George Takei Photo: REUTERS file
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Actor George Takei's manga on internment promotes lesson for future

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By KiMi Robinson

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The US and Canada's internment policy was wrong, but was understandable given the situation at the time. Of all the horrors that occurred in that war, the internment was relatively minor. But today we hear so, so much about it, and so little about much other much more incidents that were a million times more devastating.

-19 ( +9 / -28 )

One can always find excuses, but none can justify putting American citizens into camps and confiscating their businesses and property. Fortunately, the circumstances restraining US government policies spared Japanese Americans the fate that befell the Jews of Europe, but there was very real suffering for tens of thousands and these shameful facts should not be airbrushed from the collective conscience of Americans who, as history shows, are prone to periodic bouts of paranoia.

22 ( +24 / -2 )

There was not a single American of Japanese descent who was charged with espionage or sabotage during the war.

This internment was racially motivated and eagerly embraced by many white farmers and locals on the west coast who wanted the Japanese out of their areas. California itself has had, ironically, a long and sordid history when it came to anti-Asian sentiments starting with the Chinese immigrants and later Japanese immigrants.

25 ( +28 / -3 )

George has lived his life with dignity and class. Thank you for all that you've done and continue to do sir.

The only reason for internment was fear-mongering and racism by political leaders who knew better. J. Edgar Hoover himself stated that there was no evidence of any conspiracies by Japanese-Americans against the US. General John DeWitt, an unrepentant racist in charge of the internment, claimed "The very fact that no sabotage has taken place to date is a disturbing and confirming indication that such action will be taken". In DeWitt's mind, the Japanese-Americans innocence was proof of their guilt. How Orwellian can you get?

23 ( +25 / -2 )

Most Americans know about the Japanese concentration camps, but very few know that it wasn't just the Japanese, the Germans were also imprisoned in concentration camps.

Germans and Italians were put into internment camps as well.

The were so many people of German decent that they only interred those who posed a supposed threat. Italians were put into camps but only nationals and some American Italians but not like the Japanese. I think that they interred like 11,000 Germans, and 3000 Italians. That is considerably less than the Japanese Americans who were uprooted their homes and businesses taken from them. Their money taken from them.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

The policy was understandable because the Japanese government did put spies and other operatives in some Japanese communities. Honolulu is one documented case, where they gathered intelligence around Pearl Harbour. In Malaya-Singapore, local trading houses staffed by Japanese purchased strategic properties and others did and surveys as part of the invasion plan.

See "World at War" and "Out in the Midday Sun" for such descriptions.

A better plan would have been to post small detachments of civil guards in the communities, as it was not unreasonable that these communities along the coast could pose a security threat.

-11 ( +8 / -19 )

As JeffLee similar thougts , thinking 120000 Japanese Amercicans would for not one of them make any spying, is non-sense.

If you know the Japanese way of thinking, you don't take a chance after Pearl Harbor.

It was harsh but not a deat I 've just read.

It seems irrational now. So easy to say afterwards. No easy way to guess who is the one spy with electronic surveillance we use nowadays...

USA can be proud because the comparison with Europe is lightyears away at same times

-13 ( +4 / -17 )

The German internees in Britain were treated very well and most sent north to camps in Scotland. Allowed out to work. After the war many stayed in Scotland. There was a camp not far from our family home in Liverpool.

The Japanese internees were badly treated including the destruction and loss of their property and belongings.

But all internees suffer from a prolonged period. Boredom is the cause.

Today in Gaza there are about 2 million internees.

12 ( +17 / -5 )

Remind me again how POW captured by Japanese were treated? My heart bleeds....not.

-22 ( +5 / -27 )

The Japanese Imperial Army treated POW's brutally but the Japanese internees were not POW's.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

J. Edgar Hoover as well as other influential Americans like Eleanor Roosevelt thought this policy was unnecessary. So the reasoning that it was justified at the time due to war with Japan was no excuse.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

"When Trump signed his first executive order, which was the Muslim travel ban, tens of thousands of Americans rushed to their airports all across the land to protest...

