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Inside an American Concentration Camp: Japanese American Resistance at Poston, Arizona
     

Inside an American Concentration Camp: Japanese American Resistance at Poston, Arizona

by Richard S. Nishimoto
 

During World War II, more than 110,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated in American concentration camps. It is often assumed that, because they launched no major revolt, Japanese Americans were passive participants in the government's "relocation" program. But the general tenor of compliance masked a powerful resolve to maintain self-determination.

Overview

During World War II, more than 110,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated in American concentration camps. It is often assumed that, because they launched no major revolt, Japanese Americans were passive participants in the government's "relocation" program. But the general tenor of compliance masked a powerful resolve to maintain self-determination. Inside an American Concentration Camp takes readers inside one of the camps and documents this hidden heritage of resistance.Richard S. Nishimoto was detained at the Colorado River Relocation Center near Parker, Arizona, the camp known as Poston. There he was chosen to participate in the Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement study, a University of California-sponsored, systematic attempt to document life inside the camps. Inside an American Concentration Camp presents three never-before-published reports written for that research project that document key aspects of daily life at Poston. These accounts, compelling for their immediacy and their attention to detail, examine work, leisure, and Japanese American resistance to the policies of the War Relocation Authority. Nishimoto documents the subtle and diverse ways that residents of the camp resisted authority, whether by the showing of a flag or by a deliberate slowdown of their labor. Of particular interest are Nishimoto's accounts of the importance of gambling among Japanese Americans and of the power politics between first- and second-generation Japanese Americans in the camp.Born in Japan and educated at Stanford University, Nishimoto was bilingual and bicultural. That fact, along with Nishimoto's unique position as a resident, leader, and official observer of the camp, give his work an unparalleled perspective, allowing him to reveal the complex layering of ethnic identity within the camp. An introduction and commentary by anthropologist Lane Ryo Hirabayashi explore the significance of Nishimoto's writings and place them in their historical context. Interviews with surviving members of Nishimoto's family enable Hirabayashi to offer a fuller portrait of Nishimoto himself. Fifty years after the end of World War II, Nishimoto's writings revive vivid details of life inside one of the war relocation camps. Inside an American Concentration Camp offers a unique and important contribution to our understanding of this chapter in U.S. history.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Here, indeed, is a view of an American concentration camp from the ‘inside.’ Richard Nishimoto’s account not only describes the day-to-day experiences of life in the camp, but also offers painful probings of his inner feelings. His reports are filled with voices and stories, and they read like a novel."—Ronald Takaki"Hirabayashi’s commentary and meticulous footnotes round out this valuable contribution to our understanding of what really went on in the camps."—Hisaye Yamamoto
Booknews
The author, an aviation expert with experience as an aircraft accident investigator, chronicles his ten-year investigation into circumstances surrounding the Korean Air Line flight's disappearance in 1983, with its 269 passengers and its crew. He analyzes Soviet tapes, air-traffic-control communications, Japanese press archives, and eyewitness accounts to reach the conclusion that KAL 007 was a US military decoy and a casualty of an air battle involving other military aircraft; the facts were covered up by US military intelligence. Includes illustrations, maps, and a glossary of technical terms. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780816515639
Publisher:
University of Arizona Press
Publication date:
08/01/1995
Pages:
262
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

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