Natalie CastañedaComment

Executive order that incarcerated Japanese Americans is 75

Natalie CastañedaComment
Executive order that incarcerated Japanese Americans is 75

Satsuki Ina was born behind barbed wire in a prison camp during World War II, the daughter of U.S. citizens forced from their home without due process and locked up for years following Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.

Roughly 120,000 Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans were sent to desolate camps that dotted the West because the government claimed they might plot against the U.S. Thousands were elderly, disabled, children or infants too young to know the meaning of treason. Two-thirds were citizens.


This May 23, 1943 photo shows a Japanese relocation camp in Tule Lake, Calif. Tule Lake is at left, under Mount Shasta. Roughly 120,000 Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans were sent to desolate camps that dotted the West because the government claimed they might plot against the U.S. Thousands were elderly, disabled, children or infants too young to know the meaning of treason. Two-thirds were citizens. (AP Photo)

 

This 1945 photo provided by the family shows Shizuko Ina, with her son, Kiyoshi, left, and daughter, Satsuki, in a prison camp in Tule Lake, Calif. This photo was made by a family friend who was a soldier at the time, since cameras were considered contraband at the camp. Satsuki was born at the camp. (Courtesy of the Ina family via AP)


And now, as survivors commemorate the 75th anniversary of the executive order that authorized their incarceration, they're also speaking out to make sure that what happened to them doesn't happen to Muslims, Latinos or other groups.

They're alarmed by recent executive orders from President Donald Trump that limit travel and single out immigrants.

In January, Trump banned travelers from seven majority Muslim nations from entering the U.S., saying he wanted to thwart potential attackers from slipping into the country. A federal court halted the ban. Trump said at a news conference Thursday that he would issue a replacement order next week.

"We know what it sounds like. We know what the mood of the country can be. We know a president who is going to see people in a way that could victimize us," said Ina, a 72-year-old psychotherapist who lives in Oakland, California.


This Feb. 10, 2017 photo shows Satsuki Ina at her home in Oakland, Calif. Ina was born behind barbed wire in a prison camp during World War II, the daughter of U.S. citizens forced from their home and locked up for years following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)


President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, to protect against espionage and sabotage. Notices appeared ordering people of Japanese descent to report to civil stations for transport.

Desperate families sold off belongings for cheap and packed what they could. The luckier ones had white friends who agreed to care for houses, farms and businesses in their absence.


Officials of the Seattle Japanese - American Citizens League post signs outside league office March 11, 1942 notifying Seattle's Japanese population that all must register for themselves and their families. This is to facilitate possible future evacuation orders. (AP Photo)

This Bainbridge Island Japanese man and wife give a farewell pat to their dog in Seattle, Washington, March 31, 1942 as they leave their island home for California internment camp. Army orders prohibited Japanese being interred from taking anything but personnel clothing, silverware, etc. Other belongings are being kept stored for the duration in a large warehouse under 24-hour armed guard. (AP Photo)


"Others who couldn't pay their mortgage, couldn't pay their bills, they lost everything. So they had to pretty much start from scratch," said Rosalyn Tonai, 56, executive director of the National Japanese American Historical Society in San Francisco.

Tonai was shocked to learn in middle school that the U.S. government had incarcerated her mother, aunts and grandparents. Her family hadn't talked about it. Her mother, a teenager at the time, said she didn't remember details.

Her organization, the Japanese American Citizens League and others oppose the use of the word "internment." They say the government used euphemisms such as "internment," ''evacuation," and "non-alien" to hide the fact that U.S. citizens were incarcerated and the Constitution violated.


The groups say this White House has what they see as the same dangerous and flippant attitude toward the Constitution. Japanese-American lawmakers expressed horror when a Donald Trump supporter cited the camps as precedent for a Muslim registry.

The Japanese American Citizens League "vehemently" objected to executive orders signed by Trump last month, to build a wall along the Mexican border, punish "sanctuary" cities that protect people living in the country illegally, and limit refugees and immigrants from entering the country.


"Although the threat of terrorism is real, we must learn from our history and not allow our fears to overwhelm our values," the statement read in part.

Hiroshi Kashiwagi was 19 when his family was ordered from their home in Northern California's Placer County and to a temporary detention center.


