After the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor, life in the U.S. had changed. It was the first time in a long time that America was attacked on its homeland. This national security threat was a big shock to the people. The Japanese had to suffer the consequences of their attack. Just as the Germans developed concentration camps for the Jewish during World War II, the Americans set up "relocation" programs better known as internment camps to keep all the Japanese. The reason the Japanese were moved into these camps was because they were suspected of being spies. They were forced to live there for up to four years and were not able to continue with their own lives as they were before while they were living in these camps.
Many Japanese families came into this country in hope of a new and worthwhile life. They worked very hard to start their own businesses and establish themselves. Some families opened up their own shops to which they dedicated their whole lives and savings. When the internment programs began, store owners were pressured to get rid of all their merchandise. The pressure pushed them to sell their products for much less and resulted in a great loss of profit. If the shop owners were being difficult, the white vendors would threaten the shop owners’ families, knowing that no one would be able to stop them. This economic loss devastated all Japanese people. What would they do with such little money? There was no other choice, however, as they couldn’t take their merchandise with them (63 O’Brien).
Based on necessity, the War Department took responsibility for the removal for Japanese ancestry from the west coast. General DeWitt proclaimed two military areas after the passage of Executive Order 9066. Area 1 included western Washington, Oregon, California, and the southern half of Arizona. 5,000 Japanese were removed from the area. At Terminal Island near Los Angeles, California there were nearly 3,500 first and second generation Japanese. The military wanted all suspicious members of this community out in 48 hours. During this time, Dr. Yoshihiko Fujikawa described what he saw, saying he saw house wives being abused while cars, refrigerators, furniture and the like were confiscated (23 Nishimoto). The Japanese in Hawaii were treated differently, unlike the communities at Terminal Island and Areas 1 and 2, under General Dellos Emmons who stated,
There is no intention or desire on the part of the federal authorities to operate mass concentration camps. No person, be he or citizen or alien, need worry, provided he is not connected with subversive elements.While we have been subjected to a serious attack by a ruthless and treacherous enemy, we must remember that this is America and we must do things the American Way. We must distinguish between loyalty and disloyalty among our people (25 Nishimoto).
In internment camps cultural integrity was a problem. The Issei, or first generation Japanese who were older, were used to being very well...