Free Research Paper On Executive Order 9066

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Japan, Government, United States, America, Citizenship, Management, War, Elections

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2021/03/01

During World War II, more than 120,000 Japanese and Japanese-Americans were incarcerated without due process in a complex network of detention camps throughout the U.S from California to Arkansas. The majority of those incarcerated were US citizens, exposing the immense discrimination and bashing of civil liberties based on race and thus defying America as truly “land of the free.” In 1943, one of the most renowned American photographers Ansel Adams photographed the lives of incarcerated Japanese at the Manzanar Relocation Center in California. One striking photograph Adams captures is that of a Japanese man reading a newspaper right outside an office of reports below a sign that says “free press.” This man reads the newspaper amidst a background that shows that Manzanar was truly isolated from the rest of the world. The military barrack buildings are evident, and it is clear that the camp was located far away from where this man most likely came from. The newspaper became one of the only ways for the Japanese in America to keep in contact with the rest of the outside world. This reveals the level of fear in the United States of a Japanese invasion, and exposes the inherent racism in the American character. This photograph is also quite interesting because it seems that Adams positioned this man strategically to expose certain truths about internment during the war: the incarcerated Japanese man is standing directly under a sign that says “free press,” indicating that this liberty of freedom of the press has still been preserved for the Japanese. Ironically, this Japanese man enjoys his liberty of the free press while he himself has been stripped of all his civil liberties through forced detention. The passage of Executive Order 9066 in the immediate aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 reflects simmering nativist and xenophobia that permeated U.S. society during a time of war. Moreover, this premiere example of alien citizenship underscores how non-whites in the U.S. are viewed as permanent racial Others who can never assimilate or acculturate into mainstream U.S. society.
Executive Order 9066 enacted the forcible removal of Japanese and Japanese Americans from their homes on the west coast into detainment and interment camps. The Issei, or first-generation Japanese who were not U.S. citizens, comprised one-third of the interned Japanese population, while the rest of the interned population was comprised of Nisei, or second-generation Japanese who were U.S. citizens because they were born on US soil. The Nisei were referred to by the government as non-aliens instead of as citizens. This shift in language is significant, as the lexicon shifted from language of “citizen” and “non-citizen” to “alien” and “non-alien.” In Korematsu vs. United States in 1944, along with the court case of Hibayashi vs. United States in 1945, established the legality of this executive order against the Japanese and removed the language of citizenship when referring to the Japanese during this time period. The Japanese were not the only groups detained by this executive order, as the Italians and Germans were targeted as well and were forced to attend loyalty hearings before being freed. The Japanese, however, were not taken to loyalty hearings and instead were paroled and detained in the internment camps because the U.S. government did not know how to test the loyalty of non-white US citizens. The ease with which a connection can be made by the U.S. government about citizenship loyalty shows the notion that common sense can be embroiled in questions about citizenship.
There are various aspects of apartheid enacted within this executive order, as it called for the literal, spatial containment of Japanese bodies. Paying particular attention to the states on the West Coast, including Oregon, Washington, and the western part of California, Japanese farmers who worked and lived in these regions have become an increasing presence and had a visible degree of success, which cultivated nativist sentiments. Prior to the Gentleman’s agreement in 1907, Japanese men came to the U.S. in search of work as agricultural laborers and used the profits they made to buy and own a plot of land for themselves. Land allowed for the Japanese farmers to produce crops, and as Japanese laborers earned enough money to buy and own a plot of land, concerns arose during the early twentieth century over the availability of land, which led to anti-Japanese sentiment in the U.S. prior to World War two and Japanese internment. Thus, during World War II, when the Japanese were interned, their land was seized from them and taken by the government, thereby revealing the social containment of socially mobile citizens and the disenfranchisement of the Japanese through this executive order. As such, the military and the government treated Japanese citizens unconstitutionally by nullifying the citizenship of the Nisei and their right to citizenship from the tradition of jus soli.
Moreover, it is evident that the personal and collective discipline was carried out by Japanese internment. Japanese internment was short compared to Jim Crow, as it lasted only a few years whereas Jim Crow lasted centuries and a litany of disciplinary projects such as the Black Codes. With Japanese internment, it is evident that the government used bodies to act out what it meant to be American in a coercive manner. The War Relocation authority, or WRA, was in charge of carrying out and maintaining Japanese internment. Patriotism and discipline unified subject status seen in the parades within the camps where Japanese subjects were evidently disciplined. Moreover, the process of assimilation and Americanization was carried out in the camps by the WRA in various ways, thereby further underscoring the coercive nature and project of Executive Order 9066. Assimilation via Americanization is the way the internment camps made the Japanese consent, as unacceptable and acceptable activities were parceled out. It was not acceptable to speak Japanese, but it was acceptable to send children to Americanization school. It was acceptable for Japanese children to play baseball because at that time, baseball was considered “the great American pastime” as a leisure activity that emerged out of industrialization. It was not acceptable, however, to act out Japanese traditional activities.
Activities like playing baseball showed the consent of the Japanese, and playing baseball definitely superseded doing hard labor, which masked the coercive aspect of internment. As such, Japanese internment functioned as a missionary project under the War Relocation Authority. Rather than just segregate the Japanese away from U.S. society, Japanese internment was more of a reeducation process in which the WRA assimilated the Japanese into American culture. This shift in narrative is very significant, as consent and coercion must work together to produce a narrative of creating idea of what it meant to be American

Works Cited

Adams, Ansel. "Ansel Adams's Photographs of Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar." Library of Congress. Web. 17 Apr. 2015.
Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty!: An American History. Seagull Third ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012. Print.
Ngai, Mae M. Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton UP, 2004. Print.

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Free Research Paper On Executive Order 9066. Free Essay Examples - Published Mar 01, 2021. Accessed October 02, 2023.

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