history, numerous ethnic groups and races have been treated as an outcast,
enduring dreadful happenings. In the United States, African Americans, Native
Americans, immigrants, homosexuals, and the disabled are only some that are a
reoccurring minority group that have experienced inequality and social
segregation. During World War II, the United States had been determined to
isolate themselves from the world; a neutral country wanting to be unaffected
by the ongoing war. Although, the Pearl Harbor Attack carried out the Imperial
Japanese had prompted Roosevelt to take action, and get involved in the war. Over the course of four years, President Franklin
D. Roosevelt established Executive Order 9066 that enforced all people of
Japanese ancestry into remote internment camps to reassure the public of their efficiency,
causing the ongoing debate between the Japanese Americans the federal government
that ultimately, justified racism. Although the government had payed
reparations over four decades later and admitted their fallacy, this
unforgivable action is deemed unconstitutional as it does not compensate the
violations and racial discriminations that the Japanese had to undergo after.

            The Japanese that were relocated to
the camps were mainly American citizens, the second and third generations -Nisei
and Sansei- of the original immigrants that had immigrated to the United States
before. Due to Imperial Japan’s need for conquer and territory in the Eastern-Asia
hemisphere, they had initiated the Pearl Harbor Attack on December 7th,
1941. President Roosevelt, threatened by the Japanese, was increasingly
encouraged to affiliate in the World War, and end the ongoing conflict.[1] As a result of the
unexpected Pearl Harbor Attack, the Japanese[TH1] 
instantaneously became the enemy of the state, and various conspiracy rumors
spread throughout the U.S.,[2] stating that all of the
Japanese living among them were spies and traitors that would eventually ally
with Imperial Japan. As this theory gained numerous supporters and attention,
the Japanese Americans were constantly discriminated by the rest of society.
Additionally, as this took place during the 1940s, Anglo-Saxon superiority was
a common acceptance and racial segregation was at its peak, only increasingly worsening
the xenophobic behavio.[3] Roosevelt, also known for
his racial background, had also been convinced of the rumors that were sustained
by racism, and sent all of the Japanese Americans to “remote internment” camps,
in which where they were supposedly “evacuated” from the aggressive mob.[4] Roosevelt also had to react
to this situation in some way, as he had to duty to show to the public that the
government was efficient in responding to surprise attacks. Known as Executive
Order 9066, established on February 19th, 1942, the government at
the time had justified their arrangement by stating that the society would not
accept the Japanese’s presence, and they would likely react in violent ways.[5] Although, in fact, the government
was just desperate to satisfy the rest of the Americans with their reassurance that
the Japanese were taken care of. All immigrants and citizens of Japanese
ancestry living along the West Coast, primarily Oregon, Washington, California,
Nevada, and Arizona, were quickly forced out of their homes, offices, and lives,
for their own “safety”.[6] Furthermore, Executive Order
9102 was established alongside this Order, stating that the government allowed
the “including the use of Federal troops and other Federal Agencies, with
authority to accept assistance of state and local agencies”[7]. As this process had been
initialized too suddenly, all of the property and businesses were taken over
control by the government, and eventually sold without their consent in order
to fund the internment camps. The Japanese were held in the camps for 4 years,
receiving decent education, and surviving in formidable living conditions.[8] After Roosevelt released
the Japanese from the camps months after the war ended, they had received more
racism that is still ongoing now. Also, they had also suffered in poverty as
their properties and businesses were taken away by the government and sold
without their permission. Over four decades later and the imprisonment of the
several Japanese that opposed the situation, the government had admitted their
pronounced fault, and had payed reparations to most of the Japanese Americans
that were released, as established in the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.

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             Resistance was evidently present within the
internment camps, as the Japanese held riots that demanded their freedom, and
property back from the government. From an interview with a Japanese American
survivor, Mieko Shintani states from her experience at the Manzanar Camp, which
“kids (were) throwing things and hitting everybody because they think they are
right”[9]. The conflict between the
Japanese and the federal government had increasingly become an issue over the 4
years, as the conditions within the internment camps became also another factor
that the Japanese complained about, and showed the government their ruthlessness
Also, in Jeanne Wakasuki Houston’s autobiography, “Farwell to Manzanar” [10], her father, a supporter
of the Japanese American Citizens League, was arrested for refusing to leave
his home. The story of her father, whom had suffered imprisonment, further
shows the conflict between the[TH2] 
Japanese and the federal government. This book not only revealed to the world
of the reality of the conditions within the internment camps, but also showed
the brutality and consequences of resistance. Also in Houston’s autobiography,
“Farwell to Manzanar”, she specifies of the living conditions that were poor
and cramped, diseases were spreading rapidly, and food was either rotten or
The conditions in which the government had allowed to occur resembles their illegitimate
behavior, as they had forced the helpless Japanese to live in those camps under
Roosevelt’s fist. After her autobiography was published, and several photos[12] of the life within the
camps were released to the public, many had believed the Japanese should not
have to experience through these unhygienic environments and risking starvation
from lack of edible food. This further threatened the government, receiving this
resentment, and also became a factor to the start of the Redress Movement.

