the army point of view, I cannot see that Japanese
  Canadians constitute the slightest menace to national
  security‖ declared Major General Ken Stuart.
• British Columbia politicians were in a constant rage,
  speaking of the Japanese, as Canadian diplomat Escott
  Reid said, ―in the way that the Nazis would have spoken
  about Jewish Germans. When they spoke I felt in that
  room the physical presence of evil.‖
• On January 14, 1942 the Prime Minister‘s Cabinet
  appeased to the demands of a British Columbia
  delegation—originally formed on the issue of
  internment—in their entirety.
           Decision to Intern: 1941-1942
                  Canada (cont)
• "For reasons of national security," Japanese Canadians,
  although citizens, were to be prohibited from fishing for the
  duration of the war. Their vessels were to be sold to non-
  Japanese. Shortwave radios were denied to all Japanese
  aliens, and sales of gasoline and dynamite to any Japanese
  Canadian were to be strictly controlled. Most importantly, all
  male enemy aliens of military age were to be removed from
  the coastal defense zone before April 1, 1942 under an
  Order-in-Council that gave the Minister of Justice complete
  power over enemy aliens in Canada and the right to detain
  any resident of Canada without trial on the grounds of
  national security. Although broad and unprecedented, the
  new powers were not intended to be used against German
  and Italian aliens. As in the United States, their sole purpose
  was to effect the removal from the Pacific Coast of all male
  Japanese aliens of military age and "between 800 and
  1,000 Canadian citizens" of Japanese
               Life in the Camps 1942-1945
                        United States
The Camps and their Impact on Families
• The best known Japanese Internment camps were Amache,
  CO, Gila River, AR, Heart Mountain, WY, Jerome, AR,
  Manzanar, CA, Minidoka, ID, Poston, AZ, Rohwer, AR,
  Topaz, UT, Tula Lake, CA (
• These camps were on average a square mile in area and
  had military guards and barb wire fences to keep the
  evacuees in (Meller).
• Those who were forced to evacuate were given as little as
  48 hours to do so. The camps were composed of barrack-
  like houses 20‘x25‘ which housed several families and with
  communal areas for all the basic necessities (Yasushiro).
• In addition, all interned Japanese of age 17 were asked a
  series of questions, in a loyalty test, which if answered ‗no‘ to
  numbers 27 and 28 mean that they would be sent to the Tula
  Lake relocation facility.
           Life in the Camps 1942-1945
                United States (cont)
• However, the camps usually did not disperse families, but
  kept them together, usually living in the same barracks
  (, except if an individual was deemed a
  greater threat and so sent to the Tula Lake facility.
• Because of their location the camps were hot during both
  day and night, and no furnishing was given to protect against
  this (Hane).
• The temperature in the camps reached as high as 128 ºF
  according to Yasushiro.
• The interned dug whole into the cellars to find protection
  from the heat, as Hane explained.
           Life in the Camps 1942-1945
                United States (cont)

