For Additional Extensive resources please see:
Internment of Japanese
in Concentration Camps
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
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
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
Japanese American farmers were told to continue their farm activities in the
time before eviction, and that destruction of crops would be punished as
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
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
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.
The first generation. Born in Japan, they immigrated to the U.S. where laws
prevented them from being naturalized as citizens.
Japanese American Citizens League. It often worked closely with camp
administration and as a result, its members were often labeled inu.
Japanese Americans born in the U.S. who returned to America after being educated
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?
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
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
The second generation of Japanese Americans. U.S. citizens by birth (as opposed
to their Issei parents who were not allowed to be
A U.S. citizen with Japanese ancestry. (Japanese Americans were referred to as
aliens and non-aliens, rather than as non-citizens and citizens.)
Euphemism for the imprisonment/incarceration of Japanese Americans in
concentration camps within the interior of the country.
The third generation of Japanese Americans. Children of the Nisei.
Spain, a neutral country, represented Japanese interests in the U.S., as the
Swiss Consul did for the U.S. in Japan.2
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
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
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.
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,