On my research for my next novel, Myself in Blue (soon to be released), I had the great opportunity to learn more about many historical and medical subjects. One of the most compelling and interesting ones was the history of Japanese descendants living in the United States before, during and after WWII.
Their position was difficult after Pearl Harbor; the general public didn’t believe their loyalty to America, and the government decided not to risk and send many to War Relocation Camps. Without trials, without investigations. They were just removed.
Sixty-two percent of the internees were American citizens. There weren’t camps for German or Italian descendants.
Not only there was little to no evidence of Japanese disloyalty, but also thousands of patriotic brave Japanese descendants were essential in the US Army then. Serving in all branches of the United States Armed Forces, those men fought, translated and interpreted for the US. Their efforts were extremely important to the end of the war.
It took them a long time, but after much pressure from the Japanese American Citizens League and redress organizations, President Ronald Reagan in 1980 signed into law the Civil Liberties Act, finally officially apologizing on behalf of the U.S. government.
$20,000 to each individual camp survivor was paid as reparation, in a total of over $1.6 billion to 82,219 Japanese Americans who had been interned and their heirs.
As the legislation later admitted, the actions were based on “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership”.
There are three very interesting documentaries on YouTube about those topics I wanted to share with you. Let’s learn more about this shameful subject, hoping nothing similar will ever happen again.
Some details about the controversial Japanese War Camps in the US during WWII can be seen on:
To learn about the pivotal participation of Japanese-Americans in the US Army in WWII, watch: