The Long Afterlife of Nikkei Wartime Incarceration
Karen M. Inouye



Unearthing the Past in the Present

The history of wartime incarceration for North Americans of Japanese ancestry holds untold surprises.1 Consider the story of how Karen Korematsu-Haigh learned the history of her father, Fred Korematsu. Korematsu was one of a handful of Japanese Americans who challenged Executive Order 9066 at the time it was issued, and his case contributed to legal precedent twice over: first, when the Supreme Court affirmed the validity of Executive Order 9066; second, in 1983 when the United States District Court for the Northern District of California reversed that 1944 decision.2 This story is remarkable enough, but so is that of how Korematsu-Haigh heard it in the first place:

It was in a social studies class when my friend Maya got up in front of all of us to give a book report, an oral book report, about the Japanese-American internment. Her book was called “Concentration Camps USA” [by Roger Daniels]. And when she was talking about the Japanese-American internment, it was a subject I had not heard of before. No one spoke about it in my family. And then she went on to say that someone had resisted the exclusion order and resulted in a famous Supreme Court case, Korematsu v. the United States. Well, I sat there and said that’s my name. And the only thing I knew is that Korematsu is a very unusual Japanese name.3

Korematsu-Haigh’s experience was common. As both Harry Kitano and Yasuko Takezawa have documented, mid-century Issei (immigrants) and Nisei (the children of immigrants) could be reticent about their wartime history, partly because of traditional Japanese values and partly the shame associated with imprisonment, even when it was so flagrantly baseless.4

When Korematsu-Haigh quizzed her father, her questions had as much to do with the intervening years of silence as with the legal challenge. His response was simple: “My father said, you know, we’re always very busy with our lives being Americans. I mean, that’s what my father believed, was he wanted to get on and be an American and do all the activities that are privileged to us.” And yet, she recalled, “I could see . . . the pain in his eyes.” As a result, despite this extraordinary revelation, the contact between past and present remained fragmentary. Recognizing the depth of her father’s suffering, Korematsu-Haigh stopped asking questions, and in the wake of their conversation a renewed silence fell over the household: “The irony to this story is that my brother, Ken, who is four years younger than I am, found out the same way in high school.”5

This pattern—of a story told and then disremembered, a past recovered and then reburied—raises three issues. First, it indicates that wartime incarceration continues to shape the lives of Nikkei (people of Japanese ancestry) in North America, even decades after their wartime experiences. The customary view is that former inmates tend to be largely silent about their wartime experience, a view reinforced in the popular and scholarly literature.6 This view is to some extent accurate: until recently, Nikkei North Americans have tended not to speak loudly or at length about the indignities and injustices they endured after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. But that view ignores important exceptions. Some, such as the artist and author Miné Okubo, began to voice their thoughts early on; a growing number have found that voice more recently, particularly after the 1988 achievement of redress in Canada and in the United States.7 It also leaves out the fact that the targets of wartime incarceration have hardly left behind that injustice. In Korematsu-Haigh’s telling, for instance, her father was initially silent, then reticent, then silent again, but he became increasingly vocal after his 1983 court victory, and at no point was the topic ever far from his mind. Nor could it be: both Korematsu and his daughter remarked on multiple occasions that the 1944 Supreme Court verdict against him had very real and durable negative consequences that persisted for decades afterward.8 The delays and lacunae in this account are important, but less so than an underlying persistence of memory, for while wartime incarceration came to an end shortly after the surrender of Japan in 1945, its effects continue to play out in both Canada and the United States.

Second, Korematsu-Haigh’s anecdote demonstrates that wartime incarceration not only transformed former inmates but also continues to do so. As this book will demonstrate, it also continues to transform their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. That abortive conversation she had with her father, for instance, prompted questions and concerns that eventually drove Korematsu-Haigh to help establish a foundation in his name, to ensure that that foundation would work to perpetuate the memory of his legal fight and, thereby, to help prevent future violations of civil liberties. That conversation also belonged to a sequence of postwar events that ultimately led Korematsu to rekindle his court battle. (The conversation with his daughter was of a piece with his later contact with the historian Peter Irons, which was the immediate prompt to reinitiate legal proceedings.9) Interactions such as these, which stemmed from a history he had felt he could no longer broach on his own, led Korematsu to recognize the enormous social and political importance of his personal history. In response, he eventually became a willing public speaker, discussing his particular case as well as contemporary analogs, such as the increased inclination toward racial and religious profiling after 9/11.10 Korematsu underwent several profound transformations, from reluctant political activist to low-profile citizen to wholehearted political activist, all beginning with Executive Order 9066 and its economic and political aftereffects.

