The Japanese history tells us the story of the Japanese sharing many common feelings and hardships with thousands of other immigrants who came to Hawai’i. Starting with the first wave, the Gannen Mono, in 1868, the legacies and values passed on from generation and carried on today. The Japanese had to leave their homes in Japan to make a better life for themselves and their families. Through their struggles, of course, the Japanese immigrants were hesitant of stepping foot onto a foreign land to have their country patriotism questioned and their loyalty.
More than 110,000 Japanese were relocated to nternment camps built by the U. S. military in scattered locations around the country. In this paper, my purpose is to illustrate about the Executive Order 9066 and the War Relocation Authority. Also the daily life, mindsets of internees, and interesting happenings at Tule Lake, Minidoka, and Rohwer Internment Camps (“World War |I Japanese-American Internment Camp Documents, 1942-1946”). After the incident of Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 on February 1942.
He stated, “against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense remises, and national-defense utilities. ” Meaning to authorize the removal of any people from military areas, “as deemed necessary or desirable” (“Roosevelt Signs Executive Order 9066”). By June, more than 110,000 Japanese were relocated to internment camps built by the U. S. military in scattered locations around the country. The ten internment camps were Gila River, Granada, Heart Mountain, Jerome, Manzanar, Minidoka, Poston, Rohwer, Tule Lake, and Topaz internment Camps.
For the next two to three years, many of these Japanese endured extremely difficult living conditions and had poor treatment (History). Moreover, on this day, the War Relocation authority is created to, “take all people of Japanese descent into custody, surround them with troops, prevent them from buying land, and return them to their former homes at the close of the war. ” It was established on March 18, 1942. The quality of life in a relocation center was only slightly better than prison: Families were separated into 20 by 25 foot rooms and forced to use shared bathrooms.
No razors, scissors, or radios were allowed. If children were in the war relocation, they would attend the War Relocation Authority schools (“War Relocation Authority Is Established in United States”). In between the daily life, mindsets of internees, and interesting happenings at Tule Lake, Minidoka, and Rohwer Internment Camps were complicated yet they tried to make it normal as possible. In May 27, 1942, The Tule Lake Relocation Center, California was opened.
It was one of the largest centers because they had additional troops and tanks, the building were surrounded by a 6 feet high fence topped with barbed wire, and about 20 watch towers surrounding the camp (“Building a Comuinty under Crisis”). Nonetheless, Japanese prisoners held strikes demanding their rights under the U. S. Constitution because they thought their lifestyle was unfair. Tule Lake held about 19,000 internees within a space only to hold 15,000, which is more than they had too. It was the last camp to be closed on March 20, 1946 (“Japanese – Behind the Wire”).
During the loyalty questionnaire, 42 percent of the internees at Tule Lake answered “no-no” to both loyalty questions or did not answer them at all compared with 10 percent at the other centers, and were considered “disloyal” (“Tule Lake”). In one incident, 35 Nisei teenage boys who had protested or failed to turn in the questionnaire by the eadline were arrested and taken to Jail. Overtime, the next two months more than a hundred additional internees were put in jail. Because of the numerous strikes and boycotts Tule Lake was considered as a “trouble spot”.
By summer of 1943 the Tule Lake was converted into a maximum security and became the Tule Lake Segregation Center. Martial law was declared and the military police took control of the center. Prisoners, and whoever refused to take the loyalty oath or had caused disturbances, were shipped from all the western states and Hawaii (“Tule Lake”). As difficult as it was, they did their best to aintain a normal life. Children attended school from elementary through high school, most students attended Japanese school for half a day and American school for the other half of the day.
Each block had buildings used for offices, stores, a beauty parlor, a barber shop, judo halls and churches. Those who are interested in sports played at the sports venues, included 31 baseball fields and a sumo wrestling pit (“Tule Lake”). The community staff organized cultural programs, sports and youth activities, and bands. The most interesting part about Tule Lake is that it is known for their farm produce, pproximately 3,000 acres were used for the farm operations known as the “colony. ” The farm produced barley, potatoes, onions, carrots, grains, and other vegetables (“Building a Comuinty under Crisis”).
The second camp is Minidoka, Idaho. It is considered the third largest camp. It opened on August 10, 1942 to October 28, 1945. Minidoka was considered a good model environment because it had a peaceful atmosphere, and community that got along well with the administration (“Minidoka Relocation Center”). They were one of the lucky camps, that the security was somewhat lighter than at most other camps. Minidoka had a major downside, it was the environment. The environment is extremely harsh, with temperatures ranging from 30 degrees below zero to as high as 115 degrees.
Minidoka also had many dust storms, and whenever it rains, they had to deal with ankle deep mud. When the first arrivals at Minidoka in August 1942, they moved into barracks even though much of the camp was unfinished and there was no running water or sewage system (Japanese – Behind the Wire). The last group of 500 internes arrived at the camp had to sleep in mess halls, laundry rooms, or any available bed space. Living conditions were difficult and cramped. Families of up to eight or more lived in the one room apartment.
When the dust storms hit, the people could not see more than a couple of feet ahead of them, and many suffered from sore throats and nosebleeds. The camp had two elementary schools, and one high school. The camp also had a libraries, hospitals, fire stations, bands, choirs, orchestras, and cultural activities. In the winter, a small pond became an ice skating rink for people to enjoy skating on. Minidoka was also known for their agriculture production and manufacturing to produce food. For instance, they produce vegetables, potatoes, beans and onions.
If other camps had a shortage on food, Minidoka Internment Camp were able to provide food for some of the other camps as well. Because of the shortage of farm labor during the war, the Japanese Americans at Minidoka were a valuable source for southern Idaho’s agricultural based economy. By doing so, Minidoka was able to support the war effort by working harder and doubling their wartime production for whoever worked in the agriculture (“Minidoka Relocation Center”). Many Japanese were looked down upon because they had the face of an enemy.
Those who had not been interned were finally allowed to join the U. S. military and fight in the war in 1943. This was the only way that they thought would prove their loyalty to the United States. More than 17,000 Japanese Americans fought in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (“Roosevelt Signs Executive Order 9066”). After they fought in the Italian campaign, the Japanese American soldiers proved to the United States that they were loyal. The regiment won many medals, awards, and citations for their hard work. Finally after proven their loyalty and gained trust from the United States, on December 17, 1944, the U. S. Major General Henry Pratt issued a Public Proclamation.
Declaring that on January 2, 1945, Japanese from the West Coast could return to their homes. After the incident, in 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill to recompense all the surviving Japanese internee with a check for $20,000 and an apology letter from the U. S. government (“War Relocation Authority Is Established in United States”). Of course, there were some who took the money and many did not accept the money. Many did not accept the money because it does not measure up to what the Japanese went through; it left a huge scar and burden on them (“Roosevelt Signs Executive Order 9066”).