• In addition the medical stations were ill supplied with doctors
  doing what they could with minimum supplies to help those
  who fell sick (Hane).
• Roucek mentioned that strict rationing of food stuffs was
  common in the interment camps.
• In addition many Japanese American citizens lost their
  citizenship and where unable to regain it at the end of the
  war, because of Public Law 405, which FDR signed during
  the war (Kashima).
               Life in the Camps 1942-1945
                    United States (cont)
Was There Resistance in the Camps
• Agitation sometimes occurred in the camps and agitators or
  those who presented resistance where sent to the Tula Lake
  relocation facility ( WW2/japan_internment_camps.htm).
• In December 7, 1942, martial law was imposed at the
  Manzanar Japanese relocation center, because violence in
  the camp lead to the death of a Japanese internee and nine
  others were injured (Roucek).
• In the Jerome facility in Arkansas, Roucek notes that there
  was great unrest. In some camps there were shootings by
  the military when evacuees allegedly attempted to escape
• As with all groups who are incarcerate, isolated, or interned
  tensions in the Interments camps were high.
           Life in the Camps 1942-1945
• While this forced resettlement mirrored the wartime policy of
  the American government, in Canada there were some
  important differences.
• Unlike the United States, where families were generally kept
  together, Canada initially sent its male evacuees to road
  camps in the B.C. interior, to sugar beet projects on the
  Prairies, or to internment in a POW camp in Ontario, while
  women and children were moved to six inland B.C. towns
  created or revived to house the relocated populace.
• By March 9, 1942, all adult male Japanese aliens had been
  ordered to report to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  (RCMP) to learn the date of their removal to road camps.
• By March 16th the first of a steady stream of shocked and
  angry Japanese families from the fishing villages and pulp
  towns along the Pacific coast stumbled into the Livestock
  Building at Hastings Park in Vancouver.
         Life in the Camps 1942-1945
                 Canada (cont)
• Expropriated in the first week of March, it had been
  converted from animal to human shelter in only seven
• The facilities were crude.
• In the former Women's Building and the livestock barns,
  rows of bunks had been erected, each equipped with a
  straw mattress, three army blankets and a small bolster.
• Each bunk was separated from its neighbor by only three
  feet of concrete floor, which still reeked of the animals
  that had recently been kept there.
• Toilets were open troughs and forty-eight showers had
  been hastily installed: ten in the building housing men
  and boys over thirteen years of age, the rest in the
  Livestock Building for the women and children held
           Life in the Camps 1942-1945
                   Canada (cont)
• Eating facilities were equally crude – an army field kitchen
  hastily erected in the former poultry section of the Livestock
• Designed to produce mass meals for able-bodied men, that
  kitchen could not provide the dietary needs of babies and the
  aged, especially the aged of a different culture.
• Living conditions were so poor everywhere that the citizens of
  wartime Japan even sent supplemental food shipments
  through the Red Cross.
• During the period of detention, the Canadian government
  spent one-third the per capita amount expended by the U.S.
  on Japanese American evacuees. (
          Life in the Camps 1942-1945
                  Canada (cont)

• The camps were in a spectacular setting but the conditions
  for the evacuees were primitive.
• They were not ―concentration camps‖ or even surrounded
  with barbed wire as were the camps in the US, but
  conditions were primitive and crowded at first, with no
  electricity or running water.
• The Japanese did not resist the internment.
• Their culture emphasized duty and obligations as part of
  gaman (forbearance). (
              Release to Freedom
                 United States
• Japanese began exiting the camps as early as 1943, but
  these were those who could find employment outside the
  camps (Hane).
• Roucek notes that in 1943 this occurred at a rate of 75
  people per day that left the War Relocation Authority‘s
  centers with FBI clearance.
• However, the release of the majority of the Japanese
  occurred in 1945, after the exclusion order was lifted
• Some returned to their old areas of habitation, while
  others stayed in the areas surrounding the camps
• The land owned by the Japanese internee‘s was mostly
  sold off and was unattainable by them after the war,
  because of the increase in price (Smith).
                Release to Freedom
                United States (cont)
• Furthermore, there was a serious housing deficit for the
  returning internees, which forced many families to live in
  cramped conditions or share living quarters (Smith).
• Furthermore, some areas were left restricted to Japanese
  by the landowners themselves, though such legal actions
  where revoked by the Supreme Court after the war (Smith).
• Each different group had different ideas on what to do after
  the war. In Poston the pole showed that 63% of Nisei,
  those born in the United States, were planning to leave
  Poston to only 18% of Issei, those who immigrated to the
  United States (Yasushiro).
              Release to Freedom
              United States (cont)

• In addition this represented two different kinds of
  employment, as Issei were predominantly agricultural
  workers and Nisei professionals.
• This strained reemployment programs.
• Another factor of resettlement was keeping the family,
  which is an important part of Japanese culture, intact
• For most resettlement after being released meant starting
  over, as land had to be acquired again and business had
  to be built, since they had lost all land because of the
  internment (Yasushiro).
               Release to Freedom

