Japanese-American* Relocation Camp Cases

    And so, a few months after the seventh day of December of the year nineteen forty‑one, the only Japanese left on the west coast of the United States was Matsusaburo Inabukuro who, while it has been forgot­ten whether he was Japanese‑American or American­Japanese, picked up an "I am Chinese"‑not American or American‑Chinese or Chinese‑American but "I am Chinese" ‑button and got a job in a California shipyard.
    Two years later a good Japanese‑American who had volunteered for the army sat smoking in the belly of a B‑24 on his way back to Guam from a reconnaissance flight to Japan. His job was to listen through his ear­phones, which were attached to a high‑frequency set, and jot down air‑ground messages spoken by Japanese­Japanese in Japanese planes and in Japanese radio shacks.
    The lieutenant who operated the radar‑detection equipment was a blond giant from Nebraska.
    The lieutenant from Nebraska said: "Where you from?"
    The Japanese‑American who was an American soldier answered: "No place in particular."

    "You got folks?"
    "Yeah, I
got folks."
    "Where at?"
    "Wyoming, out in the desert."
    "Farmers, huh?"
    "Not quite. "
    "What's that mean?"
    "Well, it's this way . . . ." And then the Japanese­American whose folks were still Japanese‑Japanese, or else they would not be in a camp with barbed wire and watchtowers with soldiers holding rifles, told the blond giant from Nebraska about the removal of the Japanese from the Coast, which was called the evacuation, and about the concentration camps, which were called relocation centers.
    The lieutenant listened and he didn't believe it. He said: "That's funny. Now, tell me again."
    The Japanese‑American soldier of the American army told it again and didn't change a word.
    The lieutenant believed him this time. "Hell's bells," he exclaimed, "if they'd done that to me, I wouldn't be sitting in the belly of a broken‑down B‑24 going back to Guam from a reconnaissance mission to Japan."
    "I got reasons," said the Japanese‑American soldier soberly.
    "They could kiss my ass," said the lieutenant from Nebraska.
    "I got reasons," said the Japanese‑American soldier soberly, and he was thinking about a lot of things but mostly about his, friend who didn't volunteer for the army because his father had been picked up in the second screening and was in a different camp from the one he and his mother and two sisters were in. Later on, the army tried to draft his friend out of the relocation camp into the army and the friend had stood before the judge and said let my father out of that other camp and come back to my mother who is an old woman but misses him enough to want to sleep with him and I'll try on the uniform. The judge said he couldn't do that and the friend said he wouldn't be drafted and they sent him to the federal prison where he now was.
    "What the hell are we fighting for?" said the lieuten­ant from Nebraska.

"I got reasons," said the Japanese‑American soldier soberly and thought some more about his friend who was in another kind of uniform because they wouldn't let his father go to the same camp with his mother and sisters.
John Okada, No-No Boy (1957, 1976),  pp. x-xi.

Prologue: Kazumaro Buddy Uno, Iva Ikuko Toguri d'Aquino, and the Meaning of Loyality

Prologue: Unlikely Liberators: the 100th Battalion and the442nd Infantry Regimental Combat Team

1. Experience of Japanese Immigrants in America

-Chinese, Japanese, and Korean immigration to the United States
-"Gentlemen's Agreement" of 1906-1907
-National Origins Act of 1924 (1921) and Implementation in 1929
-"aliens ineligible for citizenship"

       Ozawa v. United States 260 US 178 (1922)

       United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind 261 US 204 (1923)

-Issei, Nisei, Kibei - Japanese-American identity
Film Clip: John Ford's December 7th (The unreleased footage)

2. World War II and Alien Policy
-Smith Act (Alien Registration Act) of 1940
-Francis Biddle, Atrorney Genera
-initial response to December 7th, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor
3. Relocation (Mass Forced Evacuation from the West Coast)
Relocation Camps Location Map

-role of John L. De Witt - Who supported? Who opposed?
-the Biddle plan
-Executive Order 9066 - Franklin Delano Roosevelt approves
-establishing the War Relocation Authority (WRA)

. Putting the Plan into Operation

          -role of the Japanese American Citizens League            


Mike Masaoka

Fred Masaoka

"Some of my friends, and some who are not my friends, also call me Moses. Moses Masaoka. They say that like the Biblical prophet, I have led my people on a long journey through the wilderness of  discrimination and travail." ‑‑ from "They Call Me Moses Masaoka"
        Mike Masaru Masaoka was born on October 15, 1915 in Fresno, California. The family moved to Salt Lake City where Masaoka . legally changed his first name to "Mike." He became a champion debater and graduated in 1937 from the University of Utah in economics and political science. At the age of 25, Masaoka was named National Secretary and Field Executive of the JACL just before the outbreak of WWII.\
        Masaoka was a key player in JACL's decision to cooperate with the forced expulsion, and in his position as a national spokesman he opposed legal challenges to the government, advised the government on how to run the camps, and advocated the segregation of so‑called "troublemakers." The government used him as their liaison with the entire Japanese American population in the camps, although he himself was never imprisoned in a camp. Masaoka led the call for drafting the Nisei out of the camps, and when the government agreed at first to create a segregated volunteer unit, Masaoka served as the unit's publicist.
    In 1952 Masaoka successfully lobbied for naturalized citizenship for the Issei as part of a bill otherwise opposed by civil libertarians. He represented JACL as a founding member of the Leadership Council on Civil Rights, and joined Dr. Martin Luther King's 1963 March on Washington. With his own consulting firm, Mike Masaoka Associates, he also lobbied on behalf of American and Japanese commercial interests. In 1972 he left JACL to become a full‑time lobbyist. His autobiography, THEY CALL ME MOSES MASAOKA, written with Bill Hosokawa, was published in 1987. Masaoka passed away in Washington, DC in 1991. 

