Democratizing the Enemy: The Japanese American Internment

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Overview

"Brian Hayashi's book is one of the most detailed, insightful and thoroughly documented accounts of the Japanese American experience during World War II. It will set a new standard for scholars for years to come."—Lane Ryo Hirabayashi, University of California, Riverside, author, Inside an American Concentration Camp: Japanese American Resistance at Poston

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Editorial Reviews

History - Eriko Yamamoto
Hayashi's book provides a newer, deeper insight into Japanese American history. Hayashi's book is a masterpiece and should be read by anyone writing on the Japanese American internment.
Journal of American History - Arthur A. Hansen
This fresh and far-reaching interpretation of the World War II Japanese American exclusion and detention experience achieves benchmark historiographical status. . . . Brian Hayashi has written a book that dramatically reconfigures how the topic of the Japanese American internment will be approached in the coming generation of scholarship.
Western Historical Quarterly - Stephen S. Fugita
Brian Masaru Hayashi's ambitious effort makes available much new archival data and presents original and provocative interpretations. . . . Democratizing the Enemy is an original and stimulating examination of the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans, and as such, it brings new perspectives to the topic. It should be read by all those interested in this unique and tumultuous period.
From the Publisher
Winner of the 2006 Robert G. Athearn Award, Western History Association

"Hayashi's book provides a newer, deeper insight into Japanese American history. Hayashi's book is a masterpiece and should be read by anyone writing on the Japanese American internment."—Eriko Yamamoto, History

"This fresh and far-reaching interpretation of the World War II Japanese American exclusion and detention experience achieves benchmark historiographical status. . . . Brian Hayashi has written a book that dramatically reconfigures how the topic of the Japanese American internment will be approached in the coming generation of scholarship."—Arthur A. Hansen, Journal of American History

"Brian Masaru Hayashi's ambitious effort makes available much new archival data and presents original and provocative interpretations. . . . Democratizing the Enemy is an original and stimulating examination of the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans, and as such, it brings new perspectives to the topic. It should be read by all those interested in this unique and tumultuous period."—Stephen S. Fugita, Western Historical Quarterly

History
Hayashi's book provides a newer, deeper insight into Japanese American history. Hayashi's book is a masterpiece and should be read by anyone writing on the Japanese American internment.
— Eriko Yamamoto
Journal of American History
This fresh and far-reaching interpretation of the World War II Japanese American exclusion and detention experience achieves benchmark historiographical status. . . . Brian Hayashi has written a book that dramatically reconfigures how the topic of the Japanese American internment will be approached in the coming generation of scholarship.
— Arthur A. Hansen
Western Historical Quarterly
Brian Masaru Hayashi's ambitious effort makes available much new archival data and presents original and provocative interpretations. . . . Democratizing the Enemy is an original and stimulating examination of the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans, and as such, it brings new perspectives to the topic. It should be read by all those interested in this unique and tumultuous period.
— Stephen S. Fugita
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691138237
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 344
  • Sales rank: 1,325,954
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Brian Masaru Hayashi is Associate Professor of Human Environmental Studies, Kyoto University, and author of "For the Sake of Our Japanese Brethren: Assimilation, Nationalism, and Protestantism among the Japanese of Los Angeles, 1895-1942".

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Read an Excerpt

Democratizing the Enemy The Japanese American Internment
By Brian Masaru Hayashi Princeton University Press
Copyright © 2004
Princeton University Press
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-691-13823-7


Introduction 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 thousand to eighteen thousand persons. Thirty-one thousand were placed under the charge of John Collier's Office of Indian Affairs in two camps in Arizona. Milton Eisenhower, Director of the War Relocation Authority (WRA), supervised the remaining seventy-nine thousand, incarcerating them in isolated locations in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming. Here they were confined in camps where entry and exit of goods and personnel were controlled by Military Police units, and where they lived in tar-paper-covered, wooden barracks of approximately a hundred feet in length, withsingle rooms of only twenty by twenty-five feet. Each block within the camp was cramped with two rows of six or seven barracks housing 250 to 300 individuals, a de facto situation existing until the last camp was closed in March 1946.

Inside the camps Euro-American administrators established their internal organizations to secure a peaceful confinement but also to encourage relocation. Since each camp had an administrative staff of less than a hundred persons, few of them fluent in Japanese, they appointed bilingual internee block managers to disseminate goods, services, and information while organizing elections of community council officials to legislate management policy even though project directors retained veto power over all matters. To facilitate relocation, Dillon Myer, Eisenhower's successor, conducted in 1943 a Loyalty Registration, a mandatory questionnaire asking his charges to clarify which country they supported and the willingness of U.S. citizens among them to serve in the American armed forces. Disappointed with the results, Myer then sent social scientists to each camp as "community analysts," adding to the University of California's Evacuation and Resettlement Study's own twelve Japanese American and three Euro-American observers in eight of the ten camps to press relocation. Despite these measures, Myer successfully ushered out only a handful of Japanese Americans because he was thwarted by internee reluctance and DeWitt's conservative policy of continued exclusion based on "military necessity," the latter overturned in December 1944 by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made continued mass exclusion illegal.

