An Overview of Life in the Japanese Internment Camps Although we may face many troubles and hardships, we as modern day Americans will most likely never face the type of ridicule and discrimination that Japanese Americans did in 1942. Why? Because on February 19, 1942 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed executive order 9066 sentencing Japanese Americans to a life in internment camps. These internment camps were overpopulated, unjustified, and purposely made to turn the Japanese against one another.
All of this, because Japan bombed Pearl Harbor; but most of the people living in these internment camps weren’t even from japan! My great grandmother was born and raised in Hawaii and was put in an internment camp simply because of her ethnic background. She wasn’t even old enough to know why they had to go. I was able to talk to my grandmother about the stories that her mother used to tell her about living in the internment camps. She said her mother told her “It was always cold, we never had enough food to last us, and sometimes we would live among other families who could only speak Japanese. This is just coming from a child’s perspective. These Americans were basically locked in a cage and dehumanized with number references and insanitary communal bathrooms and housing for something that had nothing to do with them. In fact my grandmother told me that her grandfather and many other Japanese Americans seemed even more outraged with Japan than everyone else. So the Japanese Americans were being punished for the actions of Japan even though the Japanese American adults were outraged by these actions, and the Japanese American children didn’t even really understand what was going on.
They just knew that all of the sudden they were hated by everyone. The worst part is that it seems as though Pearl Harbor wasn’t even the core reason that this order was established. This order was pre fueled by Anti-Japanese feelings toward competition in work fields and politicians who needed the support. The general public ate up the garbage that explained to them that because people in Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, all Japanese; including the ones born and raised in America, were terrorists. As if all Japanese Americans were here to spy on America.
At first Americans would only let Japanese Americans out of internment if they joined the army. Though there was no sense of American pride for the Japanese after they had already suffered the hardships of life in the internment camps. The last of the internment camps was finally emptied out in 1946. However executive order 9066 was not formally rescind until 1976 under the administration of Gerald Ford. This terrible part of American history has permanently scarred the pride of Japanese culture. Even today people of Japanese descent are referred to rudely as japs as they were called so negatively in internment.
Hopefully America will learn from its mistakes and we will never have such unconstitutional discrimination against our own kind again. Although, nearly 120,000 people of Japanese descent were distributed in detention centers, Millions of lives of both past and current generations were affected by this ridiculous decision Works Cited Kanemura, Helen S. “Japanese Internment Experience. ” Telephone interview. 25 Oct. 2012. Ling, Laura, and Lisa Ling. Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home.
New York: William Morrow, 2010. Print. National Asian American Telecommunications Association. “Exploring JAI. ” Exploring JAI. National Asian American Telecommunications Association, 2002. Web. 26 Oct. 2012. <http://caamedia. org/jainternment/camps/draft. html>. Nww2m. WDC Japanese Internment Announcement. 1942. Photograph. Nww2m, San Fransisco. Nww2m. Web. <nww2m. com>. Part of Family Education Network. “Japanese Internment in World War II. ” Infoplease. Infoplease, 2007. Web. 26 Oct. 2012. <http://www. infoplease. com/spot/internment1. html>.