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 C. John Yu

For Additional Extensive resources please see:
Internment of Japanese Americans
 in Concentration Camps


Census Bureau
contraband
evacuation
Farm Security Administration
Federal Reserve Bank
Geneva Convention
internment
inu
Issei
JACL
Kibei
Loyalty Question
Nisei
non-alien
relocation
Sansei
Spanish Consul
Terminal Island
Wartime Civil Control Admin
War Relocation Authority

Census Bureau
The Census Bureau would later deny that it released confidential data such as the names and addresses of Japanese Americans to those in charge of the evacuation. According to Tom Clark, Coordinator of Alien Enemy Control, "The Census Bureau moved out its raw files.... They would lay out on tables various city blocks where the Japanese lived and they would tell me how many were living in each block."6

contraband
Property seen as threats that was taken from Japanese Americans, including short wave radios, cameras, binoculars, and various weapons (such as hunting knives and dynamite that farmers used to clear land).3 (One of the reasons why photographs of the internment experience tend to come from government sources.)

evacuation
Euphemism for the eviction of Japanese Americans from their homes, because of their alleged threat to national security.

Farm Security Administration
In charge of transferring Japanese American farms to Caucasian tenants and corporations. It concentrated primarily on insuring that farm production continued at full capacity. Minimizing evictee losses was only a secondary concern.5
Japanese American farmers were told to continue their farm activities in the time before eviction, and that destruction of crops would be punished as sabotage.5

Federal Reserve Bank
The Secretary of Treasury gave it authority over the handling of Japanese American property. In order to store personal property with the Federal Reserve Bank, evictees were required to sign a form which read:

It is agreed that no liability or responsibility shall be assumed by the Federal Reserve Bank... for any act or omission in connection with its [the property's] disposition. It is understood that no insurance will be provided on this property.5
Very few evictees made use of the storage facilities. The Bank actively encouraged liquidation of property. The vast majority of Japanese American property was sold at sacrifice prices, given away, or stored at personal expense and risk.5

Geneva Convention
Although Japan had not signed the Geneva Convention while the United States had, the two countries made a mutual agreement to follow the Convention with respect to prisoners of war.4
Among the Geneva Convention's regulations regarding prisoners of war included "work done for the State shall be paid for in accordance with the rates in force for soldiers of the national army doing the same work." However Japanese American prisoners earned $12 to $19 per month (including professionals such as doctors and dentists), while the base soldier salary was $21 and was later raised to $50 a month.4
The Convention also stated that disciplinary punishments could not exceed 30 days at a time and prohibited the transfer of inmates to prisons or penitentiaries. Both of these regulations were ignored.4
As a result, many camp inmates demanded prisoner of war status in an attempt to receive better treatment. The government however refused to officially refer to Japanese Americans as "internees" or "prisoners" -- instead, they were "evacuees" and "segregees." Only the 2000 or more aliens in Department of Justice detention camps were offical "internees" and given the rights provided by the Geneva Convention.4

internment
See Relocation.

inu
Literally "dog" in Japanese, connotes informer, stool pigeon, or turncoat. During incarceration, factional fighting developed between prisoners who wanted to resist government internment policy and prisoners who were accused of trying to win favoritism by cooperating with the government.

Issei
The first generation. Born in Japan, they immigrated to the U.S. where laws prevented them from being naturalized as citizens.

JACL
Japanese American Citizens League. It often worked closely with camp administration and as a result, its members were often labeled inu.

Kibei
Japanese Americans born in the U.S. who returned to America after being educated in Japan.

loyalty question
Two questions on a loyalty questionaire given to all Japanese Americans (seventeen and older) held in the internment camps. Soon after Stimson announced plans for an all-Nisei combat team on January 29, 1943, the War Department began to use the loyalty questionaire to register imprisoned male citizens, while the WRA handled all other prisoners age 17 and over.1

No. 27. Are you willing to serve in the armed forces of the United States on combat duty wherever ordered?
No. 28. Will you swear unqualified allegiance to the United States of America and faithfully defend the United States from any or all attack by foreign or domestic forces, and forswear any form of allegiance or obedience to the Japanese emperor, to any other foreign government, power or organization?
For female citizens, question 27 was reworded, asking if they were willing to volunteer for the Army Nurse Corps or Women's Army Corp if they were found qualified; and question 28 left out defense during attack.1

Nisei
The second generation of Japanese Americans. U.S. citizens by birth (as opposed to their Issei parents who were not allowed to be naturalized).

non-alien
A U.S. citizen with Japanese ancestry. (Japanese Americans were referred to as aliens and non-aliens, rather than as non-citizens and citizens.)

relocation
Euphemism for the imprisonment/incarceration of Japanese Americans in concentration camps within the interior of the country.

Sansei
The third generation of Japanese Americans. Children of the Nisei.

Spanish Consul
Spain, a neutral country, represented Japanese interests in the U.S., as the Swiss Consul did for the U.S. in Japan.2

Terminal Island
Six miles long and a half mile wide, on the boundary between Los Angeles Harbor and the Cerritos Channel, across the harbor from San Pedro. In 1942, its Japanese American population was about 3500, employed mostly in fishing and canning. About half were American-born citizens.6 Dr. Yoshihiko Fujikawa, a Terminal Island resident, described his last days there:

It was during these 48 hours that I witnessed unscrupulous vultures in the form of human beings taking advantage of bewildered housewives whose husbands had been rounded up by the F.B.I. within 48 hours after Pearl Harbor. They were offered pittances for practically new furniture and applicances: refrigerators, radio consoles, etc., as well as cars, and many were falling prey to these people.6
The day after "evacuation," Terminal Island was littered with abandoned possessions.6

WCCA
Wartime Civil Control Administration. On March 11, 1942, General DeWitt made Colonel Bendetsen Director of the WCCA to supervise the removal of evacuees. Part of the War Department -- a "Civilian Affairs" branch of the Western Defense Command.

WRA
War Relocation Authority. A civilian administration created by Executive Order 9102, with Milton S. Eisenhower as its first director.

 


1 Dorothy Swaine Thomas, The Salvage, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1952, p. 92-94.
2 Tetsuden Kashima, "American Mistreatment of Internees During World War II: Enemy Alien Japanese" in: Ed. by Roger Daniels, Sandra Taylor, and Harry Kitano; Japanese Americans, from Relocation to Redress; University of Utah Press; Salt Lake City, Utah; 1986; p. 52-56.
3 Ed. by Roger Daniels, Sandra Taylor, and Harry Kitano; Japanese Americans, from Relocation to Redress; University of Utah Press; Salt Lake City, Utah; 1986.
4 Michi Weglyn, Years of Infamy, Morrow Quill Paperbacks, New York, 1976, p. 116, 161, 202-3.
5 Dorothy Swaine Thomas and Richard S. Nishimoto, The Spoilage, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1946, p. 14-15.
6 Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians; Joan Z. Bernstein, Chair; Personal Justice Denied; Washington, D.C.; 1982
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Thanks to Derrick Bell and his pioneer work: 
Race, Racism and American Law
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