Well what happened during WWII and what is happening now has no correlation, first the Japanese Americans were in the US legally and not coming in illegally to the US, the scenario now is all about illegal immigration (from any country) via the southern border, the Muslim ban was never there, the ban was from few middle eastern countries which was anyway not allowed by the justice system. The situation in the illegal immigrants camps is the same as it was when say Obama / Bush were in office, so did the Japanese Americans living in the US complain and protest then.

So Mr Takei what's you take on no illegal immigration in the land of your forefathers, this should be allowed and embraced ? Your problem is with Trump right, When in the future a republican or democrat president is in the office and does exactly what Trump is doing, but does not speak or tweet about it, everything will be fine.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Not to diminish their horrible experience but George Takei and co have a voice. From his experience, he could do a world of good too, to speak up for the many vulnerable and voiceless detainees in Japanese detention centres and elsewhere in the world.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

A natural treasure. he's trying to pass on an important experience and lesson to all

8 ( +9 / -1 )

A timely lesson. Trump has a plan for rounding up and relocating California's urban homeless to camps like those that housed Japanese internees during WWII. There is a long history of governments rounding up and incarcerating or expelling vagrants - that's how many of the ancestors of those from the US, Australia and other places got there. Times apparently haven't changed that much.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

sf2kToday 11:25 am JSTA natural treasure. he's trying to pass on an important experience and lesson to all

Yes he is. When I met him @ a Trekkie convention he told us about this. He already was noted as pioneering in actors of Oriental Asian descent. He would not take up any role that was stereotypical or degrading to his race. None of that stuff. He was always George Takei the actor, and his career has been groundbreaking and historical for that already. Years later, he 'came out' which surprised me but I have no issue with. I don't have a problem with gay people, but I never would've guessed George was one just like I never would've guessed Rob Halford was either. Now George is an icon for the GLBT community as well.

This man has a lot of wisdom behind his long life. Whatever your race/color/ethnicity may be, gay or not - George Takei has a lot to tell us and we need to listen to guys like him.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Even the Canadians had their own Japanese internment camps too. Sad

6 ( +6 / -0 )

National treasure, indeed.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I don't have a problem with gay people, but I never would've guessed George was one just like I never would've guessed Rob Halford was either.

It's not like we wear a badge or anything

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Anyone interested in the camps for Japanese Americans should read about the Ni'ihau Incident that had a big hand in starting it. But as we are not our brother's keepers its still no excuse for the camps.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Hatred of and bigotry toward the Japanese descended for being Japanese descended was as dumb and hysterical then as it is today. There is no excuse unless stupidity and lack of will is an excuse.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Hatred of and bigotry toward the Japanese descended for being Japanese descended was as dumb and hysterical then as it is today. There is no excuse unless stupidity and lack of will is an excuse.

Indeed and well said, Norman.

Putting Americans of Japanese heritage in camps was a racist and paranoid response. These innocent people did not attack the US.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Putting Americans of Japanese heritage in camps was a racist and paranoid response. These innocent people did not attack the US.

No, but it happened, ignorance and the propaganda belief that Japanese Americans couldn’t be loyal was all part of it, shameful, but we apologized, compensated the Japanese and moved on and they’re one of the most vibrant, decent and productive Americans anyone could ask for.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The German internees in Britain were treated very well and most sent north to camps in Scotland. 

Most internees in Britain were sent to the Isle of Man. Some were sent to Canada. There is a tragic tale of the the ship the Arandora Star that was sunk by a German submarine as it was transporting over a thousand Italian and German internees to Canada. Over 700 died.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's not like we wear a badge or anything

But, if you did, I'll bet they would be absolutely fabulous.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I don't think every single Japanese person in America should've been rounded up like that, even after the spying incident in Hawaii and so on. On the other hand, I've never heard a Japanese-American denounce Japan's imperial history. Screw the war, that was brief in comparison to what happened in Asia

2 ( +3 / -1 )

On the other hand, I've never heard a Japanese-American denounce Japan's imperial history.

Except for Germans good luck finding anyone who denounces the imperial history of any country they have clear roots in. American denial is off the charts. Read the thread and the article. Americans call their imperial history many things, such as Manifest Destiny, police actions, interventions, wars on terror and spreading freedom. I will take plain old ignorance of Japanese and those of Japanese descent any day over that garbage.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Allowed out to work. After the war many stayed in Scotland.

