On February 19, 1942, shortly after Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing the forced removal of over 110,000 Japanese Americans from the West Coast and into internment camps for the duration of the war. The personal rights, liberties, and freedoms of Japanese Americans were suspended by the United States government.[1] In the "relocation centers", internees were housed in tar-papered army-style barracks. Some individuals who protested their treatment were sent to a special camp at Tule Lake, California.[2]

The unanimous Supreme Court decision Ex parte Endo in December 1944 ruled that the U.S. government could not continue to detain a citizen who was "concededly loyal" to the United States. Word of the upcoming ruling led to the rescinding of the exclusion orders and allowed Japanese Americans to return to the American West Coast starting in January 1945.[3] Many Japanese Americans suffered harsh treatment after leaving the internment camps. Examples include exclusion from being hired by jobs in the LA county, and being shut out by the produce industry, which was the lifeblood of many Japanese Americans prior to WWII.[4]

Japanese American Evacuation Claims Act

In 1948, President Truman signed the Japanese-American Claims Act.[5] This act was a way to compensate Japanese Americans for their economic losses due to their forced evacuation.[6] Although some $38 million was paid out through provisions of the act, it would be largely ineffective even on the limited scope in which it operated.[7]

McCarran-Walter Act

When the war ended, the American opinion of Japanese was altered. Japan was in the process of rebuilding with the help of the U.S. military. Japanese became known for their intelligence, amiable relations, and hardworking ethic. The new perspective of this country changed American minds about Japanese. In 1952, this new opinion of the Japanese resulted in first-generation Japanese Americans receiving the right to become naturalized U.S. citizens with the McCarran-Walter Act.[8]

1965 Immigration Act

The Immigration and Nationality Act amendments of 1965 eliminated the national origins quota that was established by the United States in the Immigration Act of 1924. Emanuel Celler proposed the 1965 Act, which was strongly backed by Senator Ted Kennedy. This legislation “created the foundation of today’s immigration law.”[9]

Congress’s investigation of WWII Japanese-American imprisonment

The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) was appointed by the U.S. Congress in 1980 to conduct an official governmental study into the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. It concluded that the incarceration of Japanese Americans had not been justified by military necessity.[10]

Civil Liberties Act

The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 was an official apology made to Japanese Americans in 1988 by Congress. The act granted about US$20,000 to former internees who were still alive when the act was passed.[11]

Repudiation of Korematsu v. United States

In 2018, Chief Justice Roberts, in writing the majority opinion of the Supreme Court in Trump v. Hawaii, stated in obiter dictum that the 1944 decision Korematsu v. United States that upheld the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066 (authorizing the Japanese American Internment) was wrong, effectively disavowing the decision and indicating that a majority of the court no longer finds Korematsu persuasive.[12]: 38  Roberts also added: "The forcible relocation of U.S. citizens to concentration camps, solely and explicitly on the basis of race, is objectively unlawful and outside the scope of Presidential authority."[12]: 38 [13][14]

Timeline of life after World War II

See also


  1. ^ "After Internment: Seattle's Debate Over Japanese Americans' Right to Return Home - Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project". depts.washington.edu. Retrieved 2019-11-13.
  2. ^ "Japanese-American Incarceration During World War II". National Archives. 2016-08-15. Retrieved 2022-03-17. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ Shiho Imai. "Korematsu v. United States" Densho Encyclopedia (accessed 5 June 2014).
  4. ^ Pearson, Bradford (2020-08-20). "For Japanese-Americans, Housing Injustices Outlived Internment". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-10-26.
  5. ^ "Executive Order 9066." Encyclopædia Britannica. Ed. Of Encyclopædia Britannica. N.p., 3 June 2014. Web.http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/197921/Executive-Order-9066#ref1118060
  6. ^ "Japanese American Evacuation Claims Act | Densho Encyclopedia". encyclopedia.densho.org. Retrieved 2019-11-13.
  7. ^ Niiya, Brian (1993). Japanese American History: An A-To-Z Reference from 1868 to the Present. Facts on File. p. 68. ISBN 978-0816026807.
  8. ^ Hong, Jane. "Immigration Act of 1952". Densho Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2020-06-14.
  9. ^ "The Legacy of the 1965 Immigration Act". cis.org. Center for Immigration Studies. 1995-09-01.
  10. ^ Yamato, Sharon. "Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians". Densho Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  11. ^ "Civil Liberties Act of 1988 | Densho Encyclopedia". encyclopedia.densho.org. Retrieved 2019-11-13.
  12. ^ a b Trump v. Hawaii, 585 U.S. ___ (2018)
  13. ^ de Vogue, Ariane (June 26, 2018). "Supreme Court finally rejects infamous Korematsu decision on Japanese-American internment". CNN. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  14. ^ Savage, Charlie (June 26, 2018). "Korematsu, Notorious Supreme Court Ruling on Japanese Internment, Is Finally Tossed Out". The New York Times. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  15. ^ Do, Anh (July 18, 2017). "James Kanno, one of America's first Japanese American mayors and a founder of Fountain Valley, dies at 91". LA Times. Retrieved July 18, 2017.
  16. ^ "Milestones for Women in American Politics | CAWP". Cawp.rutgers.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  17. ^ "Congressional Gold Medal Presented to Nisei Soldiers of World War II". United States Mint. 2011-11-02. Retrieved 2020-05-30.

Further reading