Talk:Internment of Japanese Americans

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Internment of Japanese Americans:
  1. Review and comparison of principal references, to identify conflicting accounts. The list of principal references should remain brief for the purposes of this to-do list. Works repeatedly referenced in the article or on the Talk page are:
  2. Expansion of the sections for the DOJ facilities, WCCA facilities, and WRA facilities.

Major Problem with "DOJ Internment Camps" Section[edit]

The section relating to the Department of Justice internment camps is written as if it were an editorial. Although it attempts objectivity, the section comes off as conveying a point of view. The problems start with the third paragraph and continue until the end. Lines like "your opinion of the facts", "one must wonder" and "This leaves one to guess", along with questions posed to the reader, need to be removed, and the entire section should probably be rewritten. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:32, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

I agree; that section is dreadful. Be bold. --Yaush (talk) 15:13, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done. Still leaves one wondering about WP:SYNTH of material there. Student7 (talk) 17:19, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Separate section for Japanese Latin Americans?[edit]

This section doesn't really discuss the actual DOJ facilities, which also held German and Italian Americans and about 5,500 Issei and Kibei, but focuses almost exclusively on the deportation and confinement of Japanese from Latin America. I propose moving most of the current text to a new section called "Japanese Latin Americans," probably after the sections on Hawaii in "Exclusion, removal and detention," and reworking the "DOJ Internment Camps" section. Do these changes seem appropriate to others? MartinaDee (talk) 01:21, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Sounds like a reasonable proposal. However, if there's not enough material left over to justify a separate "DOJ Internment Camps" section, then perhaps you could simply retitle the existing section. — Myasuda (talk) 00:16, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done with 2 edits I feel I should mention here: One, I'm adding a brief reference to Japanese Latin Americans and German/Italian Americans in the article overview. (If it's discussed in the body of the article, it should be mentioned in the intro.) And two, I've removed the bit about deportees "not being traded against their will" because (a) it's misleading, as this is not entirely true, and (b) the previous editor's only citation to back this claim was a video made by the INS during the war, arguably propaganda but at the very least a biased source. MartinaDee (talk) 23:00, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

This Article is Too Agenda-Driven to Have Any Credibility[edit]

This is not a balanced article. The "PC" agenda is obvious to any reader. Where is the section on the imminent danger of a West Coast invasion by the Japanese Navy, which then ruled the Pacific (until Midway) and the concomitant description of how the local Japanese populations had acted in all of the other places that had been invaded, throughout Asia and the Pacific? Where is the section on the Japanese spy ring that had just been busted in the summer of 1941 (and included local Nisei/citizen members)? Any article on this subject should include EVERYTHING that President Franklin Roosevelt can reasonably be assumed to have known, that went into his February 19, 1942, decision.

To use inflammatory language like "babies were interned" without explaining that the U.S. made the effort to keep families together, unlike what Imperial Japan did with Allied civilians, is just plain absurd.

