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Altered Lives, Enduring Community

Japanese Americans Remember Their World War II Incarceration

by Stephen S. Fugita and Marilyn Fernandez

Publication Year: 2004

This book examines the long-term effects on Japanese Americans of their World War II experiences: forced removal from their Pacific Coast homes, incarceration in desolate government camps, and ultimate resettlement. Based on interviews and survey data from Japanese Americans now living in Washington State, this account presents the contemporary, post-redress perspectives of former incarcerees on their experiences and the consequences for their life course.

Published by: University of Washington Press

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-

This book is the culmination of the efforts of a team of individuals. Tom Ikeda, the director of Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project, has supported the data collection from the Project's inception. He provided leadership and committed resources at numerous critical junctures. Becky Fukuda identified and selected the pool of quotes from Densho visual...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 3-13

Soon after Japanese fighter-bombers shocked the nation with their crippling attack on U.S. naval ships in Pearl Harbor, some 11O,OOO persons of Japanese ancestry, the majority of whom were American citizens, were forcibly removed from their Pacific Coast homes and incarcerated in desolate camps in the interior of the country. Here they were held, on...

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2. The Pre-World War II Community

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pp. 14-46

In this second chapter, we give the reader a sense of the world of our Nisei respondents prior to the turmoil of World War II. Along with a description of the Densho survey respondents and information about their prewar lives, this sets the stage for our main focus, the reactions of former incarcerees to their exclusion and detention. Since the community in which our...

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3. The Incarceration

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pp. 47-84

Yeah, if you're a prisoner in a concentration camp at seven years old, you think everybody is. I mean, you don't know your circumstances are so unusual. You have no idea to compare with anyone else's life so you just assume that this is life. No one tells you any different. You get an undertone of something is wrong. I know right out of camp, a librarian...

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4. Military Service and Resistance

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pp. 85-104

By the eve of World War II, a significant number of older Nisei were becoming eligible for military service. With the outbreak of hostilities in Europe, many were drawn into the armed forces; some were drafted into the U.S. Army, while others volunteered. A small number were accepted for commissioning in the Army through the Reserve Officer Training...

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5. Resettlement

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pp. 105-133

After months or even years of living under the abnormal social and physical conditions of the camps, how did the former incarcerees reestablish themselves in the world outside? This difficult period of returning and readapting to American society is usually labeled "resettlement." The War Relocation Authority (WRA) first used this term in 1942 when it began to...

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6. Marriage and Family Formation

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pp. 134-155

As noted in chapter 2, the family was the key social unit for members of the prewar Japanese American community. However. even before the advent of World War II, the Japanese American family was headed toward a major transformation. The primary reasons for this were the widening linguistic, cultural. and political gulfs that were becoming increasingly evident...

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7. Occupational Patterns

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pp. 156-172

As we have seen in previous chapters, the momentous events associated with the mass removal and its aftermath created major discontinuities in the life-course trajectories of our Seattle-area Nisei respondents. In this chapter we explore how these shifts may have impacted the former incarcerees with respect to a key lifestyle determinant in advanced capitalist...

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8. Religion and Making Sense of the Incarceration

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pp. 173-193

Since religious beliefs and practices are often invoked during stressful events, we were interested in whether they played a role in how the Densho respondents reacted to the incarceration. In this chapter, we explore the effects that the two major, broad religious orientations found in the Japanese American community, Buddhism and Protestantism, may have had on how our...

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9. Looking Back

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pp. 194-210

As we looked back over our study's findings, one of the themes that continually emerged as central to understanding the lives of the former incarcerees was that of community. When we began this research. we approached our task as an investigation of how a calamitous event may have altered the life courses and worldviews of members of a specific ethnic...

Appendixes

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pp. 211-229

Notes

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pp. 231-233

Glossary

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pp. 234-

References

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pp. 235-248

Index

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pp. 249-253


E-ISBN-13: 9780295800141
E-ISBN-10: 0295800143
Print-ISBN-13: 9780295983813
Print-ISBN-10: 0295983817

Publication Year: 2004

Series Title: The Scott and Laurie Oki Series in Asian American Studies

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Subject Headings

  • Japanese Americans -- Economic conditions -- 20th century.
  • Japanese Americans -- Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945.
  • Japanese Americans -- Cultural assimilation.
  • Japanese Americans -- Ethnic identity.
  • Japanese Americans -- Social conditions -- 20th century.
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