Japanese American Internment

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Executive Order 9066
The Executive Order signed by FDR in 1942, which led to the unjust incarceration of 120,000 citizens and non-citizens of Japanese descent

Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin D.Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, authorized what was to become the mass forced removal and incarceration of all Japanese Americans on the West Coast.The order authorized the secretary of war and any military commander designated by him “to prescribe military areas…from which any or all persons may be excluded.” The order does not mention Japanese Americans by name

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The Loyalty Questionnaire
The instrument used by the WRA in 1942 to separate "disloyal" internees

The “Loyalty Questionnaire,” 1943. Courtesy of the Ikeda Family Collection

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The Heart Mountain Resisters

The heroes of the 442nd Regimental Combat team are revered within the Japanese American community, and in the military annals, as the bravest and most decorated unit of the entire war. Less known to history were the 63 men of Heart Mountain Relocation Center who refused enlistment in the Army on grounds they should not have to fight for a country that had so unjustly imprisoned them and their families. Read about their story here.

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Heart Mountain
Located roughly eight miles away from its namesake, Heart Mountain concentration camp and its inmate population are perhaps best known for their role in fomenting and supporting draft resistance amongst the Nisei during World War II.

Located roughly eight miles away from its namesake, Heart Mountain concentration camp and its inmate population are perhaps best known for their role in fomenting and supporting draft resistance amongst the Nisei during World War II.At maximum capacity, 10,767 inmates from California, Oregon, and Washington were imprisoned at Heart Mountain, including a number who were transferred to Heart Mountain from Jerome concentration camp in Arkansas.[1] Today, Heart Mountain remains a poignant reminder of t

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442nd Regimental Combat Team
An overview about the all-nissei most decorated unit of the Army in WWII

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT) was organized on March 23, 1943, after more than a year during which Americans of Japanese descent were declared enemy aliens, 4-C, by the U.S.War Department.It had taken all that time plus several key events to convince the Roosevelt Administration that these men should be allowed to enter combat for their country.Eventually, the 442nd, bolstered by the combat-hardened 100th Infantry Battalion, comprised of Japanese American draftees from Hawai’i, became the most decorated unit i

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Conscience and the Constitution
The story of the Heart Mountain draft resisters

For more Information visit:  http://www.pbs.org/itvs/conscience/

“In World War II, a handful of young Americans refused to be drafted from an American concentration camp.

They were ready to fight for their country, but not before the government restored their rights as U.S. citizens and released their families from camp. It was a classic example of civil disobedience — but the government prosecuted them as criminals and Japanese American leaders and veterans ostracized them as traitors.

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Frank Emi

Should an American citizen have been forced to fight for freedom and democracy abroad when denied those rights in his own country? Frank Emi (1916–2010) was the one of the leaders of a resistance movement who dared question the legality of drafting Japanese American men, already incarcerated in remotely located concentration camps, into the U.S. Army during World War II. Convicted of conspiracy to violate the Selective Service Act, Emi served eighteen months in a federal penitentiary and the rest of his life defending his stance.

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JACL Apologizes to Draft Resisters

In July 2000, the national Japanese American Citizens League voted to apologize for its suppression of wartime resistance. Several JACL old-timers walked out in protest.” On Saturday, May 11, 2002, about 300 people filled the gym at the San Francisco Japanese American Community and Cultural Center for the Nisei Resisters of Conscience of World War II Recognition and Reconciliation Ceremony.

The event was remarkable for a number of reasons:

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Mike Masaoka & The JACL

The only non-fictional, historical character in Allegiance is Mike Masaoka, the charismatic and controversial past National Secretary of the Japanese American Citizens League. Read about why Masaoka continues to this day to be a figure who generates so much passionate discussion.

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The “Mike Masaoka” Controversy
The controversy surrounding Mike Masaoka's role in the events that make up the setting of Allegiance is grounded in recent additions to the historical record

The Heart Mountain resister trialNo figure in Japanese American history stirs as much debate—indeed, as much heated controversy, even to this day—as Mike “Moses” Masaoka, the National Secretary of the Japanese American Citizens League during World War II.Masaoka was only 26 years old when he assumed de facto leadership of the JACL, filling a void left after the U.S.government rounded up thousands of first generation “Issei” leaders and detained them, often for years without charge or trial, following the bombing

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Mike Masaoka’s rebuttal to critics
In 1982, at the JACL national convention, Mike Masaoka firmly rebutted his detractors criticisms, defended his decisions, his actions and those of the JACL against those who accused him of being a collaborator and an informant to the FBI.

27th Biennial JACL National Convention
Airport Hyatt Hotel, Los Angeles
August 10, 1982

I must say that I’m glad to be here. I’m glad to be here for a number of reasons and since this is the first time that I have been able to address the group formally, I want to take this opportunity to thank all you for your kindness during my recent illness.

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JACL Official Statement on Allegiance
The JACL is the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization in the USA. JACL commends the producers and writers of Allegiance for promoting an increased awareness and interest in the Japanese American Experience during WWII

The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) is the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization in the United States.  JACL commends the producers and writers of Allegiance, a new American musical that premiered on September 19, for promoting an increased awareness and interest in the Japanese American experience during World War II.

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The 1942 WRA Memo
A confidential memo penned by Mike Masaoka, to the War Relocation Authority

Masaoka and the JACL advocated an “assimilationist” policy within the ten internment camps that stressed American values and traditions while attempting to reduce or eliminate Japanese cultural influences.

Masaoka believed strongly that it was the Americanization of internees that ultimately would lead to their acceptance within U.S. society. These recommendations were summarized in this memo to the War Relocation Authority in April of 1942, a few months before most internees arrived at camp. Nearly all of his policies were implemented by the WRA within the camps.

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The 1943 WRA Memo
A confidential memo penned by Mike Masaoka, to the War Relocation Authority

Until recently, it was unclear how closely Mike Masaoka (National Secretary of the JACL during the War) had worked and collaborated with the War Relocation Authority. In particular, many long had suspected that Masaoka was behind the idea of “segregating” internees considered “disloyal” to America into a special camp of their own.

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