In this Feb. 10, 2017 photo, Hiroshi Kashiwagi speaks during an interview at his home in San Francisco. Kashiwagi was 19 when his family was ordered from their home in Northern California’s Placer County and to a temporary detention center during World War II. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

In this Feb. 10, 2017 photo, Hiroshi Kashiwagi holds 1945 photos of himself at an internment camp in Tule Lake, Calif., at his home in San Francisco. Today, Kashiwagi, 94, is a poet and writer who speaks to the public about life at Tule Lake, a maximum security camp near the Oregon border. Winters were cold, the summers hot. They were helpless against dust storms that seeped inside. "I feel obligated to speak out, although it's not a favorite subject," he said. "Who knows what can happen? The way this president is, he does not go by the rules. I'm hoping that he would be impeached." (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

In this Feb. 10, 2017 photo, Hiroshi Kashiwagi speaks during an interview at his home in San Francisco. Kashiwagi was 19 when his family was ordered from their home in Northern California’s Placer County and to a temporary detention center during World War II. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)


He remembers slaughtering his prized chickens— New Hampshire Reds— for his mother to cook with soy sauce and sugar. She stored the bottled birds in sturdy sacks to take on the trip. The family ate the chickens at night to supplement meals. The birds didn't last long.

Today, Kashiwagi, 94, is a poet and writer in San Francisco who speaks to the public about life at Tule Lake, a maximum security camp near the Oregon border. Winters were cold, the summers hot. They were helpless against dust storms that seeped inside.

"I feel obligated to speak out, although it's not a favorite subject," he said. "Who knows what can happen? The way this president is, he does not go by the rules. I'm hoping that he would be impeached."
Orders against Japanese-Americans were revoked after the war ended in 1945. They returned to hostility and discrimination in finding work or places to live.

A congressional commission formed in 1980 blamed the incarceration on "race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership." In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill to compensate every survivor with a tax-free check for $20,000 and a formal apology from the U.S. government.


Ina said that only then did her mother, Shizuko, feel she got her face back, her dignity returned. By then her father, Itaru, had died.

"This is a burden we've been carrying, and if we can make that burden into something meaningful that could help and protect other people, then it becomes not so much an obligation but more as a responsibility," Ina said.

After Trump's election, Ina vowed to reach out to the Muslim community and protest and tell everyone about what happened to her family. She brought her message to a gathering of camp survivors in the Los Angeles area.

"And this old woman, she had a cane, she said, 'OK. I'm going to tell everybody about what happened. This is very bad. It's happening again,'" she said. "It's that kind of spirit."


Bargains, with articles marked down as much as 40 percent, were on everywhere in Los Angeles' "Little Tokyo", March 5, 1942, as its Japanese residents prepare to leave following the issuance of orders for the evacuation of enemy aliens and American-born Japanese from specified combat zones along the Pacific coast. T. Horiuchi, proprietor of one of the largest Asian art stores in the district, posts a sale sign in his window. Alongside is a sign declaring, "We are 100 percent for the United States." (AP Photo)

 

In preparation for the evacuation of Los Angeles' famed "Little Tokyo" section as a result of the ordering of 300,000 aliens and American-born Japanese from various Pacific coast combat zones, 20-year-old Yeichi Shoji, right, helps clear the shelves of the dry goods store operated by his parents, March 5, 1942, as Taro Sasai, 7, looks on. Shoji was born in the living quarters at the rear of the store, his elder brother is a soldier in the U.S. Army. (AP Photo/John T. Burns)

 

Interned Japanese, carrying belongings in paper bags, leave Seattle by train for Fort Missoula, Montana, March 19, 1942, while relatives waved through station cars, right. A group of 150 internees had been held in the Seattle immigration station. (AP Photo)

Japanese citizens wait in line for their assigned homes at an internment camp reception center in Manzanar, Calif., on March 24, 1942. Many were forced from their homes in Los Angeles by the U.S. Army. (AP Photo)

 

In this April 1942 photo made available by the Library of Congress, children at the Weill public school in San Francisco recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Some of them are evacuees of Japanese ancestry who will be housed in War Relocation Authority centers for the duration of the war. Roughly 120,000 Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans were sent to camps that dotted the West because the government claimed they might plot against the U.S. (Dorothea Lange/U.S. War Relocation Authority via AP)

 

How evacuation of Japanese from Seattle would affect a second grade class in a local school is shown in these two views in Seattle, Wash., March 27, 1942. At the top is a crowded classroom with many Japanese pupils and at the bottom is the same class without the Japanese scholars. Vacancies caused by such an evacuation would probably be filled by children of defense workers moving into a nearby housing project. (AP Photo)

Seattle crowds jam an overhead walk to witness mass evacuation of Japanese from Bainbridge Island, Washington, March 30, 1942. Somewhat bewildered, but not protesting, some 225 Japanese men, women and children were taken by ferry, bus and train to California internment camps. Evacuation was carried out by the army. (AP Photo)

