It all started on December 7, 1941 at 7:00 a.m. when Japan attacked U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. The next day the U.S. declared war on Japan. The new fear of Japanese Americans spread quickly. Whites were afraid that their neighbors could be spies and plan to sabotage military bases. Americans begun to discriminate Japanese people living in United States. They said: “Once a Jap, always a Jap!” Signs like: “No Japs wanted”, “Japs keep moving”, and many others were everywhere. Immigrants from Japan known as Issei (the first generation Japanese in America) wanted to adapt to life in America as quickly as possible. They learned English, worked hard and try to became real Americans. However, they still couldn’t work in manufacturing, construction, or buy a land. Their children, Nisei, were the first generation born in America and therefore were automatically U.S. citizens according to the law. Also, Nisei had some prerogatives; their parents didn’t have, like own a land. Nisei grew up in America and they became more Americanized as their parents. They experienced two cultures- Japanese and American. They tolerated and understood Japanese traditions, but they did not follow them so closely. Their life became more similar to life of American children. They spoke the same slang, dressed the same and enjoyed the life the same although they were still seen as not real Americans in the eyes of society. Official reaction against Japanese Americans came in February 1942 when president Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. This law authorized the removal of all people of Japanese ancestry from the western United States. The end of 1942 moved more than 110,000 men, women, and children moved to internment camps. They were taken away from their homes, lost their jobs and property. They could take only things they were able to carry with them. They left everything they once knew and moved to camps, where they were kept under fence. In camps, there were also several watchtowers, but Japanese Americans didn’t try to escape. They waited calmly for the day, when they will be free as any other citizen of United States of America.
Some of the boys and men in the internment camps wanted to show their patriotism and joined the U.S. army. First, the government didn’t want them, even existing Japanese American soldiers were discharged. But as months passed, U.S. military needed all soldiers it could get.
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Zdroje: Life in a Japanese American Internment Camp by Diane Yancey; 1998, Lucent books, Victims of War by Robin Cross; 1993, Thomson Learning, The Invisible Thread by Yoshiko Uchida; Beech Tree, www.jainternment.org