During the 1880s, Asian
immigrants, mostly Chinese, were imported
to the United States. By 1908, 135,000 Japanese had arrived. With the Oriental
Exclusion Proclamation (1907) the U.S. government limited Japanese immigration.
By 1924 further immigration was banned and those who had entered the
country earlier were barred from becoming U.S. citizens. This ban was
not lifted by Congress until 1952!
On February 19, 1942 President Roosevelt
signed Executive Order 9066
that authorized US government to forcibly roundup 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry into 10 internment
At this time, the Canadian government interned 26,000 Japanese
Look at Ansel Adams's photos
of Daily Life, Portraits, Agricultural Scenes, and Sports and Leisure Activities
in the Manzanar internment camp.
a NPR (National Public Radio) story with photos about the food and eating
conditions in the camps.
Listen to an audio file of this same story.
Why and where were these camps
Where do Japanese-Americans live in the United
Asian-Americans live in the United States?
Japanese immigrants were concentrated in a few cities on the West Coast
and worked largely in
a only a couple of industries: fishing and
intensive irrigation agriculture. The
map below shows where and what they were producing in agriculture.
The presence of Japanese in San Francisco can still be seen in the
in Golden Gate Park, the gardener of which was interned during WWII.
1) For a personal account of being interned, read Reiko Oshima Komoto's essay.
[For permission to reproduce this essay, contact Professor Cary Komoto,
Geography, UW-Barron County,
Read Martha Bridegam's
Fear Itself: Tanforan and Public Memory. A mall stands on the former site of a racetrack where, in 1942, some 7,800 Bay Area people of Japanese descent were imprisoned by the U.S. government as potential saboteurs. They were held there, living in horse stables under primitive conditions, for four to five months. Then nearly all were taken by guarded trains to wait out the war behind barbed wire in the alkali desert of Topaz, Utah.
3) Watch the video, Come See the Paradise, about
a West-Coast Japanese-American family before and during World War II. They had 7
days to leave their homes and business and they could only take 70 pounds
each to the "camps" -- more like outdoor prisons! A powerful and
moving personal and political film, very relevant today with Congress
passing anti-democratic and anti-constitutional laws such as the 340-page
Patriot Act, establishing a Homeland Security Department, and
authorizing the President to preemptively invade Iraq.