Democratizing the Enemy

Democratizing the Enemy: The Japanese American Internment

Brian Masaru Hayashi
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 344
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7rr6g
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    Democratizing the Enemy
    Book Description:

    During World War II some 120,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from their homes and detained in concentration camps in several states. These Japanese Americans lost millions of dollars in property and were forced to live in so-called "assembly centers" surrounded by barbed wire fences and armed sentries.

    In this insightful and groundbreaking work, Brian Hayashi reevaluates the three-year ordeal of interred Japanese Americans. Using previously undiscovered documents, he examines the forces behind the U.S. government's decision to establish internment camps. His conclusion: the motives of government officials and top military brass likely transcended the standard explanations of racism, wartime hysteria, and leadership failure. Among the other surprising factors that played into the decision, Hayashi writes, were land development in the American West and plans for the American occupation of Japan.

    What was the long-term impact of America's actions? While many historians have explored that question, Hayashi takes a fresh look at how U.S. concentration camps affected not only their victims and American civil liberties, but also people living in locations as diverse as American Indian reservations and northeast Thailand.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-3774-8
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. PREFACE
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. xvii-xix)
  7. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-12)

    ON FEBRUARY 19, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, initiating America’s wartime concentration camps. He granted to Secretary of War Henry Stimson and his military commanders the power to exclude persons regardless of citizenship and without formal hearings from designated areas in the interest of national security. Using that authority, General John DeWitt, the head of the Western Defense Command (WDC), removed approximately 110,000 West Coast Japanese Americans to fifteen temporary shelters, euphemistically called “assembly centers,” and two “reception centers” before transferring them further inland in late summer to ten “relocation centers,” ranging in size from over seven...

  8. PROLOGUE BEYOND CIVIL RIGHTS
    (pp. 13-15)

    NOBODY KNOWS the trails and mountains better than me,” W. Wade Head wrote a friend in 1942, referring to his knowledge of the backcountry in comparison to that of other American expatriates in the Philippines. While an exaggeration, Head had acquired more knowledge of the Islands and its people than most of the eight thousand American expatriates in the Philippines serving the bayonet-imposed American government. He made it a point to listen and learn from locals, an attitude that set him apart from many Americans living there during his stay from 1932 to 1937. Head found offensive their luxurious lifestyle...

  9. 1 GOVERNORS AND THEIR ADVISERS, 1918–1942
    (pp. 16-39)

    THE PHILIPPINES shaped not only W. Wade Head’s wartime governing of Japanese Americans but also the experience of others as well. These governors—high federal government officials, topbrass in the military, social scientists, and camp administrators like Head—varied in their ideas of “race,” “culture,” and “loyalty” as a result of their respective experiences involving that island nation. For many military officials, island Japanese behavior confirmed the overlap between “race,” “culture,” and “loyalty,” while camp administrators drew the opposite conclusions. Federal government officials were often ambivalent, while social scientists were more insistent on the separation of these ideas, though the...

  10. 2 THE GOVERNED: JAPANESE AMERICANS AND POLITICS, 1880–1942
    (pp. 40-75)

    ALTHOUGH SOME in federal government and military circles liberalized their understanding of “race,” “culture,” and “loyalty,” many California Japanese headed in the opposite direction. To be sure, many of their leaders, the Japanese Association officials, the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), and the small handful of Nisei social scientists also made the distinction, but quite a few of their peers opposed this conceptual gap even though they stood to benefit from it, setting the stage of conflict once they were interned. Instead, the latter followed popular trends in Japan toward fusing “race” with “culture” and “political loyalty” as they built...

