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July 27, 2013

Essay on Japanese Internment

Japanese internment

Japanese American internment history began with the wild fire of war which emerged from Europe. This battle was initiated from the war between Germany and United Kingdom, France and Poland. This war was out break in other areas of Europe like Italy, Greece, Africa and the Soviet Union. The Japanese poke the American nation for war by bombarding at American planes and ships. The war started from Pearl Harbor where the military base of America is located in Hawaii. The America was totally unaware of the attack. The Japanese killed more than 2000 people of America. The day when the America was attacked by the forces of empire of Japan will be remembered as the notoriety in the history [Rachael Hanel (2008). The Japanese American Internment: An Interactive History Adventure. Capstone press].


During 1880’s the immigration of Japanese started in the United States and there population was calculated around 148 that were living in the country. Before the start of World War II it was noticed that their population was significantly increased up to 285,115. Most of the Japanese has occupied the areas of California, Oregon, Washington and the territory of Hawaii for residence. They were not tightly restricted for immigration under the agreement of “gentleman’s agreement”, the picture brides were allowed to migrate to America. The increment in the military power of the Japanese was noticed by the American government. Most of the bulk of Japanese was migrated to American during the period between 1880’s to 1920’s [Yuji Ichioka, Gordon H. Chang, Eiichiro Azuma (2006). Before internment: essays in prewar Japanese American history. Stanford university press].

     The America gave Japanese different generational groups name like issie, nisie, sansie. These are the Japanese translations of first generation, second generation, and third generation. Each of these generations has distinct characteristics based on the experiences of World War II, relocation and internment. The issie are the pioneer generation of Japanese in America. Although they were aware of the difficulties that were faced by Chinese, they hardly tackle with the difficulties of language and cultural distinctions. They rapidly recovered from the immense situation. They adopted the life style of America and transfer expertise they obtained from their experiences to their next generation. They promote their children to get education from American schools. They formed communities that have distinction between Japanese and Chinese groups. The next generation has the problem of dual nationality because America was following jus Solis where as Japan was following the jus sanguinis practices. In 1924 the Japan enforced a change in the law and thus the American Japanese had to retain their citizenship as Japanese. Nisie was served as translators of English to Japanese and vice versa. This generation was tied with the Japanese culture by the opening of different institution that gives education of Japanese culture to these nisie children. They faced discrimination in job and formed a Japanese American citizen’s league. The third generation Japanese American was very few. Most of them did not face the period of internment and relocation. Majority of sansie was born at the ending of World War II [Caroline Chung Simpson (2001). An absent presence: Japanese Americans in postwar American culture, 1945-1960. Duke University press].

      The immigration of Japanese to Hawaii Island is a significant part of Japanese American history. The Japanese      Thousands of American citizens from all over the world were forcefully evacuated by the American government and curfew orders were implemented. It was ordered to remove Japanese Americans from the country. The order was influenced by the disasters attack at Pearl Harbor by the empire of Japanese. The military necessity was supposed to be the main reason for the intervention of Japanese American. In fact there was a list of reasons given for the support of this action, The Japanese homes were found equipped with weapons by FBI after the Pearl Harbor attack, the presences of Japanese were found near the sensitive areas, the presence of organizations that supports Japanese culture and etc [Lawson Fusao Inada (2002), California Historical Society. Only what we could carry: the Japanese American internment experience. Heyday books]


      Curtis B Munson person was appointed by the state for the investigation of Pearl Harbor attack. He was by profession a business man. He was given the task for investigating that whether the presence of Japanese is threatening United States government. He made investigation and write a report that is not of professional level which as he was not a professional investigator. He reported that there were no significant threats by the presence of Japanese in the areas of America; they are not armed with weapons. He wrote that majority of Japanese American citizens are honest with America. He found no threats to national security. After Pearl Harbor attack the government strategy was to detain any suspected non American citizen. The FBI started arresting suspects and made three categories on the basis of which they were acting. “A” category is for the people of cultural organization. “B” category is for the people who are less suspected and “C” is for those who are associated or have ever been associated with enemy organizations or groups. The issie generation who was the people of first generation of Japanese American is now leaders of different groups. They were arrested by American government. Their assets and banks were seized by the government during the war with Japan. This situation badly affected those who are associated with the Japanese businesses. Those who were left by FBI were also considered to be a threat for the country; they are enemy aliens for United States. It affected all the generations of Japanese Americans. Even those Japanese Americans who have the citizenship of America were also in troubling situation because they have a Japanese back ground.