In this March 30, 1942 photo, Cpl. George Bushy, left, a member of the military guard which supervised the departure of 237 Japanese people for California, holds the youngest child of Shigeho Kitamoto, center, as she and her children are evacuated from Bainbridge Island, Wash. Roughly 120,000 Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans were sent to desolate camps that dotted the West because the government claimed they might plot against the U.S. (AP Photo)

 

In this April 6, 1942 photo, a boy sits on a pile of baggage as he waits for his parents, as a military policeman watches in San Francisco. More than 650 citizens of Japanese ancestry were evacuated from their homes and sent to Santa Anita racetrack, an assembly center for war relocation of alien and American-born Japanese civilians. (AP Photo)

 

The Santa Anita Park race track is converted into an internment for evacuated Japanese Americans who will occupy the barracks erected in background in Arcadia, Ca., April 3, 1942 during World War II.  (AP Photo)

 

The statue of Seabiscuit, famous race horse, attracts members of an interned Japanese after they arrived at the Santa Anita race track in Arcadia, Calif., April 3, 1942. They were among the first group of evacuees to be quartered at the big racing plant which was converted into an assembly center for evacuated Japanese. (AP Photo/John T. Burns)

 

A group of Japanese evacuees moving into this war relocation authority center in Manzanar, California June 19, 1942. They seem cheerful enough. (AP Photo)

 

Japanese removed from their Los Angeles homes at the government’s alien camp at Manzanar, Calif.,  March 23, 1942. (AP Photo)

 

A picture of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, military nemesis of the Japanese forces, hung in a flace of honor, March 24, 1942 on the wall of the room of Gene Hashimoto (left) and Mary Wada was at the reception center established at Manzanar in the Owens Valley for Japanese evacuated from Los Angeles. Miss Hashimoto wrote friends at home of the new life at the hastily constructed community. (AP Photo)

 

The first wedding at the assembly center. Pete Miyashito is being married to Toya Matashito, with the Reverend Donald T. Toriumi of the Presbyterian Church officiating in Santa Anita, California  July 2, 1942. There are 20 Protestant Ministers and five Buddhist Priests interned at the center. (AP Photo)

 

Japanese are making themselves comfortable in their barrack-like surroundings. They are helping the construction of building and planning farms for the future. A group surveys the lands in hope of starting a garden  March 27, 1942. (AP Photo)

 

Using light tractors, Japanese residents of their Relocation Center at Tule Lake  California May 22, 1943, begin planting potatoes in the several hundred acres of fertile soil of reclaimed old Tule Lake  (stet). (AP Photo)

 

An American soldier guards a Japanese internment camp at Manzanar, Calif., May 23, 1943. (AP Photo)

 

Mitsutaro Miyahara is in charge of the shoe shop at Tule Lake, Calif., Japanese relocation center.  Miyahara holds a pair of shoes he made of wood and he made the leather ones in the foreground, May 21, 1943. (AP Photo)

 

Nurses hold four new arrivals to the Tule Lake, Calif., Japanese Relocation Center May 21, 1943. Nurses from left to right are: Mary Nitta, Ruby Fujicki, Masako Nakadoi and Katsumi Ogawa. (AP Photo)

 

These 48 Japanese Americans from the Granada Relocation Center near Lamar, Colorado, reported for preinduction physical examinations at the Denver Induction Station Tuesday, February 22, 1944. (AP Photo)

A Japanese family returns from a relocation center camp in Hunt, Idaho, to find their home and garage vandalized with anti-Japanese graffiti and broken windows in Seattle, Wa., May 10, 1945.  (AP Photo)

 

The aged, the sick and women with nursing babies are among  427 persons of Japanese origin returning in a special train from the Rohwer, Ark., Relocation Center to California ride in this tourist Pullman, July 28, 1945. (AP Photo)

In this Feb. 10, 2017 photo, Satsuki Ina holds up an identification tag issued to her mother, Shizuko Ina, at her home in Oakland, Calif. As Japanese Americans mark the 75th anniversary of the executive order that authorized their incarceration, they're speaking out against new presidential orders that limit travel and target immigrants. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

 In this April 27, 2002 photo, a copy of a poster from 1942 is posted in front of an antique Greyhound bus in downtown Watsonville, Calif., as participants reenact what happened to their relatives exactly 60 years earlier during their internment in 1942. Roughly 120,000 Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans were sent to desolate camps that dotted the West because the government claimed they might plot against the U.S. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)


Text from the AP news story, Executive order that incarcerated Japanese Americans is 75, by Janie Har. 

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