"Misleading" does not belong in Wikipedia, if its articles are to be of any use to its readers.

```` — Preceding unsigned comment added by Starhistory22 (talkcontribs) 20:58, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

There is not a single credible military thinker or historian who ever believed Japan was either capable of or interested in invading so much as the Hawaiian Islands, much less the West Coast mainland. The Japanese military couldn't even hold onto a couple barely-inhabited Aleutian rocks - you think they could,have dropped anchor in San Francisco Bay? Sorry, but that's just a lame attempt to retroactively justify oppression. Your "imminent danger" never existed.
And no, Pearl Harbor proves nothing. A hit-and-run surprise raid by carrier-based aircraft is a far, far cry from landing amphibious troops, seizing a beachhead and logistically supplying those troops over thousands of miles of ocean. The IJN practically ran out of destroyers just trying to keep Guadalcanal supported and reinforced, much less Honolulu, never mind the US mainland.
More to the point, the Constitution does not permit the president to arrest and indefinitely imprison US citizens without charge or trial for any reason - much less hysteria driven by false stereotypes and gross racism.
Congratulations, "families were kept together" behind barbed wire and under machine gun towers, with all of their land and property seized and dispossessed. What a great tribute to American ideals. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 21:51, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
The Niihau Incident is the only case of a local Japanese American population taking action against the U.S. during an attack by the Japanese Navy, and while it could use some expansion, it does have its own section in this article. How Japanese communities in other parts of Asia and the Pacific acted is irrelevant. The Japanese spy ring you are referring to centered around a Japanese naval officer (Tachibana Itaru) who was posing as a language student. There were a few Issei but no Nisei or citizens implicated in the case. What Roosevelt knew is what he had been told by the Office of Naval Intelligence, the FBI and presidential investigators: that there was "no evidence which would indicate that there is danger of widespread anti-American activities among" Japanese American communities. (See the Munson Report)
I'm glad you are inflamed that "babies were interned," but there is nothing wrong with language that accurately describes a historical fact. There are plenty of sources documenting that infants went into camp with their parents, were born in camp, and were taken from orphanages and non-Japanese foster families and put into camp. As for "what Imperial Japan did with Allied civilians," that has no place in a discussion of U.S. actions against U.S. residents and citizens. MartinaDee (talk) 00:40, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
The article should be unbiased, if it isn't now. Quite rightly, the West Coast feared an invasion by the Japanese. The "third strike" of Pearl did not occur because the leader of the strike force realized that he didn't know where the American carriers were. Only their absence, prevented their destruction, the total destruction of Pearl as a base, followed by a planned invasion of Hawaii.
While there were no plans (as we now know) to actually invade the West Coast, it seemed like a real threat to most inhabitants. A fifth column was not only possible, it was likely among some of the first generation that inhabited the area. How effective it would have been is unknown as they were all interred. While everyone wrings their hands now, no one wrung their hands then. There was a general feeling of "Well, thank God for little favors!"
As far as "constitutionally" goes, Lincoln suspended habeus corpus during the Civil War. The Supreme Court chose to overlook that. Courts have done that sort of thing during times of crises. Also, the government ordered plants to produce war goods instead of what they were producing. Not exactly democracy, but, again, tolerated by nearly everyone. Along with rationing goods. Where is "rationing" given to the federal government in the Constitution?
Interment itself was hardly barbarous, except for the blatant loss of freedom. Obviously everyone lost their job. Most of them never got them back. People lost businesses which they never got back.
Note that the Hawaiian interment was mostly reversed for the simple reason that the territory couldn't run without them! Student7 (talk) 22:39, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
The West Coast did not "rightly" fear an invasion. There was absolutely no military possibility that the Japanese could have invaded the West Coast.
No Japanese invasion of Hawaii is plausible. They had neither the amphibious ships nor sufficient land troops (remember, most of the Japanese Army was in Manchuria), and did not have the logistical capacity to supply and support such a large force at that distance. There's a good layman's explanation of that fact here, and if you need further references... well, basically any and every book studying World War II in the Pacific will explain it for you.
Your claim that a "fifth column was not only possible, it was likely" has been dismissed by a wide range of reputable historians as nothing but wartime hysteria. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 03:08, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
The "one drop of blood" is mere hyperbole and doesn't belong here.
The reason for the 1/16th (if true) could be traced to racism. This would be anyone who had a great-great-great grandparent who was Japanese could be interred. This was overkill since nearly everyone in the country with Japanese ancestry had at least one grandparent (or more) who was Japanese. Never mind triple-greats. Unlike the Nazis who were "really serious" about being Jewish, the Americans never bothered to track down people who were descended from Japanese but had "American" last names and didn't especially look Asian. At the time, they had no real way of tracing them. There was no "national registry." Student7 (talk) 22:58, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Your claim that the "one drop of blood" statement is "mere hyperbole" is interesting. Unfortunately, it is not supported by a reference. The statement was made and it speaks for itself. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 03:06, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
