Japanese Internment

4.5 / 5. 2

Japanese Internment

Category: Economics

Subcategory: History

Level: University

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Holding Japanese war prisoners during the Second World War has been discussed over time with the intention of solving the controversy of the justifications behind the imprisonment. As expected, war entails a lot of economic and political plays with both sides attempting to gain ground over the other party. However, the forced holding of people who had not even participated in the war is hard to justify. For many, the move was undemocratic and unfair. Additionally, little has been done to atone for the holding. This paper intends to discuss the consequences of the Japanese internment for the Japanese Americans that were held in the camps both economically and socially and the justifications given by the American government for holding them.


Historical Trends
The World War II which occurred between 1941 and 1945 was a war between the Allied and the Axis powers in which the United States belonged to the former and Japan belonged to the later. In the late 1860’s Japan underwent speedy industrialisation that destroyed the available farming land in rural areas causing problems for a significant population of the country to consider moving to other countries such as Peru and the US to look for improved living conditions and work opportunities. At the beginning, the migrants were welcomed as migrants as they provided cheap farm labour for expanding plantations. Thus, by the time the Second World War began the Japanese had become citizens in these countries. However, the attack on Pearl Harbour by Japanese forces killing at least 2,400 soldiers of the United States put the Japanese citizens under suspicion.
Citizens of the United States were very terrified after the attack and even more afraid of Japanese people due to propaganda. The reaction of the country was the confinement of the thousands of Japanese Americans after the signing of the Executive Order 9066 by President Roosevelt. The country placed curfews for Japanese people leaving in military bases and eventually gathered people of Japanese origin to the concentration camps. The country justified this move by arguing that some of the immigrants might still be loyal to their home country. Additionally, the government claimed that the Japanese Americans were now seen as enemies to the nation and this was a way of protecting them from the rest of the population. Unfortunately, over 60 percent of those arrested were actually citizens of the country.
Trend Significance
After internment, those confined were released back into the country but were faced with difficult economic and social conditions as compared to what they had before. After the war, the Japanese Americans were prejudiced against in schools and had to move to slum areas to begin their lives again. In terms of employment opportunities, they had to settle with casual jobs. Leaders in Congress made conscious effort to reintegrate the internees into society for them to feel as American citizens again. A study done found evidence that though the Americans of Japanese origin are seen to be quite successful, they might have been much more economically achieved if the internment had not happened. However, even after all this mistreatment of the Japanese Americans, for the American government it took decades to finally offer any compensation to the internees in the form of a mere $20,000.
In conclusion, the Japanese internment during the Second World War was uncalled for. People cannot use fear to violate the human rights of others. The way individual persons behave cannot be generalized as the behaviour of all people who belong to that group. The internment cannot possibly be justified and the ignoring of the occurrence of this event by the American people is simply ignorance.
Chin, Aimee. “Long-run labor market effects of Japanese American internment during World War II on working-age male internees.” Journal of Labor Economics 23, no. 3 (2005): 491-525.
Martinez, Amber. “Japanese American Internment: A Tragedy of War.” (2014).
Pétursson, Erlingur Þór. “Japanese American Internment: A Great Injustice.” PhD diss.
Robinson, Greg. “By Order of the President”. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2001.
Saito, Natsu Taylor. “Justice Held Hostage: US Disregard for International Law in the World War II Internment of Japanese Peruvians–A Case Study.” BC Third World LJ 19 (1998): 275.
Shoag, Daniel, and Nicholas Carollo. “The causal effect of place: Evidence from Japanese-American internment.” (2016).

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