• Not until 1949, four years after Japan had surrendered,
  were the majority of Nikkei allowed to return to British
• By then most had chosen to begin life anew elsewhere in
  Canada; their property had long before been confiscated
  and sold at a fraction of its worth. (
       Search for Redress 1946-1990s
               United States

Japanese American Claims Act 1948
• The first movement toward redress in the United States
  was the Evacuation Claims Act of 1948.
• Japanese internees had to present their loses due to the
  relocation in eighteen months time.
• They were compensated only 10% of their lost property
  (The Slow Return).
• In total only $38 million of the estimated $400 million in
  losses where compensated by this act (Taniguchi).
       Search for Redress 1946-1990s
            United States (cont)

Japanese American Citizen’s League
• The Japanese American Citizen‘s League is an
  organization that seeks to maintain the civil rights of
  Japanese American‘s and search for redress for their
  losses (A More Perfect Union).
• It was founded in 1924.
• It has always sought for and maintained the equality of
  Japanese Americans (JACL).
       Search for Redress 1946-1990s
            United States (cont)
  Commission on the Wartime Relocation and
  Internment of Civilians (1980) and the Redress
  Commission: Personal Justice Denied 1983
• The Commission on the Wartime Relocation and
  Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) was created by
  Congress in 1980 to review the decisions and actions
  dealing with the internment of Japanese Americans, the
  treatment of and policies toward internees and possible
  remedies (Personal Justice Denied).
       Search for Redress 1946-1990s
            United States (cont)
• The CWRIC heard the testimony of over 750 witnesses,
  which included internees, government officials of WWII
  among others (Digital History).
• The report which came out in 1983 concluded that the
  Executive Order 9066 was based on ―war hysteria,‖ and
  prejudice (The Slow Return).
• The results of the report were seen as a vital step toward
  recognition of the injustices done toward Japanese
  Americans during the internment.
       Search for Redress 1946-1990s
            United States (cont)

Civil Liberties Act of 1988
• This later lead to President Reagan signing the Civil
  Liberties Act, which sought to provide the compensation
  of $20,000 for the surviving internees (The Slow Return).
• This was $1.65 billion given to 82,000 internees (Malkin).
• Furthermore, the Act was an official recognition by the
  government of having acted unjustly, and also offered an
  apology for those actions (Children of the Camps).
• The act also provided for ―a public education fund to
  inform the public about internment‖ (Children of the
           Search for Redress 1946-1990s
o National Association of Japanese Canadians
o A Call for Justice 1982
o Redress Settlement 1988

•   The Japanese Canadian Committee for Democracy (JCCD),
    which later became the National Association of Japanese
    Canadians, objected to the terms of the Bird Commission.
•   Compensation was limited to property losses only.
•   This was too restrictive and did not deal with issues of civil
    rights, sale of property without consent, and damages incurred
    from loss earnings, disruption to education, and psychological
•   In 1950, the Justice Henry Bird recommended $1.2 million
    compensation to individuals - from which their legal fees had to
    be deducted.
          Search for Redress 1946-1990s
                  Canada (cont)
• This represented $52 a person. Many felt compelled to
  accept the offer; others did not even file claims.
• The outcome of this commission quelled any further protest
  for the next 20 years. (

"Canadians of every background are supporting the National
Association of Japanese Canadians' demand for redress as
a necessary journey into the interior of our national conscience
Acknowledgment of an imperfect past is a prerequisite for a
future in which people live together in mutual respect, and
self-righteous racism does not take us by surprise again.‖
• Bruce McLeod, former Moderator of the United Church of
   Canada, 1988.
        Search for Redress 1946-1990s
                Canada (cont)
• The 1980's marked a period of rejuvenation for the fight for
• The Japanese Canadian community initiated a process that
  would see them deal with internal community struggles of
  leadership, the mobilization of the community around a
  compensation package, and getting the government to the
• Towards the end, they would gain the support of many
  Canadians from all walks of life, from across Canada.
• The campaign for redress was bolstered by a number of
• In 1980, the US Congress conducted hearings into the
  internment of Japanese Americans.
• One year before the Canadian agreement, the U.S. offered
  an apology and individual compensation package to the
       Search for Redress 1946-1990s
               Canada (cont)