     The next step of the United States government was to evacuate the Japanese American or enemy aliens from the country despite of no threats from them to the military of America. It was due to the pressure from the people of America who want complete assurance of peace. A draft was submitted by the war department to the president that the any person will evacuated from the west coast that is considered to be necessarily removed from the country. On the basis of this draft the military now has power to vacate Japanese from the west coast. However the role of the president of America in the internment is not sure because he was pressurized and influenced by many political parties. He had always been liberal about racial groups and minorities which is completely contradicting his behavior in the internment and relocation of Japanese American [Wendy L. Ng(2002). Japanese American internment during World War II: a history and reference guide. Greenwood press]

The battle against internment:

The reports and investigations had proved that the Japanese Americans were loyal with the American government. They had been living peacefully in the United States. But the attack on Pearl Harbor raised the question of their loyalty and internment. The camps of issie and nisie were not accepted open heartedly by the American public and government and no one talk about the Japanese internment in publically. It was only the American civil liberties union who spoke in favor of Japanese. This group worked for the people and communities whose rights are denied in the country. They argued on the power given to the military for the evacuation of suspects from the country. They said it could be the violation of civil rights and if the Japanese are arrested than they should be given an equal right of hearings so that would be able to prove their innocence. But their suggestions remained fruitless. The ACLU continued their struggle to provide justice to the Japanese American by challenging the military’s campaign of arresting innocent citizens. It started involving itself in the relocation cases. A curfew situation was implemented in the areas of Oregon, Washington, Arizona and California, during the curfew many Japanese Americans were arrested for ignoring the curfew and order including those who came to find out the legal rights of the orders. Later on these Japanese Americans were sending to jail. One of the authors wrote that the implementation of curfew by military and the orders for the curfew by the government are because they are still reluctant about the loyalty of nisie group and they did not want to leave a single doubt about the nation’s security.  However the cases of evacuation from the military areas continued in the Supreme Court and the court giving its justification by saying that this internment and relocation is not on the basis of racial discriminations but to remove security threats and enemy aliens.[ Tetsuden Kashima (2003). Judgment without trial: Japanese American imprisonment during World War II. First paperback edition]. But the question arisen that did the government had legal justification for relocation of Japanese to internment camp. Now the time came when the some justices did not support reason for the internment of Japanese. The release of Japanese Americans was then ordered because according to these justices they are loyal to United States which was proven by them. This was the step that taken the internment camp to an end. [Michael Burgan. The Japanese American Internment: Civil Liberties Denied]

Closing of the camps:

After the change in justices’ decisions the government decided to stop the curfew and evacuation camps. In 1944 the war between Allis and Germans faded the American military’s and government’s concern towards the Japanese Americans. The second generations of German Americans were back to their normal life as an American citizen, proving that they were sincere to the American government. The internment camp was left by many innocent nisie which decrease the population of Japanese American in the internment camp from 107,000 to 80,000. The advisor of the president than took the control of war relocation authority in 1944. He was the person who had said before that he was not in favor of internment camp and evacuation of loyal citizens so his first step as the controller of war relocation authority was the order to stop evacuation of Japanese Americans from military areas of America. The work on closing internment camps also started and several camps from different areas was come to a close. However there were some politicians who were still resisting the act of shutting down camps. The Supreme Court had also released the relaxation orders for the nisie who has proven their loyalty to the country. This order was also supported by the government who had already decided to the relocations and internment of nisie by December of the same year. The Japanese Americans battle against internment ended with the release of nisie generation. The plans for resettlement of this group were later on implemented. [Michael Burgan. The Japanese American Internment: Civil Liberties Denied]


After the disastrous attack at the military office of America in Pearl Harbor by the Japan government, the Japanese American experienced a tough time in the United States, even those who were loyal to the American government. The study found that the evacuation of the nisie from the west coast or military areas was an unnecessary step by the American government. The internment of Japanese American who was not guilty was considered to be a political and democratic failure in providing civil rights to the innocent citizens. The government continued to suspect the Japanese Americans even though they have proved their loyalty towards the American government. A person cannot be necessarily alleged to be an enemy alien only for the reason that he is an immigrant or non American born citizen. The campaign for internment and curfew was supposed to be against of ethnic minority as it was mainly affecting them. The fight against internment of Japanese Americans was a battle against their survival in the United States. [David J. O'Brien, Stephen Fugita (1991). The Japanese American experience.]

Caroline Chung Simpson (2001). An absent presence: Japanese Americans in postwar American culture, 1945-1960. Duke university press.
David J. O'Brien, Stephen Fugita (1991). The Japanese American experience.
Lawson Fusao Inada (2002), California Historical Society. Only what we could carry: the Japanese American internment experience. Heyday books.
Michael Burgan. The Japanese American Internment: Civil Liberties Denied.
Rachael Hanel (2008). The Japanese American Internment: An Interactive History Adventure. Capstone press.    
Tetsuden Kashima (2003). Judgment without trial: Japanese American imprisonment during World War II. First paperback edition.
Wendy L. Ng(2002). Japanese American internment during World War II: a history and reference guide. Greenwood press.

Yuji Ichioka, Gordon H. Chang, Eiichiro Azuma (2006). Before internment: essays in prewar Japanese American history. Stanford university press.


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