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Japanese American Internment
Transcript of Japanese American Internment
They were forced to leave behind homes, businesses, pets, and most of their belongings. They could only bring what they could carry to the assembly centers, but were asked to bring furnished bedding, clothes, and eating utensils. In protest of violation of their civil liberties, many people destroyed their property and possessions. Relocation centers were located in Manzanar and Tule Lake CA, Minidoka ID, Topaz, UT, Gila River, AZ, Heat Mountain, Wyoming, Granada, CO, and Jerome Arkansas. Families lived in tar-papered barracks, some used to be horse stables. The War Relocation Authority (WRA) required mess hall dining, long lines for laundry, and no privacy. Children sometimes had to be bathed in sinks. Most adults worked, but earned little salary. In order to fight in the war, Nisei men had to pass a "loyalty test." In 1945, the Issei (immigrant Japanese) and Nesei families were released from the camps. In the 1970's and 1980's, the Japanese Americans asked for a government apology and compensation, but were denied it because the Supreme Court ruled it as a "war time necessity." In Korematsu vs. the US, it was ruled constitutional in 1944. Now, the 2011 Department of Justice conceded this as an error. Who is Involved? President Franklin D. Roosevelt As President of the United States at the time, President Roosevelt had to make a decision on what to do with the Japanese Americans. He had a choice. He was looking out for the common good of the people when he signed Executive Order 9066, moving the Japanese Americans to internment camps. The People of America When Pearl Harbor was bombed, the regular citizens of America were concerned. They were worried their Japanese American neighbors would betray their country and put them in danger. The press, military officials, and politicians called for the restrictions on the Japanese. They did not choose to be put in harms way, but they were willing to put up a fight to put the Japanese Americans as far away from them as possible. The Japanese Americans Issei- A Japanese immigrant to North America.
Nisei- A person born in the US whose parents immigrated from Japan. These American citizens were not willing participants. They were forced into relocation camps, just because of their race. There was no proof the Japanese Americans were any danger, but they were unfairly removed from their homes, businesses, friends, and their lives. Throughout their horrible treatment, they tried to make the best of it. There was a wedding, 412 births, and 107 deaths (including funerals.) Houghton Mifflen stated, "The Japanese Americans tried to hold religious services, adult education classes, school for the kids, recreational activities, and cultural events." VS The constitutional principle of Individual Rights was violated during this historic issue. Right after World War 2, the Supreme Court never ruled the incarceration of the Japanese Americans "unconstitutional." Modern day historians and political analysts looked into the way the Japanese Americans were treated. They were able to find many violations of their Individual Rights. First Amendment Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. There could be no Japanese language spoken during public meetings of camp newspapers. When Japanese Americans tried to petition the way they were treated, the WRA sent them to another relocation camp. Fourth Amendment The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. The right to be protected against unreasonable search and seizure was violated. The Japanese Americans' homes were searched, without probable cause, to find items that would prove the people as Japanese. They were unfairly removed from their homes and their lives.
Fifth Amendment No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. The Japanese Americans were denied liberty. They had to give up their property, too. Without any witnesses or a trial, they were sent to the camps without a reason.
They were not even told of what crime they had committed. They were not granted a speedy trial. They were never even brought in front of a court. The Court even tried to suspend this right from them. The FBI just randomly picked them in a sweep. Eighth Amendment Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. The camps the Japanese Americans were put in were considered "grossly inadequate." Hospitals were understaffed, medical care was poor, their food was deficient, and they couldn't vote. Their punishment was, in other words, cruel. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, America joined the war. People were scared for their lives. Having people of Japanese heritage around them caused them some worry. There must have been one Japanese American out there still loyal to their country, and that might endanger a life. The Supreme Court ruled it as a "wartime necessity." Were people put in danger by having Japanese neighbors? Either way, President Roosevelt had to balance the Individual Rights and Common Good. He decided to protect the people from the possibility of a Japanese loyalty and intern the Japanese Americans. Why is it Important? Constitutional Principle Individual Rights is an example of why this is important. I will go into further detail later, but four amendments from the Bill of Rights were not protected throughout this event. The government also did not exercise Habeus Corpus. The Japanese Americans were never brought in front of a court. They were never proved as a threat. Also, the internees acted as slaves. Their payment was far below average. The highest profit was $19 a month. Why is it Important? Constitutional Ideal One ideal from the constitution that was violated during this time was equality. The Japanese Americans were not treated equally under the law. The government "acted solely on the basis of race and national ancestry," stated jacl.org. They were forced from their jobs and homes into a barbed wire, guarded camp. They were not treated equally. They never received justice after the war in court. They were never compensated for their property they loss. My Position Republicanism was also exercised through this event. It shows the government gets its power from the people. The people wanted to be as safe as possible and wanted the Japanese Americans as far away from themselves as possible. I believe the Japanese Americans were unfairly treated. In this case, I think the individual rights outweighed the common good. The people were concerned, but there was never any proof that the Japanese Americans posed any threat. They were treated so poorly in the camps and had to leave everything behind including their homes and their businesses. The Congressional Commission in 1981 stated that this event was "not justified by military necessity, [but by] race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership." Clearly, the Japanese American's rights were violated. They were unreasonably searched and seized. They were denied a trial to prove their innocence. Along with this, they were first of all not given compensation afterward. They came out of the camps without money or a home. Second, they were objects of racism. They were forced out of their homes with a 48 hour notice just because of their race. CALL TO ACTION As a nation, let's never let an event happen like this again. There should be no more racial discrimination. Let every person have a fair trial and be treated equally. No American citizen should be treated less fairly under the law. Henry Sugimoto, a Japanese artist, commented, "They knew that the Japanese really liked rice, so rice was always part of the menu at least once a day. However, there were times when the rest of the meal didn't really go with rice. At times, there would be food that just wasn't appetizing at all, so you had to either try to eat at least one bite or just go without the meal." No Second Servings "The principle on which this country was founded and by which it has always been governed is that Americanism is a matter of mind and heart; Americanism is not, and never was, a matter of race or ancestry." -President Roosevelt Annotated Bibliography "Internment, Japanese." Helicon Encyclopedia of World History. 2010. History Study Center. Web. 22 Jan. 2013. This website was a secondary source because somebody who did not live through the event wrote the article. It was useful because it gave me information on the lives of the Japanese after the war ended. It also told me about an example of a court case dealing with this."Japanese American Internment." The Reader's Companion to U.S. Women's History. 1999. History Study Center. Web. 22 Jan. 2013.This website was a secondary source because the author gathered information from the Japanese who actually lived through it. It was useful because it gave me a lot of background knowledge on how the Japanese were treated."JARDA." Calisphere. University of California, 2013. Web. 22 Jan. 2013. <http://www.calisphere.universityofcalifornia.edu/jarda/>.This website was a primary source because the photographer was there to take the pictures in the Japanese Internment Camps. The article was a secondary source because the author was not there. It was useful because it told me about how the Japanese lived their lives at the time and gave me many pictures to use. "Summary of Constitutional Rights Violated." Japanese American Citizens League Website. JACL, 2008. Web. 22 Jan. 2013. <http://www.jacl.org/edu/SummaryofConstitutionalRightsViolated.pdf>. This website was a secondary source because the author gathered information from many different historians. It was useful because it gave a insight on how many rights were violated during the internment of the Japanese."The Japanese American Legacy Project." Densho. Densho, 1997. Web. 22 Jan. 2013. <http://www.densho.org/>.This website was a secondary source because the writer did not experience the event firsthand. It was useful because it told me about the unjust conditions the Japanese had to live in.