Japanese Internment

This web site complements a UIUC Government Documents Library exhibit on the internment of Japanese-Americans. The exhibit is located in the wall cases in the south hall of the Main Library building.  This site is intended as a starting point for those interested in finding further information about the history and  treatment of Japanese-Americans during World War II (WWII) on the Internet.  The Government Documents Library also contains relevant materials in its historical print and microfiche collections. Call, e-mail, or stop by the Government Documents Library reference desk for additional information or for help using the library’s collection.


Government Documents

Records of the War Relocation Authority 1941-47
This site is the Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States which includes photographs, resettlement documents, sound recordings, and filmstrips.

Documents and Photographs Related to Japanese Relocation During World War II, National Archives (NARA)
To encourage teachers and students at all levels to use archival documents in the classroom, the  Teachers’ Resources site provides materials, activities and a lesson plan for teaching with primary sources.

Confinement and Ethnicity: An Overview of World War II Japanese American Relocation Sites, National Park Service
This report provides an overview and maps of the War Relocation Authority’s relocation centers, but the Department of Justice and U.S. Army facilities also considered. The goal of the study has been to provide information for the National Landmark Theme Study called for in the Manzanar National Historic Site enabling legislation.

Report to the President: Japanese-American Internment Sites Preservation
This report focuses on the ten Japanese-American War Relocation Centers located in seven States over which the Department of Interior has or had jurisdiction.

Japanese-American historic landmarks : hearing before the Subcommittee on National Parks and Public Lands of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, House of Representatives, 102 Congress, 1st session, on H.R. 543, to establish the Manzanar National Historic Site in the state of California, and for other purposes; H.R. 2351, to authorize a study of nationally significant places in Japanese-American history, hearing held in Washington, DC, May 21, 1991. Print copy available at UIUC Main Stacks, CALL NUMBER: DOC. Y4.IN8/14:102-24.

Dorothea Lange from The Library of Congress
Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) documented ethnic groups and workers uprooted by the war.  The War Relocation Authority hired Lange to photograph Japanese neighborhoods, processing centers, and camp facilities.

The Civil Liberties Act of 1988: Redress for Japanese Americans, US Department of Justice
Although The Office of Redress Administration (ORA) officially closed on February 5, 1999, it was established to identify, locate and pay interned Japanese Americans.  This serves as an informational site regarding the final statistics of ORA and the settlement of the Japanese Latin American lawsuit, Mochizuki v. United States.


Some US Cases

Hirabayashi v. United States 320 U.S. 81(1943)
Yasui vs. United States, 320 U.S. 115 (1943)
Korematsu v. United States 323 U.S. 214 (1944)

Gore Proposes $4.8 Million to Preserve Internment Camps, U.S. Embassy, Japan.
This article discusses Al Gore’s $4.8 million proposal for a new initiative to help preserve internment sites throughout the West and highlights the release of the National Park Service’s report, “Confinement and Ethnicity.


Relocation Centers

America’s Concentration Camps: Remembering The Japanese American Experience This factsheet about the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans is hosted by Hirasaki National Resource Center of the Japanese American National Museum (JANM). It provides a detailed list of the relocation camps.

Manzanar,California is a national historical camping site registered with the National Park Service.

Author Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston also offers Farewell to Manzanar: a true story of Japanese American experience during and after the World War II as a textual resource about Manzanar relocation center.  Available at UIUC Undergrad Stacks — CALL NUMBER: E184.J3 H63 1973. 

Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Wyoming Information from the National Park Service’s National Historic Landmarks Program.
Heart Mountain Interpretive Center maintained by the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation created this site of resources specifically about this relocation center.

Research Guide: Japanese Americans Interned in Arkansas
This site provides a listing of finding aids and other print materials about internment life at Jerome and Rohwer Relocation Centers.  Specifically, Jerome Relocation Center Collection is linkable from this site.

War Relocation Authority Camps in Arizona, 1942-1946
This exhibit features images from approximately forty photographs taken for the War Relocation Authority and depicts life in Arizona’s two camps, the Colorado River Relocation Center (4/1942 – 3/1946) and the Gila River Relocation Center.

The Granada (Amacho) Relocation Center Site Colorado State Archives

Tule Lake Relocation Center, California, Colorado Colorado State Archives

Tule Lake Relocation Center, California University of Utah

Topaz Relocation Center, Utah University of Utah

Minidoka Relocation Center, Idaho Japanese American National Museum

Assembly and Detention Camps, Other Centers

Japanese American Exhibit and Access Project by Theresa Mudrock at University of Washington is a multifaceted project to create a permanent web site which provides enhanced access to the UW Libraries holdings on the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Included in the project is a virtual exhibit focusing on the Puyallup assembly center, Camp Harmony.

The Kooskia Internment Camp Project, Idaho University of Idaho
This obscure, virtually-forgotten World War II detention facility was located in a remote area of north-central Idaho, 30 miles from the town of Kooskia, near the hamlet of Lowell. One of a number of such camps throughout the United States, it was administered by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

Alien Detention Center Fort Missoula, Montana  From the Historical Museum of Fort Missoula, this site has information, a photo gallery, maps, and a video about the center.


Nongovernmental Resources

Chronology of World War II Incarceration outlines the discriminatory practices and eventual incarceration of Japanese Americans by the U.S. government from 1790-1990. Taken fromJapanese American National Museum Quarterly, vol. 9 no. 3 Oct-Dec 1994 pg. 11-16.

Japanese American Incarceration Facts  This factsheet provides a listing of legal protocol executed by the U.S. government.  It is includes the executive orders, government agencies involved, supreme court decisions, as well as assembly centers, concentration camps, Justice Department camps, citizen isolation camps and others. Sponsored by Japanese American National Museum (JANM).

“Dear Miss Breed- Letters from Camp” This digital exhibit highlights the JANM’s collection of letters written to San Diego librarian Clara Breed by Japanese Americans interned in World War II concentration camps.  The significance of these correspondence reveal camp life through the reflections of teenagers who lived through the experience.

Japanese American Relocation Digital Archives  JARDA, a digital collection within the California Digital Library’s (CDL) Online Archive of Califorinia (OAC), documents the experience of Japanese Americans in World War II internment camps. Curators from the eight participating OAC members selected a broad range of primary sources–photographs, documents, manuscripts, paintings, drawings, letters, and oral histories. Over 10,000 digital images have been created to compliment 20,000 pages of electronic transcriptions of document and oral histories.

“The Life and Work of George Hoshida: A Japanese American’s Journey” George Hoshida (1907-1985), an incarcerated artist, documented camp life with pencil and brushwork in a series of notebooks he kept between 1942 and 1945.  Through examples of Hoshida’s artwork and letters with his family, this site hopes to provide insight into one individual’s incarceration experience.

The National Japanese American Historical Society was founded in 1980 in San Francisco.  This non-profit membership supported organization is dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and dissemination of materials relating to the history and culture of Japanese Americans.

Children of the Camps  This PBS documentary captures the experiences of six Americans of Japanese ancestry who were confined as innocent children to internment camps by the U.S. government during World War II. The film vividly portrays their personal journey to heal the deep wounds they suffered from this experience.

Rabbit in the Moon is the PBS companion website to Emiko and Chizu Omori’s “Rabbit in the Moon,” a documentary about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. It uncovers a buried history of political tensions, social and generational divisions, and resistance and collaboration in the camps.
This PBS film delves into the heart of the Japanese American conscience and a controversy that continues today.  In WWII, a handful of young Americans refused to be drafted from an American concentration camp.  They were ready to fight for their country, but not before the government restored their rights as U.S. citizens and released their families from camp. It was a classic example of civil disobedience — but the government prosecuted them as criminals and Japanese American leaders and veterans ostracized them as traitors. Resisters.com supports the PBS Online: Conscience and the Constitution site with additional documentation and updates on news, reviews, upcoming screenings, appearances, and takes orders for videocassettes.

Japanese Internment: Videos in the Media Resources Center UCB
The Media Resources Center (MRC) at UC Berkeley Library offers a primary collection of materials in electronic non-print (audio and visual) formats. These formats include: videocassettes, DVDs (Digital Versatile Discs), and laser discs; compact audio discs; audiocassettes; slides; and computer software.  Check out these recordings!

Japanese American Internment Curriculum
Primarily providing lesson plans for use by teachers in Grades K-12, this site offers Governmental DocumentsFact Sheets, Glossaries, HistoriesU.S. District and Supreme Court DecisionsDocuments from the Camps; and a Bibliography. It was made possible by a grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program .

The Japanese American Legacy Project by Densho
The Project digitally videotapes individuals describing their lives, and telling the stories of their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Preserved are descriptions on everything from their families’ immigration, to the incarceration of the Japanese American community during World War II, to discussions of what it means to be “an American.”

Internment of Japanese Americans
Law Professor Vernellia Randall of The University of Dayton School of Law offers her class website on racism as a resource for the legal issues effecting Japanese Americans as result of internment.  She provides statues, law reviews, cases and additional materials.

Manzanar Ringo-en
Ray DeLea outlines portraits of Manzanar. All Manzanar photographs are from the Ansel Adams Collection at the Library of Congress Archives unless otherwise noted. Text excerpts are cited from ” Manzanar ” by John Armor and Peter Wright.

Japanese-American Veterans’ Association from JAVA
A web site dedicated to Americans of Japanese Ancestry who served in the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) in WWII, and those in the famed 442nd RCT and other organizations to the present day.

War Comes to San Diego (Winter-Spring 1993, Volume 39, Numbers 1-2)
The Journal of San Diego History sponsored San Diego Historical Society offers a series of articles on their site.  These articles include personal accounts of the Nikkei Community.
 Nikkei is used in this context to mean anyone in the U.S. of Japanese ancestry–inclusive of Japanese nationals, Japanese Americans and mixed Japanese racial groups. However, the site also discusses the effects of the war on the Issei.  The Issei represented the first generation immigrants who had been born in Japan and arrived in the United States before the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924.

Breaking the Silence and Why they never told us with Rahna R. Rizzuto
These short news wire articles offered by Salon.com, outlines the author’s confrontation with her family’s and community’s silence about the Japanese Internment. Rizzuto is also the author of
 Why She Left Us : A Novel which is available through the UIUC Online Catalog.

Executive Order 9066
This companion site is offered by the Asian American Studies Center, University of California, Los Angeles. Don Nakanishi and Michael McCone provide the preface to this book that contain over 100 photos of this historical time period.

Internment of San Francisco Japanese is a site of primarily of weekly articles from March-April of 1942 and other helpful information about Japanese internment  Sponsored by: The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco

The Japanese American Network is a partnership of Japanese American organizations based in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. A goal of this partnership is to encourage the use of the Internet and interactive communications technologies to exchange information about Japanese Americans.