The statement comes from a 1942 letter sent from Karl Bendetsen to the director of the Maryknoll Home for Japanese Children, regarding the removal of orphans of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast. It should perhaps be moved to the section that mentions the Manzanar Children's Village, or noted that it is in reference specifically to orphans and not the general JA population, but it is a well-documented quote from the man who was in charge of the incarceration. Not exactly irrelevant. MartinaDee (talk) 23:43, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Gonna quibble slightly, for the record. Yes, there are credible historians who believe the Japanese contemplated invading Hawaii. However, the Japanese recognized that the operation would be extremely difficult; the Japanese military had other priorities before the battle of Midway; and the Japanese to abandon any thought of a Hawaiian invasion after they lost carrier supremacy. This is a quibble. The main point, that there was no credible threat of a West Coast invasion, is sound, notwithstanding the ravings of a few Japanese ultranationalist politicians about annexing Washington and Oregon and the Panama Canal. --Yaush (talk) 15:19, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Even if the USN had been defeated at Midway, the Japanese didn't have sufficient amphibious lift or logistical support. There were the equivalent of 3-4 US divisions on Oahu by midsummer 1942, meaning that Japan would need a 5-division force to even consider a landing. They physically couldn't have landed that many troops at once, without stripping every other war theatre. It would have meant abandoning the Solomons, for one. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 16:33, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

Being Japanese ethnically made them enemies hmm. You know the funny thing is we cry out that these wars were fought for freedom meanwhile we talk about how it was ok to Jail 3rd or 4th gen American citizens because their ancestors came from a country that was at war with them 50 years or so later. We also Denied many Jews from landing here even though they were fleeing the Nazis. We also talk about the holocaust and how every sane human is shocked at how even children and babies could be massacred just because they were Jewish and yet ignore the Chinese massacres committed by the Japanese for "Security" and how American forces nuked children, and babies and pregnant women and mutated human beings. But you know we are the good guys. Also your point about how Japan treated it's foreign populations? IRRELEVANT American citizens whose ancestors left a nation a few generations ago are not responsible, if the nation from which your ancestor lies where to persecute conservatives, would we suddenly say ok well that means we have legitimacy to now persecute you. How , unless we went to war where-ever your ancestors are from and than say well we are afraid and our security requires your internment. I bet we would here some protests from you than. If you support the internment of people even third or fourth generation Americans simply for ancestor than you should have no problem having your territory taken away and your freedom taken away and being treated by everyone for the next 20 or so years as an enemy or subhuman as many Japanese-Americans felt. The reason it seems PC to you is simply because just like the holocaust, 95% of scholars are going to recognize it for what it is. An injustice. The rise of some pseudo-neo-conservative movement only does damage to itself. Many times things are labeled liberal or leftist bias on Wikipedia, when really it is for the most part supported by CONSERVATIVE or REPUBLICAN tradition scholars as having offended American rights. Ridiculous. It is actually right wing or conservative values that support American rights from a government encroaching on them or the constitution. Ridiculous. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:01, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

Answering the above, of course the Administration at the time was extremely left wing liberal, hardly conservatives. And liberal Attorney General Earl Warren ratified the internment. Conservatives had been ousted at the onset of the Great Depression and had almost no influence on much of anything until 1946, the next election after the war. It is a fact that incarcerating the Japanese was a highly popular outside of Hawaii, where they were too integral to the population to lose them. So ironically, the largest concentration of Japanese-Americans in the US, was essentially ignored.
The Jews wandering from Nazi Germany were turned away because no country wanted or needed more people during the Great Depression. Just add (or cause more) depression. There is no group that wouldn't have been turned away at the time. This is just basic history.
It is history that influences the future, not the future that tries to spin the past to "make them" wrong! We learn that 2+2 = 4 in the first grade, then the square root of tan theta in high school. We don't then say, "we shoulda known/been taught the square root of tan theta in the first grade"!
To answer the potential for a West Coast attack, it wasn't what we knew, it was what we thought we didn't know, exaggerated by the surprise attack on Pearl, which resulted in a lot of frightened decision makers. Yes, we know now, that there was no way they were going to invade Hawaii then. But we didn't know it at the time. I heard, but cannot find on the web, that Admiral Ernest King had thought that an attack on the West Coast was imminent. If true, people in "high places" were afraid as well. In short, it was pretty much what we saw immediately after 9/11 and the Kennedy assassination, except we didn't have the communications and extensive intelligence systems then that were developed by 1963 and 2001. So the decisions took longer then. Student7 (talk) 21:06, 4 November 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure how useful it is to frame this as a liberals vs. conservatives issue, but it is worth noting that Roosevelt appointed two conservative leaders (Henry Stimson and Frank Knox) to head the War Department and the Navy, very high-level positions and where much of the push for incarceration originated — and then you have to take into consideration the actions of conservative politicians on the state level. But yes, Roosevelt's very liberal administration (and the general public) went along with it, so it comes out about even on both sides. Let's move on.
As for Student's claim that by analyzing history we are trying to "spin the past," the evidence speaks for itself. It's been well-documented that the FBI and Naval/Military Intelligence debunked claims of Japanese American sabotage. The ONI and FBI had been conducting surveillance on Japanese Hawaiians and mainlanders for about a decade before Pearl Harbor and had concluded that the risk of a fifth column was virtually nonexistent. High-level military, political and intelligence officials argued against mass incarceration, both on national security and constitutional grounds. Yes, your average citizen was very concerned about an invasion of the West Coast, but most policymakers were not because, unlike the public, they had access to more accurate information. Student is right: history does influence the future, which is why you also have to look at the even earlier history of anti-Japanese prejudice and "Yellow Peril" agitation that formed the social/political context that influenced what happened during WWII. What Roosevelt and his advisers knew in 1942 was that it was not necessary, or legal, to put Japanese Americans in camp, and what we know now is that they chose to do it anyway. Pointing to definitive proof of this today is not the same thing as "making them" wrong. MartinaDee (talk) 20:31, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

