japanese relocation


February 19th 1942: Japanese internment begins

On this day in 1942, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed executive order 9066 which allowed the military to relocate Japanese-Americans to internment camps. A climate of paranoia descended on the US following the attack on the naval base at Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan, which prompted the US to join the Second World War. Americans of Japanese ancestry became targets for persecution, as there were fears that they would collude with Japan and pose a national security threat. This came to a head with FDR’s executive order, which led to 120,000 Japanese-Americans being rounded up and held in camps. The constitutionality of the controversial measure was upheld by the Supreme Court in Korematsu v. United States (1944). Interned Americans suffered great material and personal hardship, with most people losing their property and some losing their lives to illness or the violence of camp sentries. The victims of internment and their families eventually received an official government apology in 1988 and reparations began in the 1990s. This dark episode of American history is often forgotten in the narrative of US involvement in the Second World War, but Japanese internment poses a stark reminder of the dangers of paranoia and scapegoating.


In 1942, shortly after the U.S. entered World War II, President Roosevelt issued Executive order 9066, which declared areas of the country military zones. This led to the forced relocation of Japanese-Americans to internment camps. The U.S. War Relocation Authority hired photographer Dorothea Lange to document the relocation process in the Pacific Coast area.

Lange’s earlier work documenting displaced farm families and migrant workers during the Great Depression did not prepare her for the disturbing racial and civil rights issues raised by the Japanese internment. Lange quickly found herself at odds with her employer and her subjects’ persecutors, the United States government.

To capture the spirit of the camps, Lange created images that frequently juxtapose signs of human courage and dignity with physical evidence of the indignities of incarceration. Not surprisingly, many of Lange’s photographs were censored by the federal government, itself conflicted by the existence of the camps.

Over 100,000 Japanese American men, women, and children were relocated and detained at these camps. ( )… This internment is now recognized as a violation of their human and civil rights. In 1980, the US government officially apologized and reparations were paid to survivors.

The true impact of Lange’s work was not felt until 1972, when the Whitney Museum incorporated twenty-seven of her photographs into Executive Order 9066, an exhibit about the Japanese internment.

ASX Magazine

Men’s dormitory in Forum building, Building K, during Japanese Canadian internment and relocation, Vancouver BC, Canada 1942

Similar to the United States, Canada also removed and detained large parts of its Japanse minority during World War II. In response to the Japanese invasions of Singapore and Malaysia, Japanese-Canadians in British Columbia were imprisoned and the government shut down all Japanese-language newspapers and took possession of businesses and personal property. In order to fund internment, property belonging to Japanese Canadians was sold, including fishing boats, motor vehicles, houses, and personal belongings. 

In August 1944, Prime Minister Mackenzie King announced that Japanese Canadians were to move east out of B.C. The official policy stated that Japanese Canadians must move east of the Rocky Mountains or be repatriated to Japan following the end of the war. However, by 1947 many Japanese Canadians had been granted an exemption to this enforced no-entry zone, but it was not until April 1, 1949, that Japanese Canadians were granted freedom of movement and could re-enter the “protected zone” along B.C.’s coast.

On September 22, 1988, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney delivered an apology, and the Canadian government announced a compensation package.


August 10th 1988: Reparations for Japanese-Americans

On this day in 1988, U.S. President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 into law, apologising and providing reparations to Japanese-Americans who were interned in camps during the Second World War. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which prompted the United States to join World War Two on the Allied side, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order allowing the military to relocate Japanese-Americans to internment camps. The order withstood a Supreme Court challenge, and ultimately nearly 120,000 people were held in such camps. Those imprisoned suffered great material and personal losses, with most losing property and some losing their lives to illness or the violence of sentries. There were frequent calls for reparations for this crime against people of Japanese descent, and in 1988 the government officially apologised and provided for $20,000 in compensation for each survivor, with payments beginning in 1990. The 1988 Civil Liberties Act bill received primarily Democratic votes, with many Republican members of Congress voting against it.

“The Congress recognizes that…a grave injustice was done to both citizens and permanent residents of Japanese ancestry by the evacuation, relocation, and internment of civilians during World War II”

46 photos of life at a Japanese internment camp, taken by Ansel Adams
In 1943, legendary photographer Ansel Adams visited Manzanar, a Japanese internment camp in California's Sierra Nevada mountains.
By Brian Jones

Even at the time, this policy was opposed by many Americans, including renowned photographer Ansel Adams, who in the summer of 1943 made his first visit to Manzanar War Relocation Camp in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Invited by the warden, Adams sought to document the living conditions of the camp’s inhabitants.

