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Solemn monument to Japanese American WWII detainees lists more than 125,000 names

38 Comments
By AKIRA OLIVIA KUMAMOTO

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38 Comments
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It's unfortunate to compare the experience of military personnel versus civilians, most of whom were citizens of the USA.

12 ( +19 / -7 )

Former president Ronald Reagan ordered survivors to be compensated to the amount of 10,000 dollars - not much, but recognition that an injustice had been done.

Meanwhile, the few non-Japanese who resided in Japan at the war's outbreak were also interned; about 10% of them died in the camps, most of malnutrition. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/backstories/1281/#:~:text=Japan%20began%20its%20internment%20policy,estimated%20to%20have%20been%20detained.

-4 ( +19 / -23 )

There is a Japanese Overseas Migration Museum in Yokohama, and in 2010 the National Museum of Japanese History (in Sakura, Chiba) held a special exhibition titled “Japanese Immigrants in the United States and the War Era,” but Japan sadly does not appear to have a museum dedicated to recording and remembering its own wartime atrocities.

-4 ( +18 / -22 )

These Japanese were loyal American

14 ( +23 / -9 )

I think the reason so many people react strongly to stories like this is that they are used to perpetuate the idea that Japanese were the victims in WW2. 

The Japanese were victims, as were every other party in the war. It is the anti-Japan users who use whataboutism to deflect all blame onto the Japanese. Hypocrisy.

14 ( +31 / -17 )

These Japanese were loyal American

All of them?

There was a very strong connection to the home country and loyalty to the Emperor.

Most first generation Japanese Americans had poor English and therefore read Japanese language newspapers.

The US security system also read those newspapers and very aware of the mindset that was being promoted by propaganda from Tokyo.

No, not all of them were loyal Americans.

The tightness of the immigrant society, mistrust of US authorities, language barrier and open veneration of the Emperor meant that they were unfortunately all grouped together.

This does not alleviate the fact that their land, businesses and capital was confiscated and auctioned (often behind closed doors) to white patriotic Americans.

-9 ( +17 / -26 )

Niihau incident was important and often overlooked. However, Unlike the internment of people from Germany or Italy, the Japanese were rounded up by race whereas the Germans and Italians were targeted individuals who were deemed a threat to the U.S. U.S. POWs and other prisoners under the Japanese were treated cruelly but the Japanese Americans who were imprisoned were non-combatants. I also agree with another post that Japan often uses this to portray itself as a victim but the injustice of the internment should not be overlooked and whitewashed because of current Japanese views or revisionist history. THAT war brought out the worst in humanity and we are still grappling with the truth and the sooner we face and learn from the truth, perhaps we'll be able to avoid making the same mistake again. But we're not. Islamophobia, anti-antisemitism, racism, and all of the other "isms" are still rampant and we are hating just as much as we did before and being led by people who know how to manipulate the masses for their own gain.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

garymalmgrenToday  08:54 am JST

These Japanese were loyal American

All of them?

There was a very strong connection to the home country and loyalty to the Emperor.

Most first generation Japanese Americans had poor English and therefore read Japanese language newspapers.

It is not unreasibable to say "all of them". Because those who willfully chose to return to Japan, and those who refused to sign a legal declaration of allegiance to the United States were deported. So those who were left and incarcerated were "loyal Americans". The kind whose familes sent their sons to Europe,

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/the-nisei-soldiers-who-fought-wwii-enemies-abroad-seen-as-enemies-back-home

9 ( +18 / -9 )

“It was a very shameful part of history that the young men and women were good enough to fight and die for the country, but they had to live in terrible conditions and camps," Matsuura says. "We want people to realize these things happened.”

Yes it is very bizarre that the government did this for no reason whatsoever.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I suppose many Americans did feel sympathetic for the Nisei back then. My father was a graduate student on the East Coast at the time of the incarceration. Once I asked him about it and he told me, "We knew, and we didn't like it, but there was nothing we could do about it."

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Maybe a monument should be erected in Japan, in recognition of all those interned, (some murdered) in Japan, who incidentally received no compensation at all.

-6 ( +10 / -16 )

Sweeping generalizations are never good. The stories and circumstances were individual. The US government convinced other countries to inter ethnic Japanese also.

We suck as a species. We (meaning the world) spend all of our capital on war.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Alan HarrisonToday  10:18 am JST

Maybe a monument should be erected in Japan, in recognition of all those interned, (some murdered) in Japan, who incidentally received no compensation at all.

That is not a bad idea, Please provide the number of civilian Japanese citizens of foreign ethnc background who were put into prison camps in Japan during WWII.

Do not confuse what my government did to American Citizens to how military POWs were treated. The latter has been addressed through the Internationa; Tribunal for the Far East (Tokyo Trials) as war crimes. The former has not.