From PBS Website: Conscience and the Constitution

http://www.pbs.org/itvs/conscience/the story/characters/masaoka mike.html            2/27/2005

        -two step process
        -Film Clip from: Something Strong Within
Hawaii - the exception
         -Latin American citizens of Japanese origins - held for exchange?
4. The Camp Experience
-all Japanese and dangerous Germans and Italians (could America have interned Joe DiMaggio's parents?)
-"Sand and Cactus" setting
-resistance  -  protest against conditions
-resistance  -  refusal to serve
Film Clip: Something Strong Within
-selected releases
5. Relocation in the Courts
-Mary Asaba Ventura - challenging the curfew
-Gordon Kiyoshi Hirabayashi
-Fred Korematsu
- finally a split decision (Robert Jackson, Nuremberg prosecutor)
-Mitsuye Endo
6. Aftermath

          Epilogue: Seabrook, New Jersey

LETTER FROM John J. McCloy TO Jane B. Kaihatsu, April 12, 1984.  John J. McCloy was the ranking surviving individual who participated in the decision to relocate the Japanese Americans in the winter of 1941-42. Then assistant secretary of war, McCloy had a distinguished career as a member of the New York bar and as an appointee of Democratic and Republican presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to Jimmy Carter. In this letter, McCloy expresses his dissatisfaction with the hearing held to consider redress and compensation for Americans held in internment camps

As you are perhaps aware, I have testified already at some length in response to the attempt to further recompense those who were temporarily relocated under the direct orders of President Roosevelt, (who was the only official of the government who could order the step), as a defense to the surprise attack by the Japanese Navy and. Air Force on Pearl Harbor, an event which plunged us into the Pacific War and shortly thereafter into the war with Germany. I hope to be given further opportunity to defend the country against what I feel would be a great injustice to the American taxpayer.
The President's action in ordering the relocation of Japanese/Americans from the sensitive military areas of the West Coast was entirely just and reasonable. He did not have the benefit of hindsight to see how we might recover from this devastating attack. It was a calculated attempt on his part to offset the great menace to our security caused by the sinking of our main Pacific Fleet. The President had ample and, indeed, striking evidence of the existence of subversive Japanese and Japanese/American agencies on the West Coast, poised to frustrate any defense against Japanese acts of aggression.
It is always difficult, if not impossible, to attempt to recreate the conditions as they existed long after the event and the Pearl Harbor attack and its consequences are no exception to this rule. The demand for the removal of the Japanese elements along our military installations on the West Coast after Pearl Harbor was very great. And there was good reason for alarm. A large part of our Pacific Fleet had been sunk and the installations on Pearl Harbor had been largely destroyed. The attacking forces had disappeared to the North practically unscathed. There was a constant danger of a recurring attack on what remained of our sensitive Western defenses. These mainly consisted of military installations on our West Coast particularly our bomber plants and it was in these areas that our Japanese/American population was largely congested and distributed. With our Pacific Fleet maimed, one of the chief elements of our national security was threatened at a critical time. If the "Miracle" at the Battle of Midway had 'not occurred, the loss of our second line of defense would certainly have put us in real jeopardy.
As a defense against this threat, the President saw fit to order the relocation of certain elements of our Japanese/American population. They were permitted to go anywhere else in the country they saw fit to go at the expense of the government. They were not "interned." The President insisted that the move be undertaken by the Army as he felt confident in the fact that the Army was best equipped to manage the operation efficiently and the Army's inspection system could be called on to insure that the operation was carried out humanely.
It is never possible to equate fully the inconveniences, sacrifices, dislocations or sufferings which all segments of a population endure in the time of war. I believe it would be most unjust to all Americans, indeed, to all nationalities who suffered as a result of the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, to have those who were affected by the President's order be further compensated for their removal from the sensitive military areas of the West Coast in order to protect the interests of the entire country. Generally speaking, I would say that our Japanese/American population benefited from the relocation rather than suffered, as did so many others of our population as a result of the war.

The so-called investigation which sought to obtain unconscionably large unproven lump sums for added compensation for the relocation which had been given when evidence was fresh and witnesses were alive and in a position to testify was really outrageous. No serious attempt was made to recreate the conditions that the Japanese attack created on the West Coast, nor, the reasonableness of the steps that the President ordered to meet the devastating attack.

-war service and compensation
-alien land laws declared unconstitutional (1952)
-immigration act of 1965
-final court challenge (1988) and the move for (and against) redress

*Note: these cases involved American citizens of Japanese ancestry (generally Nisei)  as well as first generation Japanese-Americans (Issei) who had been denied citizenship, despite long residence, by American law.