Most Japanese Americans at least outwardly accommodated the WRA. Though nearly two-thirds of them held U.S. citizenship rights, they cooperated rather than resisting removal from the West Coast and internment to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars lost in property and other assets. Occasionally, however, they openly resisted, as in mid-November 1942 when they ceased all labor during the Poston Strike, and a couple of weeks thereafter in a bloody demonstration called the Manzanar Riot. But for the most part, they endured four years of cramped living quarters, inadequate facilities, low wages, and a general lack of freedom and privacy. The majority-approximately five out of every six-pledged their allegiance to the United States or promised obedience to its laws over Japan's when confronted with questions regarding which country the aliens would support and concerning the U.S. citizens' willingness to serve in the American armed forces during the infamous Loyalty Registration of 1943. Once the WRA dropped mass detention in favor of individual internment in January 1945, Japanese Americans left the camps to resume their lives, and partially recovered their losses through the 1948 Evacuation Claims Act, a presidential apology in 1976, and another redress payment through the Civil Liberties Act in 1988.

Despite general acceptance of the presentation above, writers on the internment differ over the causes and how its victims responded. Much of their disagreement is rooted in differing conceptions of the relationship over time between "race," on one hand, and "culture" and political "loyalty," on the other, and not about the relative weight of domestic and foreign factors for its causes and consequences. For many authors writing in the two decades after the camps closed, domestic factors, particularly "race," was important for explaining why the internment took place and how that causal element shaped Japanese American responses. Since the United States seemed less vulnerable to invasion after 1942, many dismissed security issues in favor of domestic factors, particularly "race," to explain why mass removal occurred. To these authors, "race" meant negative attitudes toward individuals based on physical features, amplified by economic interests but readily neutralized through education. Those attitudes, they believed, had nothing to do with "loyalty," since patriotism emerged from "culture"-where and how one was raised and educated-which they associated with "nation." Therefore, they found "military necessity" justification wanting because General John DeWitt's claim in his Final Report (1943) that "the Japanese race is an enemy race," whose "racial strain remains undiluted" was a prime example of that confusion of "race" with "culture" and "political loyalty."

Social scientists in particular dismissed "military necessity," narrowing the debate over the camps to domestic causes and consequences in the decade after their closure. Using "race" as their main explanation, too, they channeled their analysis of the causes and the consequences toward identification of the culprits behind the decision, and cast Japanese American responses to it along the lines of other racial minorities of their time. Morton Grodzins, Americans Betrayed (1949), fingered West Coast pressure groups such as the Western Growers Protective Association and the Native Sons of the Golden West for constantly badgering public officials with views approximating "the doctrine of Nazism" until they caved in and influenced the army to reverse its own initial resistance to the idea. Jacobus tenBroek, Edward N. Barnhart, and Floyd W. Matson, Prejudice, War, and the Constitution (1954), disputed Grodzin's conclusions and expanded the scope of blame to "the dark background of prejudice," "the century-long history of anti-Orientalism on the West Coast of the United States," whose "deadly legacy of suspicion and superstition" was "firmly embedded" in the "public consciousness." Thus, no pressure groups were needed to convince DeWitt, they maintained, since the general himself harbored "blatant and unmistakable" racial prejudices. Studying Japanese American responses to internment, University of California demographer Dorothy Swaine Thomas applied a similar domestic-only framework in explaining why, in February 1943, two-thirds of all internees responded positively to questions of loyalty, and a sixth, negatively. She argued in The Salvage (1952) that the former relocated out of the camps quickly and were spared political disaffection because they were the "most highly assimilated segments" of the internee population-the ones who relocated "beyond the bounds of segregated ethno-centered communities" to take advantage of "wider opportunities" in the Midwest and East. Conversely, the sixth choosing Japan as their final destination were, as she and research assistant Richard Nishimoto claimed in The Spoilage (1946), individuals who experienced "spoilage" as a result of "evacuation and detention." For Thomas, the Issei were disillusioned by racial discrimination in the economic and political spheres and when confronted by the shattering experience of removal and internment, had understandably refused allegiance to the United States. She asserted that the Nisei's education in nonsegregated American schools where they were "indoctrinated in democratic principles" played a large role in determining the extent of their embitterment. Hence, Thomas argued that the shift from "loyal" to "disloyal" was the result of "the stress of racial discrimination, expulsion and detention" rather than any prewar political identification with Japan. Her conclusions fell in step with Alexander Leighton, The Governing of Men (1946) whose study of internee behavior during the Poston Strike of November 1942-the Rising Sun flags, the shouts of banzai, and cheering of the alleged victories by Imperial Japanese forces-were not indications of "real" patriotism toward Japan but rather embracing "an emblem of hope in a world that had fallen crashing about them."