  11. 3 ESTABLISHING THE STRUCTURES OF INTERNMENT, FROM LIMITED TO MASS INTERNMENT, 1942–1943
    (pp. 76-106)

    DESPITE MANY Japanese American elites’ sincere support for the American government, high-ranking federal government officials and military brass removed and interned all West Coast Japanese, basing their decision on several factors. Their considerations involved both strategic military, diplomatic, and political elements, a complex web reflected in the assigning of the removal task to the War Department, and internment to the Justice Department and the WRA. Their decision and implementation took place in stages, begninning with the impounding of assets, then individual removal and internment, voluntary relocation, and, finally, coerced, mass removal and internment. As they scrambled to make policies and...

  12. 4 THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC WAY OF MANAGEMENT, 1942–1943
    (pp. 107-147)

    SELF-GOVERNMENT,” federal government officials believed, was the key to governing the interned Japanese population. But officials differed in their meanings of self-governance for the interned Japanese and in their purposes. High military officers including General John DeWitt grudgingly admitted that some form of “self-government” was necessary to keep Japanese Americans in line. As one WCCA official who remained anonymous explained, the army would grant the Japanese some form of “democratic” government:

    The Japs are going to have a regular city government—a council, judges, juries, their own police, lawyers, doctors, and all the rest of it. As soon as we...

  13. 5 “WHY AWAKE A SLEEPING LION?” GOVERNANCE DURING THE QUIET PERIOD, 1943–1944
    (pp. 148-179)

    THE AFTERMATH of the Loyalty Registration crisis left both camp administrators and internees seeking tranquil camp life. Top-level military brass, WRA officials, and social scientists modified the rules of governance between the spring of 1943 and the summer of 1944 to accomplish this end, but Japanese Americans also assisted their captors by placing moderates into formal positions of power while retreating to the private sphere to monitor closely the progress of the war and plan for a postwar future. Both groups claimed credit for the peace, with the internees crediting their concessions gained to a victorious Japanese military. The former...

  14. 6 “TAKING AWAY THE CANDY”: RELOCATION, THE TWILIGHT OF THE JAPANESE EMPIRE, AND JAPANESE AMERICAN POLITICS, 1944–1945
    (pp. 180-206)

    MAKING AMERICAN-born internees “enemies of Japan” was precisely the intent of federal government officials and military brass. But they had different reasons in mind. When War Department officials announced on January 20, 1944, that interned American citizens were to be conscripted for military service, they aimed to discredit Japanese propaganda claims of a racial war in the Pacific by demonstrating that all Americans, regardless of “race,” were serving in the armed forces. John McCloy, Assistant Secretary of War, kept two Japanese American units intact for public relations purposes, dispersed the remainder into nonsegregated units, and expended considerable time and effort...

  15. 7 THE LONG SHADOW OF INTERNMENT
    (pp. 207-218)

    THE MASS removal and internment of West Coast Japanese Americans from 1942 to 1945 cast a long shadow over a wide range of people and geographic expanse. Not only were people living as far away as Japan affected by the experience, but the camps’ governors, the governed, and local residents living within the vicinity were also impacted. How different governors were marked by it varied considerably, some powerfully while others seemingly unaffected. The governed were adversely affected, materially for the most part, but also politically and culturally. And finally, those residing within the immediate vicinity of the camps, too, were...

  16. EPILOGUE TOWARD HUMAN RIGHTS
    (pp. 219-222)

    THERE IS absolutely nothing in all that Mr. X said . . . that reveals he is a confirmed communist,” Toshio Yatsushiro, a United States Operations Missions researcher, reported on October 28, 1966, after his interview with a twenty-six-year-old prisoner labeled a “communist terrorist” in northeast Thailand. “Indeed he does not even understand the communist doctrine,” Yatsushiro concluded. The researcher added, “At worst he must be judged as being a misguided individual and nothing more.” Instead of recommending internment, Yatsushiro declared the cadre’s commitment to the communist movement shallow and his Phu Thai ethnic minority group politically loyal to the...

  17. NOTES
    (pp. 223-294)
  18. A NOTE ON SOURCES
    (pp. 295-304)
  19. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. 305-308)
  20. INDEX
    (pp. 309-319)