Sorry zichi for taking you up on this point again. I think you are mistaken. Are you not confusing internment camps and POW camps?

Saying "after the war many stayed in Scotland" about internees is wrong. The fact is many of those internees came from Scotland in the first place. It was their home. I'm talking mainly about Italian internees, although perhaps Italian-Scottish is more accurate. They were not treated well. The men in many families were moved to the Isle of Man. Later, the women and children of many of those families were moved away from coastal areas. Many lost their businesses.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Norman Goodman

Anyone interested in the camps for Japanese Americans should read about the Ni'ihau Incident that had a big hand in starting it.

Thank you for mentioning this. I was beginning to think no one else had heard of it. As terrible as the internment was, there was more of a trigger to cause it beyond just labeling it as blanket racism.

I would suggest everyone read up about it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

there was more of a trigger to cause it beyond just labeling it as blanket racism.

Yes. The racism was real, but the hysteria and paranoia were too. We have to keep an eye on many points of human evil and foolishness, and never kid ourselves that any incident was the product of only one point.

But I want to make sure no one thinks I present the Ni'ihau incident as an excuse or fair reason for stuffing unrelated people into camps. As an American living in Japan, if some group of American expats pull some garbage here, say during the Olympics, I don't want to be treated as if I am going to follow suit just because I am also American. How crazy it would be to do so should be obvious....but it won't be once the hysteria starts....bet on it.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Norman GoodmanOct. 7 03:21 pm JST

Anyone interested in the camps for Japanese Americans should read about the Ni'ihau Incident that had a big hand in starting it. But as we are not our brother's keepers its still no excuse for the camps.

> > > >

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Toasted HereticOct. 7 03:02 pm JSTI don't have a problem with gay people, but I never would've guessed George was one just like I never would've guessed Rob Halford was either.

It's not like we wear a badge or anything

During the Nazi era in Germany they certainly did. Gay people had to wear a pink triangle on their clothing, just like Jews had to wear the yellow Star of David and Polish people had to wear a blue 'P' and so on. The Holocaust took the lives of hundreds of thousands of homosexuals. They were part of the 5 million non-Jews who were killed.

And when I was in college during the 90s some of my gay friends wore black buttons featuring the pink triangle with the statement 'Silence = Death'. Older gay celebrities like Takei and Halford 'came out' by simply stating their sexuality themselves. I've met the former and the latter breaks the stereotype as well (heavy metal scream-singer!) and I like them both. I like George Takei, Star Trek and Judas Priest. With all the stupid homophobic 'traits' you get told about when you're a kid, you just don't know - do ya? Most gays don't fit the stereotypes, ever.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"Roosevelt proved himself to be a fallible human being. He made a dreadful, grave mistake," said Takei.

Funny how little understanding he has of the man who put him in a prison camp when he was 5-years-old. Roosevelt was about as fallible as they come, and made many "dreadful , grave mistakes." A pretty miserable president all around, but the war and historians worked to paint him as a great president. War crimes, oppression of immigrants, racism, and economic ruin were his legacies.

Even old George seems to like the guy who locked him up as an innocent child. Sounds like a cult.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

George Takei is such a great moral and upright man. He is such a shining star in an industry that is full of such narcissistic ego maniacs. But not George, he in such humble and sage ways shows what true class is when approaching even sensitive subjects. George indeed teaches us mere mortals what a true crusader of truth and justice is. So brave.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In my humble opinion, FDR was one of the greatest Presidents the US ever had. This is the guy who put in place many of the social nets available to Americas nobodys. He put hundreds of thousands of people to public work out West. Labor Unions, divergents thoughts ( communists/ socialist etc) were tolerated, until after the war and McCarthism started to erode those. Sure, the Japanese detentions were a blight of the time . But any leader leads by making the calls, some right.some wrong. In this case, was wrong and they were compensated for that.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I don't think FDR decided all by himself to round up Japanese Americans and throw them into camps. He wasn't a dictator. The leeway an American president has to go against everyone else in the country is limited. He had military top brass breathing down his neck to do it. It was a popular decision. The Supreme Court backed him up on it after the fact too and that decision haunts us even today regarding government over-reach using the excuse of the war on terror.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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