PBS has broadcast a number of programs that have contributed to our understanding of the Japanese American internment experience. The following is a listing of the content-rich companion websites to these documentaries:
CHILDREN OF THE CAMPS
CHILDREN OF THE CAMPS captures the experiences of six Americans of Japanese ancestry who were confined as children to internment camps. The website’s World War II internment timeline traces the historical details of internment from an FBI raid in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo in 1942, to Ronald Regan’s signing of the law that would provide individual payments of $20,000 to each surviving internee. Look over the actual letter of apology sent out by former president Bill Clinton. Read excerpts from studies and books which document the long-term mental and physical impact of the World War II internment experience on Japanese Americans.
CONSCIENCE AND CONSTITUTION
This site was created in conjunction with CONSCIENCE AND CONSTITUTION, which tells the story of a handful of young Americans who refused to be drafted from an American internment camp. They were ready to fight for their country, but not before the government restored their rights as United States citizens. The government prosecuted them as criminals and Japanese American leaders and veterans ostracized them as traitors. This site provides primary sources, including documents, photographs and videos, which allow you to experience first hand the choice faced by any group when confronted by mass injustice — whether to comply or to resist. View actual protest bulletins posted throughout the internment camps. Read the editorials that got such men as James Omura arrested for conspiracy to counsel draft evasion.
Rabbit in the Moon
This is the companion website to POV’s Emmy award-winning program Rabbit in the Moon, a documentary which delves into the buried history of political tensions, social and generational divisions and resistance in the Japanese American internment camps. In this program, acclaimed filmmaker Emiko Omori asks her older sister and other detainees to reflect on the personal and political consequences of internment. The website features comments from internees on subjects ranging from the loyalty questionnaire to the political divisions within their communities during World War II, a listing of books, websites and videos to help viewers further explore the issues.
For further information on Korematsu’s legal battle and the history of the Japanese in America (including their internment experience), browse the following websites.
Library resources for Politics and Policy and their Impact on People:
This is a suggested listing of fiction and nonfiction books, videos, and web sites offering more information on issues raised by this and other POV broadcasts. Topics include civil liberties, poverty, globalization and Native American themes, including their relationship to ancestral lands. Delve Deeper into Politics and Policy and their Impact on People is produced in collaboration with BOOKLIST, the review journal of the American Library Association (ALA).
To learn more about Fred Korematsu’s Supreme Court case, explore the following websites:
The American Civil Liberties Union
Founded in 1920, the nonprofit, nonpartisan American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is committed to defending and preserving the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States. The ACLU of Northern California (http://www.aclunc.org/) brought Fred Korematsu’s Case to the Supreme Court in 1944. On June 15, 2001, the National ACLU awarded Gordon Hirabayashi and Fred Korematsu the Roger N. Baldwin Medal of Liberty award, which honors individuals who have made lifetime contributions to the advancement of civil liberties.
In February of 1942, in response to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, forcing 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry to leave their homes and relocate to internment camps. The following websites all include primary source documentation of the camps:
Japanese-Americans Internment Camps During World War II
This website has been created by the special Collections Department, J. Williard Marriott Library, University of Utah and contains an exhibit on the internment camps of Tule Lake and Topaz. The Tule Lake Camp was situated in Northern California, while the Topaz internment camp, where Fred Korematsu stayed, was in Topaz, Utah. Visit this site to view photographs, documents and artifacts from both the Tule Lake Camp and the Topaz camp.
Masumi Hayashi Photography
This site presents Professor Masumi Hayashi’s compilation of photographs taken of the Japanese internment camps. The photographs were taken by both Hayashi and survivors of the internment camps and are accompanied by information regarding individual camps. The Map Pages are filled with panoramic images of the camps and assist in locating the separate camps. The Family Album Page offers a collection of personal photographs taken by survivors, along with audio clips from interviews conducted by Hayashi.
Confinement And Ethnicity: An Overview of World War II Japanese American Relocation Sites
The National Park Service’s website hosts Confinement And Ethnicity: An Overview Of World War Ii Japanese American Relocation Sites, an on-line report which documents the tangible remains currently left at Japanese American internment camps during World War II. The site features photos, maps and drawings of the War Relocation Authority’s relocation centers, as well as Department of Justice and U.S. Army facilities where Japanese Americans were interned. Archival research, field visits and interviews with former internees provide preliminary documentation about the architectural remnants, the archeological features and the artifacts remaining at the sites.
Find out more about the history and culture of the Japanese in America:
Japanese American Citizens League
With 112 chapters nationwide and over 24,000 members, the J.A.C.L. is the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization. The J.A.C.L. was founded in 1929 to address issues of discrimination targeted specifically at persons of Japanese ancestry residing in the United States. Learn about Japanese American History and current issues and legislation by logging onto their site.
Japanese American National Museum
Businessmen in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo and a group of highly decorated World War II veterans joined together to create The Japanese American National Museum in 1992. The result was a private, non-profit museum dedicated to fostering understanding and appreciation for America’s ethnic and cultural diversity through preserving, sharing and interpreting the experiences of Japanese Americans. The museum believes honoring past and present experiences will help abate the prejudice that continues to threaten liberty and equality.
The National Japanese American Historical Society
Founded in 1980 in San Francisco, The National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS) is a non-profit membership supported organization dedicated to the preservation, promotion and dissemination of materials relating to the history and culture of Japanese Americans. Through museum-quality exhibitions and archival collections, as well as multimedia publications and productions, it provides educational resources and interpretation to schools, libraries and museums. The website contains a research and reference section with reports and bulletin boards.