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Prisoners of war in their own damn country.” -Mike Shinoda
The U.S. entered World War II after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. In February 1942, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which prescribed military areas for the prevention of espionage. The order resulted in the forced relocation of all persons of Japanese ancestry to relocation centers. Roosevelt’s order affected ca. 120,000 people of Japanese descent, two-thirds of whom were native-born citizens, and none had shown disloyalty. Within weeks, military officials ordered all Japanese persons to leave their homes and report to assembly centers, where they were sent to relocation centers located in desolate areas of California, Idaho, Utah, Arkansas, Wyoming, Arizona, Colorado, and Arkansas. Four or five families shared tar-papered barracks. Barbed wire and guard towers, with guns pointing inward, surrounded the camps. In December 1944 Roosevelt rescinded the order, resulting in the evacuation and closing of all camps by 1946. However, many of the internees permanently lost their homes, businesses, property, and savings, and had to completely rebuild their lives.
Discussion Question Set:
1. Examine the following photos and listen to “Kenji” by Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, a Japanese American whose paternal grandfather’s family was interned at a “relocation center” during World War II. Read the lyrics while listening to the song, which includes samples of interviews with Shinoda’s father and aunt. In an interview with Hyphen Magazine (2006), Shinoda said, “…[My] uncle, who is a very stoic Japanese guy, cried when he heard the song.” How do the lyrics of the song convey the effects of internment on the psyche of Japanese Americans? To optionally read another interview with Shinoda, click “Back Story: A Different Tune with Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda” (2016).
2. Do you think the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II was justified? Why or why not?
Fort Minor. “Kenji.” The Rising Tied. Machine Shop, Warner Bros., 2005. Youtube.
A Japanese American storefront in Oakland, California, after the Pearl Harbor attack, 1942
Exclusion Order posted San Francisco directing the removal of persons of Japanese ancestry, 1942
Relocation Trains in California, 1942
Japanese American boys inside a Relocation Camp, 1942
Requirements: The necessary