From the Archive
From Island to Mainland: Detainees of Hawaii
"I think the project of taking all of the Japs out of Oahu and putting them in a concentration camp on some other island in the group ought to be pressed vigorously."
-- Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox
The incoherent justification for rounding up and detaining Japanese Americans during World War II can clearly be seen in one striking comparison: In Hawaii, the territory attacked by the Japanese enemy where espionage might reasonably be suspected, people of Japanese ancestry formed more than 35% of the population. By war's end barely 1% were detained. On the mainland, less vulnerable to attack, Japanese Americans represented roughly 1% of the population. Within months, every man, woman, and child of Japanese heritage was forced from the West Coast and imprisoned. If the generals in charge had been exchanged, a dark blot on American history might have been averted. In command of the West Coast, General John DeWitt told Congress, "A Jap's a Jap...There is no way to determine their loyalty." In Hawaii, General Delos Emmons told the public, "We must remember that this is America, and we must do things the American Way. We must distinguish between loyalty and disloyalty among our people."
>> Read more of this article
Call for National Interviewee Nominations
Nominate a friend or family member to become part of the award-winning
Densho Digital Archive of video oral histories. Their life stories
about the Japanese American incarceration will be preserved for the
education of future generations. Our interview team is traveling
around the country to gather oral histories from multiple perspectives
that will paint a complete picture of the World War II mass detention
and the postwar period of redress and healing.
You may submit nomination forms by mail (1416 S. Jackson St., Seattle,
WA 98144), fax (206-320-0098), or email ([email protected]).
>> Download the interviewee selection criteria
>> Download the interviewee nomination form
Densho Presents in Denver and Salt Lake City
Tom Ikeda, Executive Director of Densho, will share video interviews
from recent trips to Denver and Salt Lake City in two presentations
scheduled for July. He will present on Friday, July 4, from 3 to
5 p.m. in Denver at the national conference hosted by the Japanese
American National Museum. In a multimedia presentation, Tom will show
video clips about Colorado's Japanese American community and share
recently acquired photographs from the Amache concentration camp.
Tom's second presentation will be the morning of Friday, July 18, at
the national convention of the Japanese American Citizens League in
Salt Lake City. He will show video clips from interviews with members
of the Salt Lake City Japanese American community produced in
partnership with the Topaz Museum.
>> Visit the Denver conference website
>> Visit the Salt Lake City conference website
Densho Staff Blog
Earlier this year we created a blog to allow Densho staff members to
communicate during times of heavy travel. We think readers of the
eNews might like to take a behind-the-scenes look at Densho. In the
blog we write about the people we interview, friends and colleagues
we meet, and assorted day-to-day activities and thoughts about
Densho's work and related news. We like to hear from our readers.
Please visit the blog and feel free to post a comment.
>> Visit the Densho blog