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The World War II Incarceration of Japanese Americans

This educational supplement was published by the Seattle Times as part of their Newspapers in Education program on April 29, 2012, commemorating the 70th anniversary of Japanese Americans being removed from Seattle during World War II.

Oral History Interview Clips

The printed supplement included excerpts of interviews from Densho's oral history collections. You can watch the video versions of the clips below. The Densho Archives contain more than 600 full-length interviews along with 10,000+ historic photos, documents and other artifacts. Find out more about free access to the Archives here.

Akiko Kurose "You people bombed Pearl Harbor." — Akiko Kurose

In 1941, Aki was a 16-year-old Seattle high school student. Aki later became a teacher in the Seattle Public Schools. The Aki Kurose Middle School in South Seattle is named after her.
Walt Woodward
"The soldiers were the ones that were crying." — Walt Woodward

Walt was a young publisher of the Bainbridge Island Review when World War II started. Although it caused him to lose advertisers, Walt published a weekly article about life inside the camps written by various Bainbridge Islanders incarcerated at Manzanar and Minidoka. This press coverage helped make Bainbridge Island more welcoming to Japanese Americans when they returned after the war. In this interview, Walt recalls a scene from 1942, when Japanese Americans from Bainbridge Island, Washington, were being loaded on trains in Seattle.
Norman Mineta
"Right after September 11 they were saying, 'Take all of these Arab Americans and Muslims and put them in camps.'" — Norman Mineta

Norman Mineta was incarcerated as a child at the Heart Mountain concentration camp in Wyoming. He was later elected to Congress, and served as Secretary of Transportation under President George W. Bush. In this interview, he describes a meeting of the U.S. Cabinet and Congressional leaders the day after the terrorist acts on September 11, 2001.
Nadine Hamoui
"History doesn't repeat itself, it's people that repeat history." — Nadine Hamoui

Nadine is a Muslim American whose experience post-9/11 is strikingly similar to that of Japanese Americans post-Pearl Harbor. She recounts a frightening episode when federal agents raided her family home in the early morning hours a few months after September 11, 2001. She and her parents were detained at the Seattle Immigration and Naturalization Service Center for nine months. Eventually, Nadine and her parents were released and granted permanent resident status.

Download Educational Supplement and Teacher's Guide

Download the educational supplement and teacher's guide for the supplement from the Seattle Times Newspapers in Education (NIE) program website.

Densho Teacher Workshop

Join the creators of the educational supplement to explore ways to use primary source materials in the classroom. The teacher workshop will be held in Seattle on Saturday, June 9th.


Funding for this publication was generously provided by the Atsuhiko & Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation.

The information about Chloe in the opening story came from, This American Life, show 445: Ten Years In, originally broadcast on Sept. 9, 2011. Hear the original story or read the show transcript at the TAL website.

This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

This material received federal financial assistance for the preservation and interpretation of U.S. confinement sites where Japanese Americans were detained during World War II. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended, the U.S. Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability or age in its federally funded projects.

If you believe you have been discriminated against in any program, activity or facility as described above, or if you desire further information please write to:

Office of Equal Opportunity
National Park Service
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240

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