His photos were published in a book titled “Born Free and Equal: The Story of Loyal Japanese-Americans” in 1944, with an accompanying exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.

slurps too loudly, then not enough

I feel like cultural identity is something I’ve struggled with my whole life, and is something I’m still struggling with today. and in my head, I compare it with eating ramen. When I’m in Japan or with my Japanese friends, I feel self-conscious about not slurping the noodles enough. Japanese people slurp noodles with such vigor and intensity that I feel like I need to force myself to make more noise to fit in. But when I’m eating noodles with my American friends, I catch myself making too much noise. and this perfectly captures my constant internal battle of being too Japanese, not Japanese enough, being too American, not American enough. 

While I am 100% Japanese ethnically, my mother is Japanese (from Japan) and my father is third generation Japanese American (sansei). My maternal grandparents are residing in Hayama, Kanagawa-prefecture, Japan. My paternal grandmother was raised in LA and was later relocated Japanese internment camps. I am technically fourth generation (yonsei), my parents and I like to joke about being 2.5 generation (2.5sei). Truthfully, there are not many people like me. There are many second-generation Japanese American people (Nisei) where both of their parents are from Japan, can speak English and Japanese fluently but still are very culturally Japanese. And there are also many people where both of their parents are 3rd,4th,5th generation Japanese American, can’t speak Japanese and are very culturally American.

I have always been in between.

Even from a very young age, in Japanese language school, I noticed that I was different from all the other kids. Japanese wouldn’t come as easily to me as the second-generation kids (Nisei). Speaking was tough, grammar was even harder, and I was always behind, no matter how hard I worked.

And I wondered, why? I don’t have an excuse. Both of my parents were Japanese! Why is Japanese so hard for me? And then I realized that unlike all the other families who had multiple family members who spoke Japanese at home, I only had my mother, who would often speak in English to be able to communicate to my father and sister. I realized that I needed to work doubly as hard as everyone to keep up. And as I grew older and was juggling high school, APs and golf, I had to face the fact that fluency just wasn’t possible for me.

On the other hand, I was too “FOB-y”, too Asian, too Japanese to fit in at regular school when I was younger. I would bring the Japanese bento lunches my mother would pack with care everyday. And usually on top of the rice, there would be a purple furikake or rice seasoning. Or my mom would pack boiled sausages that she would cut to look like little octopuses. I used to be proud of my lunch and Japanese food but after a while, I started to notice the stares I received from classmates. And how no one would sit next to me anymore. One boy yelled at me, “Why is your rice purple?! Are you an alien?” Another taunted, “EWW she’s eating octopus!” At first, I was shocked and hurt that my classmates would make fun of the food my mother took so much time to prepare, and I asked my mom to only pack bologna sandwiches for the next couple of years.

After a while, I learned that people were just afraid of what they weren’t familiar with and my mother told me to share my food instead with my classmates. And that all of a sudden made me the most popular kid in class.

While it got easier throughout middle and high school, I felt like I started to neglect my Japanese side in attempts to fit in. I became very vocal about my grandmother and her parents’ time in the Japanese American internment camps, even winning a Japanese speech contest with a ticket to Japan. But despite all that, I still felt unbalanced, either feeling too Japanese, not Japanese enough, too American, or not American enough.

When I got to college, I feel like I’m finally able to fit in somewhere. I joined the Japanese Student Association and became an officer, where I was finally extremely immersed into conversational Japanese and Japanese pop culture, which were aspects I thought I was missing to become “more Japanese”. And now, in order to get more in touch with my Japanese American side again, I’m getting more involved with the Nikkei Student Union.  

For the longest time, I felt like my “double identity” was a constant push and pull, like I was stretching myself too thin. But I feel like I’m starting to finally feel a balance and am on the way of loving myself. and being less critical of myself and thinking less of what others think of me. Instead, I have double the support, and twice the cultures to be proud of. I mean, who else can say that my favorite bands are 嵐, aiko, Sam Smith and Walk the Moon, and that I’m watching How to Get Away with Murder and 5時から9時まで and other J-dramas at the same time! I am starting to finally feel comfortable with myself, and I hope this feeling continues.


W.R.A. Leave Pass, Teiji Okuda, No. 15771

Those incarcerated at the War Relocation Centers (Japanese Internment Camps) were denied many of their civil and personal liberties. The freedom to travel outside of the camps was severely restricted. However, internees could leave the camps if they were able to join the work-release program. 

(Smithsonian Institution)


Jogyesa Temple  :  Seoul, South Korea

The Jogyesa Temple is the chief temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism and is considered to be one of the most important temples in South Korea.

This temple was originally established in 1910 and was called Gakhwangsa Temple. However, during the Japanese occupation, it was relocated and renamed to Taegosa Temple. This newly built temple was constructed partly of old pieces of the original temple and partly of new material. Then, after the Buddhist Purification Movement in 1954, the temple was given the name Jogyesa Temple, which has it has stayed as ever since.

