Japanese internment | KUOW News and Information

Japanese internment

Courtesy of Lynette Hoy

Author Lori Tsugawa Whaley grew up in a rural, mostly white community disconnected from her Japanese heritage. She didn’t even realize there was something different about her until she faced teasing and prejudice in grade school. 

Growing up Japanese-American in a time of Islamophobia

Feb 18, 2017
Sophia Stephens.
Courtesy of Sophia Stephens via Youth Radio

Recently, my mother sent a picture of our traditional Hinamatsuri dolls.

In the past, my sister and I helped her unpack each doll – about 16 in total – and arrange them on a precarious platform in our living room.

This time, it was just the emperor and empress sitting on top of the family piano.

The picture was gorgeous, but something felt wrong. I quickly realized that it embodied how it felt growing up Japanese American: beautiful but abbreviated.

Caption by photographer Dorothea Lange: Ester Naite, an office worker from Los Angeles, operates an electric iron in her quarters at Manzanar, California, a War Relocation Authority center where evacuees of Japanese ancestry will spend the duration.
Dorothea Lange/Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division Washington, DC 20540 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print

It’s not often that we look back on ugly times in our nation’s history. We’re not very good at that as Americans.

But the Japanese internment has been coming up a lot lately.

This weekend marks 75 years since President Roosevelt's executive order that sent Japanese-Americans to internment camps.

Roy Ebihara and his wife, 82-year-old Aiko, were children then, and both were held in camps with their families.

At StoryCorps, 83-year-old Roy told Aiko about what happened in his hometown of Clovis, N.M., in the weeks just before the executive order was issued.

KUOW PHOTO/BILL RADKE

Bill Radke speaks with author Frank Abe about his 2000 documentary "Conscience and the Constitution," which looks at Japanese who resisted their internment in American camps during World War II. Abe explains why this resistance was so controversial at the time, why it means so much now and what modern resistance looks like. 

Bill Radke talks with writer and Humanities Washington speaker Mayumi Tsutakawa about the 75th anniversary of the World War II order that led to Japanese internment in America. Tsutukawa explains her own personal connection to internment, and how it can help educate about modern prejudices.

Photo taken from a Japanese plane during the Pearl Harbor attack
Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy

Fujiko Tamura Gardner was 9 years old when Pearl Harbor was attacked. She remembers hearing about it on the radio at her parents’ farm in Fife, Washington.

“I just remember the horror and not really understanding what was going on and what was going to happen,” Gardner said.

Shiyogi Kawabata, 88, worked on a wooden chain (below) while interned at Minidoka, a Japanese internment camp in Idaho.
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

At 88, Shiyoji Kawabata remembers the harsh conditions he and his family endured in the Minidoka Relocation Center during World War II.

Ticks. Coyotes. Scorpions. Black widow spiders.

Online editor Isolde Raftery reads an old residential ledger at the Puget Sound Regional Branch of the Washington State Archives in Bellevue.
KUOW Photo/Amina Al-Sadi

First, an admission.

We were clueless when we started researching the house at 1643 South King Street in Seattle's International District.

Living witnesses to the forced relocation of West Coast Japanese-Americans during World War II are growing fewer every year. Many who were incarcerated are in their 80s and 90s now.

KUOW Photo/Jeannie Yandel

Jeannie Yandel visits the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, which recently underwent a name change. She speaks with memorial board member Lily Kodoma and Congressman Derek Kilmer about the significance of adding the word "exclusion" to the site which honors the residents of Japanese descent who were forcibly removed from the island during World War II.

Memories Of Exclusion Inspire Seattle Architect's Work

Jul 28, 2014
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

Seattle architect Johnpaul Jones will receive the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama on Monday. The White House says he will be the second Native American to receive the medal.

YouTube

Ross Reynolds speaks with film maker Don Sellers and Karen Matsumoto, the daughter of World War II hero Roy Matsumoto. 

Roy Matsumoto enlisted in the army to get out of a Japanese American internment camp. He went on to serve  as a translator for the Merrill’s Marauders behind enemy lines in the Burma and won a medal for outstanding bravery.

KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

One of the first signs of spring is when the cherry trees bloom at the University of Washington. The iconic trees on the quad have become a symbol of the University’s ties to Japan. Yesterday, the University celebrated a gift from Japan — 18 new cherry trees to add to the campus.

One of the 30 young cherry trees the University of Washington dedicated in a ceremony on Tuesday.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

In a ceremony on Tuesday morning, the University of Washington dedicated more than 30 young cherry trees, gifts from Japan.

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