            Several Supreme Court cases had
declared of this relocation process constitutional, despite how it stripped the
rights of American citizens and justified racism. Although the resistance to
this relocation was small due to the Japanese’s conventional nature, there were
several Supreme Court cases for some that have spoken out for their own rights
that had been a landmark[TH3] 
for the United States. The most notable case was Korematsu v. United States, in
which Fred Korematsu, a native-born American, had been subjected to violating
an exclusion order, as he had refused to leave his home in the wake of the
relocation process.[13] Within the first three
months the exclusion order[14] was issued, Fred
Korematsu had been one of the few American citizens that have been held in
custody as a consequence of his repercussion. The case had concluded with the
Court siding with the government in a 6-3 advantage, as Solicitor General
Charles Fahy had been allegedly suspected of suppressing evidence from the
Naval Intelligence that the Japanese Americans were not a threat towards
national security, and the rumors of secret spies were untrue.[15] This had been a significant
turning point for the Supreme Court, as it had upheld racism and was in support
of restricting the liberal rights of an American citizen. Both American
citizens Minoru Yasui and Gordon Hirabayashi had been convicted for violating
curfew, and had lost to the Supreme Court and were both sent to jail. In the
Supreme Court cases Minoru Yasui v. United States and Hirabayashi v. United
States, not only had the government had violated the basic citizenship
rights  as stated in the Bill of Rights
but also demonstrated to the public that they were expressing xenophobic
behavior, and

            By establishing Executive Order 9066
and 9102, the federal government had violated the Bill of Rights, causing some
Japanese to retaliate, declaring it highly unconstitutional. In the 1st
amendment, it states of Congress making a law that abridges free speech, and
the President Roosevelt had taken away the freedom for the Japanese to have a
say in response to this Order[16]. The Japanese had no
voice; they were sent to the camps without their accord and all complaints and
objections were suppressed through the War relocation Authority. Many have been
to imprisonment as a consequence of speaking out and refusing to leave their
home for the relocation camps. Their attempts at exercising their traditional
religion and citizenship rights were suppressed also, violating the 1st
amendment. The 4th and 5th amendments were also ignored
by the government; the FBI had confiscated any material that were seemingly suspecting,
and many of the Japanese that were taken by the FBI were denied access of a
legal representative, and a proper trial, defiling the Bill of Rights. This
Executive Order also violates the 14th amendment, as Japanese
American citizens had been held against their will and their basic citizenship.
Most of the Japanese that were taken to the camps were Nisei and Sansei, the
second and third generation of the Japanese in the United States, all obtaining
American citizenship. The government had attempted to justify their
arrangement, establishing Executive Order 9102 shortly after the first, in
which states that they have the ability to create the War Relocation Authority,[17] furthering causing the
Japanese to form a resistance in order to retrieve their freedom and
citizenship rights.

            The relocation camps were existent
in other places such as Canada and Hawaii, and they both had also agreed the
Japanese were a threat and needed to be controlled. In the internment camps
located in Canada, living conditions were still inadequate, but better than the
camps in America. Pat Adachi, a Japanese Canadian, states in her interview
regarding her experience at the Canadian internment camps, that although the
living conditions were poor, after viewing images and hearing about the oppressive
happenings that had been occurring in the American camps, she had[TH5] 
been “mortified” to hear this. This not only further resembles the extent of
the horrible conditions in the American camps compared to the ones in other
countries, but also how the freedom of the Japanese were suppressed
internationally, all subjected to the camps for their “safety” and
“protection”. Although, ironically, in Hawaii, as the third of the population
has of Japanese ancestry, not all Japanese Americans were “relocated”, as it
would be logically impossible, and lead to a severe decline in the economy. Only
very few internment camps were present in the islands, and the few hundred that
were grouped were mainly the leaders of the Japanese community.  Similar to America’s camps, Canada and Hawaii
also targeted the Germans and Italians as they were of the Axis Powers,
although many got away and were not as strict upon them as the Japanese had
been their main victims.