72 years ago today, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 giving the War Department the authority to relocate civilians within the United States. He created the War Relocation Authority to oversee the relocation of Japanese Americans, many of whom were citizens, because the Army considered them a risk if Japan invaded the United States.

Milton Eisenhower, Director of the War Relocation Authority, justified the relocation of 120,000 Japanese Americans saying that “some” Japanese Americans were “potentially dangerous,” and that it was impossible to tell which, so all Japanese Americans, regardless of citizenship, birth, age, or any other factor, should be relocated.


Katanga’s forgotten children (Japanese miners committed infanticide in the Democratic Republic of Congo)

During the 1970s, an increased demand for copper and cobalt attracted Japanese investments in the mineral-rich southeastern region of Katanga Province. Over a 10-year period, more than 1,000 Japanese miners relocated to the region, confined to a strictly male-only camp. Arriving without family or spouses, the men often sought social interaction outside the confounds of their camps. In search of intimacy with the opposite sex, sometimes resulting in cohabitation, the men openly engaged in interracial dating and relationships, a practice mostly embraced by the local society. As a result, a number of Japanese miners fathered children with native Congolese women. However, most of the mixed race infants resulting from these unions died, soon after birth. Multiple testimonies of local people suggest that the infants were poisoned by a Japanese lead physician and nurse working at the local mining hospital. Subsequently, the circumstances would have brought the miners shame as most of them already had families back in their native Japan. The practice forced many native Katangan mothers to hide their children by not reporting to the hospital to give birth.
Today, fifty Afro-Japanese have formed an association of Katanga Infanticide survivors. The organization has hired legal counsel seeking a formal investigation into the killings. The group submitted official inquiry to both the Congolese and Japanese governments, to no avail. Issues specific to this group include having no documentation of their births, since not having been born in the local hospital spared their lives. The total number of survivors is unknown source Till this day justice has not been served and the Japanese government refuse to listen to the mothers and survivors practically branding them as liars. 

Now, I don’t care to discuss the alleged complaints American Indians have against this country. I believe, with good reason, the most unsympathetic Hollywood portrayal of Indians and what they did to the white man. They had no right to a country merely because they were born here and then acted like savages. The white man did not conquer this country. And you’re a racist if you object, because it means you believe that certain men are entitled to something because of their race. You believe that if someone is born in a magnificent country and doesn’t know what to do with it, he still has a property right to it. He does not. Since the Indians did not have the concept of property or property rights–they didn’t have a settled society, they had predominantly nomadic tribal “cultures” – they didn’t have rights to the land, and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights that they had not conceived of and were not using. It’s wrong to attack a country that respects (or even tries to respect) individual rights. If you do, you’re an aggressor and are morally wrong. But if a “country” does not protect rights – if a group of tribesmen are the slaves of their tribal chief – why should you respect the “rights” that they don’t have or respect? The same is true for a dictatorship. The citizens in it have individual rights, but the country has no rights and so anyone has the right to invade it, because rights are not recognized in that country; and no individual or country can have its cake and eat it too–that is, you can’t claim one should respect the “rights” of Indians, when they had no concept of rights and no respect for rights. But let’s suppose they were all beautifully innocent savages – which they certainly were not. What were they fighting for, in opposing the white man on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence; for their “right” to keep part of the earth untouched – to keep everybody out so they could live like animals or cavemen. Any European who brought with him an element of civilization had the right to take over this continent, and it’s great that some of them did. The racist Indians today – those who condemn America – do not respect individual rights.

Ayn Rand, when asked, “When you consider the cultural genocide of Native Americans, the enslavement of blacks, and the relocation of Japanese Americans during World War Two, how can you have such a positive view of America?” at West Point Academy in 1974.

because there is some clueless white tool in my ask box trying to defend Rand to me and I am tired and not even remotely in the mood to deal with your nonsense. ayn rand is a revolting racist, end of story, and that’s 1 of a billion things that is wrong with her.


February 19th 1942: Japanese internment

On this day in 1942 US President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed executive order 9066 which allowed the military to relocate Japanese-Americans to internment camps. Japanese-Americans were considered a national threat due the attack on Pearl Harbour which prompted the US to join World War Two. Other groups were also detained, but it was Japanese-Americans who were mostly targeted, with 120,000 being held in camps. In Korematsu v. United States (1944), the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the executive order. Those interned suffered great material and personal losses, with most losing a lot of property and some losing their lives to illness or the violence of sentries. The victims and their families eventually received an official government apology in 1988 and reparations began in the 1990s.