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

Japan always play the victim,yes the japanese-americans suffered during the war in the US so as the german-americans and italian-americans.

But their nations were enemies at war.

And as someone posted Japan should equally recognize it’s mistreatments to the visible minorities that were persecuted during the same historical time.

-11 ( +11 / -22 )

Alan HarrisonToday  10:18 am JST

Maybe a monument should be erected in Japan, in recognition of all those interned, (some murdered) in Japan, who incidentally received no compensation at all.

That is not a bad idea, Please provide the number of civilian Japanese citizens of foreign ethnc background who were put into prison camps in Japan during WWII.

@OssanAmerica

I would not be able to give you an exact figure because no records have ever been released. I'm not sure if Japan has such thing as "Freedom of Information" like most advanced countries but that would be a starting point. It may also be a case of many records being destroyed after WW2.

-7 ( +9 / -16 )

Hans

The Japanese were victims, as were every other party in the war. It is the anti-Japan users who use whataboutism to deflect all blame onto the Japanese. Hypocrisy.

The Japanese people may have been victims. But, they were victims of their own government, not victims of the US or Russia or Korea, or any other country during WW2. (Although, an argument can certainly be made for the residents of Nagasaki, target of the unnecessary 2nd A-bombing.)

The imperialist military of Japan invaded Korea, Manchuria, China, etc. And, they attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbor. They also allied with Nazi Germany.

The people of Japan have nobody to blame for what befell their country than their own government. That includes losing those islands claimed by Russia and Korea. They're gone. Get over it. It's a textbook example of FAFO.

-13 ( +6 / -19 )

Of course, my above comment does not attempt justify the shameful US internment of Japanese-Americans. It was the type of thing "the bad guys" do, not the self-proclaimed "land of the free". George Takei, Japanese-American actor known for playing Lt Sulu on Star Trek, hosted a documentary and created a stage play about that shameful part of American history.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Indeed, the IJA did a "good" job destroying evidence of their evil deeds. For one example see the Unit 731 site in Harbin where before Japanese surrender not only were documents burned but the facility was blown up with explosives. We all know Japanese are good with details even to this day.

I would not be able to give you an exact figure because no records

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Don’t hold your breath waiting for a monument to the non-japanese interred (and killed) in Japan during WW2.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20230811/p2a/00m/0na/006000c

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monument_to_Commemorate_Chinese_Victims_of_the_Atomic_Bombing

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14476801

3 ( +5 / -2 )

America remembers so they will never repeat past errors again; the example of Japanese internment was what kept the US from interning Arab Americans after 9/11.

Japan doesn't remember its past errors sadly, and is bound to repeat its past mistakes again. Unfortunately, both of Japan's former victims are now militarily far more powerful than Japan, so...

-12 ( +6 / -18 )

For anyone not working in sensitive industries, I think we need to learn from our mistakes and never allow national origin for people legally in the country to change where they work, live, etc.

Today, America is being burned by naturalized citizens from different countries gaining US degrees and entering sensitive jobs, then stealing sensitive data and attempting to sent it back to their original country. Just last week, another person doing this was convicted. Sentencing is expected to be 10-20 yrs for treason leaking next-gen nuclear information to a country in Asia. I'd like to think that the vast majority of the people who legally immigrate and become naturalized citizens from that country ARE loyal Americans. Looking back over my career, I can't recall any foreigners working in sensitive positions who concerned me, regardless of their national origin, but I do remember two specific people who were a little off. Suspicion isn't sufficient and at that job, we weren't doing anything of a national secret level. I read that the 5th largest group if illegal immigrations to the US is from that specific Asian country this year. The top 4 are all Latin American. Japan is not on the list. https://www.justice.gov/usao-cdca/pr/engineer-arrested-allegedly-stealing-trade-secret-technology-designed-detect-nuclear https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/us-nuclear-engineer-sentenced-24-months-prison-violating-atomic-energy-act https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/us-nuclear-engineer-china-general-nuclear-power-company-and-energy-technology-international A few bad apples are trying to ruin the entire bushel. That's too bad. But it would be foolish for America NOT to notice these trends. Again, I'm not worries about the hotel manager or the convenience store owners, it is those people who work in sensitive industries where the worry lies and, unfortunately, it isn't just based on country of origin, but that does seem to be a leading indication.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Life is sacred and a precious gift. Long live life.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

One of many horrible facts of American history. It's incredible that anyone could/would justify this kind system discrimination/racism.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

A black mark on U. S. democracy.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@JDoe

One of many horrible facts of American history. It's incredible that anyone could/would justify this kind system discrimination/racism.

America learned from its past mistakes and swore to never repeat it again, even when 9/11 happened.

Not sure Japan even remembers what their ancestors did to their fellow Asians, or why their neighbors wouldn't hesitate to go to war with Japan when the opportunity came.

