Today is the Day of Remembrance for Japanese Americans Interned During WWII
On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 granting the War Department broad powers to create military exclusion areas. Although the order did not identify any particular group, in practice it was used almost exclusively to intern Americans of Japanese descent.
Although there were no reliable reports that Japanese-Americans on the United States West Coast presented a subversive threat, on March 2, 1942 the military declared California, Oregon and Washington State strategic areas from which Americans of Japanese decent were to be excluded.
More than 110,000 Japanese-Americans (64% of whom were American-born citizens) were required to abandon their homes and jobs and to live in 10 relocation camps.
The United States Supreme Court finally ruled that continued detention without cause was unconstitutional, and the military relocation order was rescinded in December 1944.
Japanese Americans near trains during Relocation. Circa 1942.
Baggage check during Japanese Relocation. Circa 1942.
Exclusion order posted at First and Front Streets in San Francisco directing removal of persons of Japanese ancestry from the first section of the city to be affected by evacuation. Evacuees will be housed in War Relocation Authority centers for the duration., ca. 07/1942.
Photograph of Dust Storm at Manzanar War Relocation Authority Center, 07/03/1942.
-from the FDR Library
The Formal End of Japanese American Relocation
Today in history, The Japanese-American Internment Compensation Bill is Signed by President Ronald Reagan.
In 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which was used almost exclusively to intern Americans of Japanese descent. By 1943, more than 110,000 Japanese Americans had been forced from their homes and moved to camps.
Forty-six years later, on August 10, 1988, President Reagan signed the Japanese-American Internment Compensation Bill. The bill acknowledged the injustice of the internment, apologized for it, and provided a $20,000 cash payment to each person who was interned.
Pictured above: First-grade children of Japanese ancestry during flag pledge ceremony at a public school in San Francisco prior to internment. 4/20/42
Below: President Reagan signs the Reparations Bill for Japanese-Americans in the Old Executive Office Building. 8/10/88
“Relocating A People”
This brochure, c. 1942, provided general statistics about Japanese Americans from the 1940 census. The brochure encouraged US citizens to employ Japanese Americans as they were relocated during World War II.
The quote on the cover from Pres. Roosevelt says, “I am glad to observe that the War Department, the Navy Department, the War Manpower Commission, the Department of Justice, and the War Relocation Authority are collaborating in a program which will assure the opportunity for all loyal Americans, including Americans of Japanese ancestry, to serve their country at a time when the fullest and wisest use of our manpower is all-important to the war effort.”
Observing Asian-Pacific Heritage Month
To pay tribute to the many generations of Asian-Pacific Americans that have enriched our nation’s history, the National Archives at Riverside will be highlighting some of our holdings relating to Asian American history in our region (Southern California, Arizona, and Clark County, NV), including records relating to enforcement of the Chinese Exclusion Act, records relating to Japanese internment and relocation, and many more.
For more information about Asian-Pacific Heritage Month, see http://asianpacificheritage.gov/
Photograph of the Shibuya Family before relocation. April 1942
Original caption: Mountain View, California. Members of the Shibuya family are pictured at their home before evacuation. The father and the mother were born in Japan and came to this country in 1904. At that time the father had $60 in cash and a basket of clothes. He later built a prosperous business of raising select varieties of chrysanthemums which he shipped to eastern markets under his own trade name. Six children in the family were born in the United States. The four older children attended leading California Universities. Evacuees of Japanese ancestry will be housed in War Relocation Authority Centers for the duration.
In 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which was used almost exclusively to intern Americans of Japanese descent. By 1943, more than 110,000 Japanese Americans had been forced from their homes and moved to camps. Forty-six years later, on August 10, 1988, President Reagan participated in a signing ceremony for the Japanese-American Internment Compensation Bill.
These are images from our archives of Japanese Americans relocated to interment camps between 1942-1945.