            Over four decades after the Japanese
Americans were released, the remaining survivors were each provided with
$20,000 as a formal government apology. Civil Liberties Act of 1988 passed by
Congress was mainly moved by the Redress Movement, led by the Japanese American
Citizens League. Modeled after the Civil Rights Movement, the Redress[TH6] 
Movement launched in 1978, had demanded the United States government for a
formal apology, and reparations for the survivors of the people released from
the relocation camps. The majority of the movement consisted of the young
generations, aiming for vengeance for
their parents and grandparents. President Ronald Reagan had ultimately signed
the Civil Liberties Act in 1988, and then another Civil Liberties Act
Amendments of 1992 to ensure that all survivors were payed reparations. The
federal government had finally acknowledged their fault, stating that their
motivations were based on “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of
political leadership.”[18] They further announced to
the public through the Act that their actions were justified based on unconstitutional
actions, including forcing the Japanese into unsanitary environments, violating
several fundamental citizenship rights to strip them of freedom, and unjustly
imprisoning people whom had resisted their oppression.  Despite the money given to the Japanese
Americans, it wasn’t enough to retrieve for the property that the government
had taken away and sold to fund the camps.

            Many of the Japanese Americans
living in the United States now are still traumatized of what happened in the
past, but are continuing to accept and move forward. The racial discrimination still
is present as a result of the actions as exhibited during the World War II era,
but lessens every day. After numerous photos, newspapers, and survivor’s commentary
on the internment camps were released, the people had begun to realize the
atrocities of the government had done, and the segregation of the Japanese were
reduced. The majority of the Japanese feel that “it would be good that they actually apologized to me and recognized
that what they did was wrong, but giving me money it wouldn’t give me back what
they took away from me”[19] From
the establishment of Executive Order 9066, taught a lesson to the federal
government and to the globe; of how the Constitution can be challenged and the
Supreme Court’s ability to contravene laws.  The internment of the Japanese is a constant
reminder of the past, of what the United States government can do


[1] “Japanese
Relocation During World War II.” National Archives and Records
Administration. Accessed October 22, 2017.

[2] Taylor, Alan.
“World War II: Internment of Japanese Americans.” The Atlantic.
August 21, 2011. Accessed October 06, 2017.

[3] “Anti-Japanese
propaganda in WWII.” J387: Media History. Accessed November 05, 2017.

History 88, no. 4 (292) (2003): 657-58. Accessed October 22, 2017.

[5] Exec. Order No.
9066, 3 C.F.R. (1942).

[6] “Japanese
American Internment Camp.” Map. Musing on Maps. June 17, 2015. Accessed
November 5, 2017.

[7] Exec. Order No.
9066, 3 C.F.R. (1942).

[8] Nelson, Davia,
and Nikki Silva. “Food and the Japanese Internment.” NPR. December
20, 2007. Accessed October 22, 2017.

[9] Shintani, Mieko.
“Interview with Mieko Shintani.” Interview. Japanese-American
Internment Camps. May 11, 2013. Accessed January 5, 2018.


[10] Houston, Jeanne Wakasuki.
Farewell to Manzanar. S.l.: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT, 1973.

[11] Houston, Jeanne Wakasuki.
Farewell to Manzanar. S.l.: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT, 1973.

[12] “WWII North
America United States Defense Aliens Japanese Internment Camps Manzanar.”
Digital image. March 23, 1942. Accessed October 22, 2017.

[13] Korematsu v.
United States, 323 U.S. 214 (May 11, 1944)

[14] Exec. Order No.
9066, 3 C.F.R. (1942).

[15] Korematsu v.
United States, 323 U.S. 214 (May 11, 1944)

[16] Exec. Order No.
9066, 3 C.F.R. (1942).

[17] Exec. Order No.
9102, 3 C.F.R. (1942).

[18] S. 1009, 100th
Cong., U.S. G.P.O. (1987) (enacted).

[19] Shintani, Mieko.
“Interview with Mieko Shintani.” Interview. Japanese-American
Internment Camps. May 11, 2013. Accessed January 5, 2018.



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