Despite the emergence of a new generation of authors in the 1960s and 1970s, domestic factors still dominated explanations of why the camps were established. Skeptical of "military necessity" too, they came of age in a world in which federal government officials used similar phrases to rally public support for a widely perceived immoral war against a weaker military opponent in Vietnam. The "wartime hysteria" and failure of political leadership that these authors witnessed provided a persuasive explanation for why the World War II camps were built, and they cast accommodation or resistance as the two options Japanese Americans had, much like any other racial minority in America, or colonized Third World people under oppression. Thus they gravitated toward "race" explanations but saw, unlike the previous generation, it as more than mere attitudes but seemingly institutionalized "reality" underscored by the failure of the civil rights movement of their day to root it out. While they shared a similar view of "culture" as the previous generation, they interpreted "loyalty" broadly, placing protest acts under it, much like Jane Fonda's visit to Hanoi, and her denunciation of the American bombing of that city and of the war against that country. Scholar-activist Roger Daniels, for example, fused Grodzins's pressure group hypothesis with tenBroek's idea of nationwide racial antipathy to account for the removal decision made by the Office of the Provost Marshal General, the War Department, and the Western Defense Command in San Francisco, California. He argued that these military officials, pressured by various lobbyists, and sharing in common the Yellow Peril racial stereotypes of the Japanese, succumbed to wartime hysteria in the face of mounting Allied losses in the early months of the war. Daniels blamed Allen Gullion and Karl Bendetsen of the Office of the Provost Marshal General for bending General John DeWitt of the Western Defense Command, and John McCloy and Henry Stimson of the War Department to their view. He also found fault with "the general racist character of American society" and with President Franklin Roosevelt's caving into political expediency and his own concerns that "Japanese, alien and citizen, were dangerous to American security." About two decades later, another civil rights activist-scholar Richard Drinnon, in Keeper of Concentration Camps (1987), concluded that "Western racism, nationalism, imperialism, and colonialism" formed the basis for the decision for removal and internment after he explored the "common matrix" of American Indian reservations and the concentration camps in the career of WRA Director and Bureau of Indian Affairs Director Dillon Myer. In Justice at War (1983), a study of the legal strategies of the internment cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, Peter Irons further fleshed out the critique of the decision by revealing how the decision makers were well aware that Japanese Americans posed no security threat.

The same confinement to the domestic sphere characterized these authors' view of Japanese American responses to internment. Although they added to our understanding by expanding the definitional boundaries of American "culture" and "loyalty," they showed that many internees resisted camp policies by opposing patriotic work projects such as camouflage nets and "Food for Victory," and that when coerced, these internees used slowdown tactics not unlike African American slaves of the previous century. They brought to the fore stories of previously unheralded internees risking arrest for refusal to register for Selective Service until their civil rights were restored, and others rioting to vent their rage over their unjust confinement. Just as the colonized of the Third World opposed colonizers and local elites, Japanese Americans, too, these authors claimed, dug in their heels against the WRA and JACL's relocation program. Some authors swept seemingly "disloyal" and even "Japanese" ways under the new "loyalty" label, likening this behavior to the widespread draft resistance during the Vietnam War. For example, Gary Y. Okihiro dropped the "loyal-disloyal" dichotomy and portrayed people as drawing upon "a preexistent, underlying layer of resistance potential" or "an undercurrent of counter administration sentiment among the majority of the people" in their efforts to covertly or overtly resist camp management policy, the loyalty questionnaire, and military conscription, claiming that it was rooted in "the daily struggle for survival in a racist American West," and that it was "continuous and purposeful." Arthur Hansen took the definitional boundary a step further after observing "disloyal" behavior in Manzanar, such as the singing of the Japanese national anthem and the Imperial Navy marching song during a riot, and interpreted it as evidence of a Japanese American desire to create "Little Tokyos in the desert," where their prewar culture of "group solidarity" and "the predominance of elements of Japanese culture" could survive.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Democratizing the Enemy by Brian Masaru Hayashi
Copyright © 2004 by Princeton University Press. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Table of Contents

LIST OF FIGURES ix
LIST OF TABLES xi
PREFACE xiii
ABBREVIATIONS xvii
Introduction 1
PROLOGUE: Beyond Civil Rights 13
CHAPTER ONE: Governors and Their Advisers, 1918-1942 16
CHAPTER TWO: The Governed: Japanese Americans and Politics, 1880-1942 40
CHAPTER THREE: Establishing the Structures of Internment, from Limited to Mass Internment, 1942-1943 76
CHAPTER FOUR: The Liberal Democratic Way of Management, 1942-1943 107
CHAPTER FIVE: "Why Awake a Sleeping Lion?" Governance during the Quiet Period, 1943-1944 148
CHAPTER SIX: "Taking Away the Candy": Relocation, the Twilight of the Japanese Empire, and Japanese American Politics, 1944-1945 180
CHAPTER SEVEN: The Long Shadow of Internment 207
EPILOGUE: Toward Human Rights 219
NOTES 223
A NOTE ON SOURCES 295
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 305
INDEX 309

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