Drop of blood[edit]

Wikipedia is not WikiNews, nor television nor a journal. See WP:INDISCRIMINATE. Bendetsen was an appointee, not really a "political" appointee but a military one. While there may be nothing wrong with putting his comment in a "quote" in a citation, inserting it as though it were important in itself, is not useful. The genealogy of Japanese immigration would legally place every Japanese-American in interment (up to 1/16 Japanese). The "one drop of blood" is hyperbole. It might be appropriate if some ranking member of Congress had said it, or some political appointee, but Bendetsen was neither. The phrase meant nothing logically. It would have meant more if the Governor of California had said it, revealing what a most people thought at the time, BTW, though later denying it, of course.
Note that Earl_Warren#Japanese-American_internment did not try to lie about his complicity. Warren's comments would be more appropriate IMO. He was an elected official who (note) actually claimed to be the moving force behind actual interment. Note that the Hawaiian internment didn't last long for 98% of internees. Student7 (talk) 22:06, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

Bendetsen was in charge of the internment program. Claiming that his words "meant nothing logically" is ridiculous on its face. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 22:26, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
From Bendetsen's 1942 military record: "I conceived the method, formulated the detailed plans for, and directed the evacuation of 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry from military areas of the West Coast." (Klancy Clark de Nevers, The Colonel and the Pacifist: Karl Bendetsen, Perry Saito and the Incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, 313-315.) MartinaDee (talk) 23:43, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
The reason given for the incarceration was "military necessity." Executive Order 9066 gave the military the authority to designate military zones from which they could exclude anyone deemed a threat to military security. Bendetsen was in charge of the WCCA, the branch of the War Department that carried out the West Coast evacuation. Yes, Warren and other political leaders were a significant driving force behind EO 9066, but the incarceration was ultimately a military endeavor. MartinaDee (talk) 23:43, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

A major caveat[edit]

This article begins with the heading After Pearl Harbor - also spelled Harbour. Full understanding of the Japanese relocation must begin with material years BEFORE Pearl Harbor. It begins in the British and American embassies to Japan. The concerns of those ambassadors caused a chain of events political, military, legal, and geographic. The conferring heads of Canada and the USA triggered communication between their militaries, also between the FBI and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The signal event in BOTH countries was the obligatory issuance of IDENTITY CARDS to residents of Japanese origin or descent. Each nation had plans on the books for dealing with "their Japs" - including potential intern camp sites - perhaps 2 years before December 1941. Finding this material now is not easy.

Missing from history, IMO, is mention of a fraternal organization called Sons of the Golden West. It existed from San Diego to Vancouver, and appealed mostly to police officers. It felt one of its social obligations was to address the "Yellow Peril" of Asian immigrants, who began arriving by 1850. It seems no coincidence that there are some similarities to the KKK. --Ed Chilton

Eleanor picture[edit]

Now I'm having trouble (can't see) "File:Eleanor Roosevelt at Gila River, Arizona at Japanese, American Internment Center - NARA - 197094.jpg". I've used windows-F5 and ctrl-F5. Neither works. Okay with everybody else?

Can see this just fine:,_Arizona_at_Japanese,American_Internment_Center_-_NARA_-_197094.jpg Student7 (talk) 22:49, 27 March 2014 (UTC)

Article totally biased[edit]

I don't have the time to get into an edit war with whoever is lording over this article but let me weigh in on any discussion. This article is totally biased. Like some activist wrote it.

For instance, a lot of the "nissei" were kids under 18. The article neglects to mention that key point.

Also, he article bends over backwards to explain the motivations of people renouncing their citizenship, explaining away people that won't foreswear allegiance to an enemy emperor, downplaying the REAL concerns of Americans. Yes some historians might say *now* that there was no real risk of invasion but war is chaos, information is imperfect, and things change. I'm sure the Japanese thought there was no real risk of two nuclear bombs being dropped on their heads.

The quotes are primary sources, and are disallowed by wikipedia because of the ease of which they can be cherry picked.

There are mispresentations, e.g. the cited work quotes the source as "impossible to establish the identity of the loyal and the disloyal with any degree of safety", but the article says "because of their race, it was impossible to determine the loyalty of Japanese Americans". Bad stuff guys, bad stuff.

There are also unsurprisingly, very few citations in the biased stuff. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Richmondian (talkcontribs) 05:16, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

Richmodian, you are the one who is POV-pushing here. I have twice reverted your deletion of properly sourced material germane to the article. You are deleting them under the pretext that they are primary sources and therefore disallowed; it seems clear you are, in fact, deleting them because you don't like the picture they paint. Neither do I, but it's the picture historians of this period have generally painted.
And I am not some kind of anti-American activist. Quite the contrary. But I know neutrality when I see it, and when I don't. --Yaush (talk) 00:28, 22 February 2015 (UTC)

All of the categories were removed from this article[edit]

I noticed that this article belongs to no categories at all, unlike one of its previous revisions, which belonged to several categories. Why were all the categories removed from this article? Jarble (talk) 01:32, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing that out. I've restored the categories, which were removed without explanation by User:TehSharp about a week ago.—Myasuda (talk) 02:17, 26 February 2015 (UTC)