• Both events drew media attention to the cause and
  highlighted the case for Japanese Canadians.
• The all-party Committee report Equality Now!, released
  in 1984, raised the public consciousness to the issue of
• This initiated a government response.
• The NAJC spent countless hours negotiating with the
• The discussions spanned five years with two different
  government parties in power and five successive
  Ministers of State for Multiculturalism. (
       Search for Redress 1946-1990s
               Canada (cont)
• On September 22, 1988 The Japanese Canadian
  Redress Agreement was signed.
• In the House of Commons, Prime Minister Brian
  Mulroney acknowledged the government's wrongful
  actions; pledged to ensure that the events would never
  recur and recognized the loyalty of the Japanese
  Canadians to Canada.
• As a symbolic redress for those injustices the
  government offered individual and community
  compensation to the Japanese Canadians.
• To the Canadian people, and on behalf of Japanese
  Canadians, the government committed to create a
  national organization that would foster racial harmony
  and help to eliminate racism.
• The Canadian Race Relation Foundation opened its
  doors in 1997. (
            Could It Happen Again?
                United States
• The United States Government has in the past
  suspended Habeas Corpus, during times of war: Civil
  War and World War II for the Japanese.
• With this precedent it can be repeated if ever deemed
  necessary. No safe guards exist to prevent it from
  happening again.
• Furthermore, the fear created by the terrorist attacks of
  September 11, 2991, make such as event more likely,
  though toward Arab Americans rather than Japanese
• Similar bias and violence toward Arab Americans as
  toward Japanese Americans in WWII has already been
  displayed by the American population (Can it Happen
• However, it must be noted that interment on the scale of
  WWII is very unlikely.
            Could It Happen Again?
             United States (cont)

• Still, interment of individuals without evidence for
  extended periods of time is currently legal as a measure
  on the war on terror.
• Furthermore, the Patriot Act expands these powers for
  the Executive branch.
• It must be noted that though the Civil Liberties Act
  condemned ethnicity based internment, it did not forbid
• Recently, arguments for racial profiling for security in
  sensitive or crucial areas, such as airports, have arisen
  in prominence.
             Could It Happen Again?
• In 1942, the Canadian government enacted the War
  Measures Act. Orders in Council decreed by Cabinet gave
  sweeping powers to the RCMP and military to search, arrest
  and curfew.
• Civil Liberties were cast aside for national security.
• To prevent history from repeating itself, the National
  Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) lobbied for
  amendments to the War Measures Act and in 1987, the
  government replaced it with the Emergencies Act.
• The new Act outlined criteria for what is considered a
  national emergency; provided Parliamentary oversight of
  Cabinet Orders in Council; and prohibited the detention of
  individuals on the basis of race and other grounds, e.g.
  religion, etc.
             Could It Happen Again?
                 Canada (cont)
• It attempted to balance the protection of civil liberties
  with the right to respond to emergencies. (
• Nevertheless, even though the Emergencies Act
  contains provisions to apply the Charter of Rights and
  Freedoms during the exercise of emergency powers "in
  the same way as it does other government action."
• This alone is not an unequivocal guarantee of Charter
  rights. Critics' fear that in upholding the Emergencies Act
  the federal government can use certain provisions of the
  Constitution ("Peace, Order and Good Government")
  and the Charter (§33) to override fundamental Charter
            Could It Happen Again?
                Canada (cont)

• The greatest fear lies in the fact that the Charter needs
  to be amended to ensure that human rights cannot be
  eroded, even in times of emergency. It was racism and
  wartime hysteria, which allowed the government to intern
  Japanese Canadian citizens. (
• The War Measures Act was simply the mechanism used
  to carry out the government's orders. Thus, the
  Emergency Act alone may not be enough to secure the
  rights of vulnerable groups. (
                         Image Websites


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