You can guarantee thousands of Chinese ballistic missiles flying toward Tokyo if Japan chose to intervene by letting the USAF fighter jets take off from Okinawa, China has been looking for this chance of vengeance and won't let it pass.

This is why teaching correct history is so critical for Japan's national security, but Japan's rightwing government doesn't get it.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

A blight on US history, for sure, and not just them, but Canada and other nations who engaged in similar behaviour. Still, at least they have officially apologized and are opening museums like this. Other nations still to this day refuse to acknowledge any wrongdoing when the issue of their atrocities and human rights violations come up.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Alan HarrisonToday  11:03 am JST

Alan HarrisonToday  10:18 am JST

Maybe a monument should be erected in Japan, in recognition of all those interned, (some murdered) in Japan, who incidentally received no compensation at all.

That is not a bad idea, Please provide the number of civilian Japanese citizens of foreign ethnc background who were put into prison camps in Japan during WWII.

@OssanAmerica

I would not be able to give you an exact figure because no records have ever been released. I'm not sure if Japan has such thing as "Freedom of Information" like most advanced countries but that would be a starting point. It may also be a case of many records being destroyed after WW2.

The famous "I have no evidence because they destroyed it" argument...Dog ate my homework.

If no information is available, then the liklihood that it didn't exist is much higher. Or at least to be so few as to not merit recording. That is because unlike the United States where there are many races and ethnic groups, Japan has historically had few immigrants. The odds are high that most foreigners were simply deported upon outbreak of WWII.

Of course there are exceptions, like the Jews from Shanghai who were permitted to live in Japan.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

JDoeToday  02:45 pm JST

One of many horrible facts of American history. It's incredible that anyone could/would justify this kind system discrimination/racism.

It's incredible by today's standards. But this was in the 1940s. Even in the 1960s there were States that made marriage between a White person and a "Colored" person illegal.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

We have family member's names on the monument at Manzanar. We also had family members who were voluntarily repatriated back to Japan, and family members who fought valiantly in Europe. Truth is stranger than fiction, as the saying goes.

Only a few miles from where we live, thousands of civilian Italians and Germans were interned during the war.

So far as I am aware, no civilians were starved to death by the Allies. On the other hand, 40,000 Dutch civilians were intentionally starved to death in Sumatra by the IJA.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

The rounding up of Japanese-American civilians was more complicated than is usually reported.

Most civilians in Hawaii were not bothered. Many civilians in the US who lived away from the West Coast were not targeted.

The camps were started in 1942. Starting in 1943, people were encouraged to leave the camps, if they would agree to live away from the West Coast.

Our relatives who were in Manzanar moved back to Los Angeles after the war and lived very successful lives.

I have met some people in the decades after the war who harbored a LOT of resentment and/or racism against Japanese, but I think the reported atrocities against Western civilians and POWs during the war played a large part in those attitudes. When a loved one has died because of inhumane treatment from the IJA or navy, it is easy to understand why bad feelings would persist.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Minor point, but

wooden pillars, called sobata,

should probably read 'sotoba'.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Laguna if you are going to post something of historical truth report it accurately! The Japanese Americans were interned during WWII through the civil liberties act of 1988. If I can recall each surviving internee received a formal apology and $20,000 compensation NOT $10,000. I wouldn't be surprised if we hear about future law suits about Japanese ancestors trying to reclaim the land they lost which is very valuable today. An African American family just reclaimed beach front property worth millions so I wouldn't count this out. The land that those Japanese American lost is now considered most of downtown Los Angeles rich real estate property.

Former president Ronald Reagan ordered survivors to be compensated to the amount of 10,000 dollars - not much, but recognition that an injustice had been done.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

OssanAmericaFeb. 19 09:01 pm JST

The famous "I have no evidence because they destroyed it" argument...Dog ate my homework.

Sometimes the dog does eat the homework when it knows it did something appalling and will be punished for it.

If no information is available, then the liklihood that it didn't exist is much higher. Or at least to be so few as to not merit recording. That is because unlike the United States where there are many races and ethnic groups, Japan has historically had few immigrants. The odds are high that most foreigners were simply deported upon outbreak of WWII.

If they were deported there would be a record of them arriving in other countries. There's no denying Japan had an anti-Caucasian bent to it based on the media at the time.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

One of the filthy rotten pots of good old US in its short and salacious history..

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

kaimycahlFeb. 19 11:53 pm JST

@Laguna if you are going to post something of historical truth report it accurately! The Japanese Americans were interned during WWII through the civil liberties act of 1988.

Huh?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It must be noted thet German^Americans and Italian-Americans were also suffered interment.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I must that German Americans and Italian internees never received compensation unlike the Japanese.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is aa mess. Try again. " must note that German Americans and Italian American internees never received compensation unlike the Japanese.*

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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