He did not change entirely on his own. Like others discussed in this book, he changed in large part because of those around him whose own readiness to address the legacy of wartime incarceration did more than just stir the memory of injustice. That readiness also allowed what had long dogged Korematsu to take shape as conscious political engagement. (Contrariwise, continued unwillingness to face the history of wartime incarceration can, as we often see, slow or even prevent such engagement.) Reactivated by changes in the people around him, the legal, economic, and even cultural losses that had once isolated him both from American society and from his fellow Nikkei eventually sharpened his sense of a larger social and political obligation. Wartime incarceration ultimately held surprises for Korematsu himself because it reverberates, persisting in the present. It possesses what Saidiya Hartman has called an afterlife in her work on slavery.11

Third, Korematsu-Haigh’s anecdote reveals perhaps the biggest surprise about wartime incarceration as a historical subject: that Nikkei North Americans have increasingly seized on that subject as a means to transform those who come into contact with it. As a result, this book is ultimately a study of transformation within and between individuals, among generations, and across perceived racial, religious, and cultural boundaries. The transformation at stake was a long time in coming; it really only became recognizable in the late 1960s and 1970s. But it has accelerated rapidly since, with more and more Nikkei North Americans adding their voices to a growing chorus. This increasing involvement indicates that the political and social engagement by Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians comes from a couple of causes. One is that, following almost total economic and political disenfranchisement, former inmates and their family members only eventually regained enough stability within their respective nation-states to begin exercising the rights that had been taken from them. Another comes through in Korematsu-Haigh’s story: with each surprising revelation, people who learn of wartime incarceration and its human cost have been shaken out of their complacency. And, of course, the civil rights movement also helped create a receptive audience for the cultural work of Nikkei North American activists, in addition to providing some of their more activist constituencies with a venue for engagement.12 This book addresses the three main issues raised by that story: the persistence of memory, the evolution it has spurred and spurs within Nikkei North Americans, and the ways those people have then turned around and tried to promote the same kind of evolution in others. It is designed both to recount that transformation and to participate in it as well. In order to do so, The Long Afterlife of Nikkei Wartime Incarceration draws on a range of sources, from academic studies of unjust imprisonment to newspaper accounts and new interviews conducted both in Canada and in the United States.


To begin with, it is important to lay out the basic facts of wartime incarceration in North America. In the United States, the course was as follows. In February 1942, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which directed state and local authorities to locate and detain Japanese American citizens and their family members in the Western United States at several prison sites.13 In addition to being given only days to prepare for their imprisonment, Japanese Americans received little information about their destinations, the proposed length of their stay, or the conditions they would face. They were told to pack what they could carry and then were abruptly forced from their homes. Of the roughly 120,000 people who were subjected to this treatment (primarily in the West Coast states of California, Oregon, and Washington, as well as Arizona) most spent the next three years in one of the prisons.14 Those who escaped this fate by moving east before the eviction began were nonetheless barred from the West Coast for the duration of the war.

Before being formally incarcerated, Japanese Americans were first detained in so-called assembly centers—thirteen in California, two in Arizona, and one each in Oregon and Washington. The majority of these temporary jails were makeshift arrangements located in former fairgrounds, racetracks, or camps for migrant workers; three were the site of an old mill, an abandoned Civilian Conservation Corps camp, and a livestock exposition hall.15 Following this interim period, inmates were sent to their longer-term prisons. Called “relocation centers” in most official correspondence (but also concentration camps on occasion), these prisons were created and administered by the War Relocation Authority (WRA). A total of ten such camps, as Nikkei came to call them, held the resulting influx of inmates: Gila River and Poston in Arizona; Granada in Colorado; Heart Mountain in Wyoming; Jerome and Rohwer in Arkansas; Manzanar and Tule Lake in California; Topaz in Utah; and Minidoka in Idaho.

In both the short-term way stations and longer-term prisons, Nikkei inmates endured repeated violations of their civil and human rights, as well as a host of related indignities. These left them in a constant state of distress and uncertainty about their safety and future, particularly given the clear link between wartime incarceration and the years of anti-Asian prejudice that preceded it. That prejudice had been growing from the 1850s onward, with people of Chinese ancestry initially bearing the brunt of the xenophobic sentiment. Over time, though, Japanese immigrants also began to figure prominently in white fantasies of physiological, cultural, and moral degradation. Passage of the 1924 Immigration Act, with its emphasis on preservation of the “Nordic race,” compounded the situation by effectively curtailing Japanese immigration. Although a 1932 study declared that the Immigration Act was having a positive effect on the lives of Nikkei, in truth there remained significant obstacles to full participation in American cultural, political, and social life.16 This situation was especially pressing for the second generation, or Nisei. These children of first-generation immigrants felt little or no kinship with their elders, whose language skills and cultural patterns seemed increasingly isolated after 1924. Caught between attempts to maintain cultural traditions in the home and the desire to participate in rituals associated with American life, they became doubly displaced: first from their parents’ country of origin, and second from the country of their birth. At the same time, they and their parents continued to endure the same economic, legal, and political disadvantages as they had before the Immigration Act. Aggression by Japan thus fed an already high degree of mistrust among non-Nikkei. In the months between the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the issuing of Executive Order 9066, suspicion of Japanese Americans was so acute that government policy allowed their homes to be subjected to warrantless searches; their bank accounts frozen; curfews imposed; men questioned and held; and property confiscated and destroyed. Shortly after Pearl Harbor was bombed, Nikkei on the West Coast were told to pack “only what they could carry” and report to designated sites where they were tagged with large identifying numbers that hung from strings around their necks and transported to interior states, far from the coast where they supposedly might help with any Japanese military ventures. Despite the lack of evidence of any traitorous activities, growing anti-Japanese sentiment on the West Coast was enough to tip the balance in favor of their wholesale removal.17

Other countries also engaged in the forced wartime migration and confinement of Nikkei citizens and their family members. The creation of racially motivated policies involving Nikkei was in fact an international phenomenon, running from Peru northward. Because of the close postwar links among Nikkei North Americans, this study will concentrate on Canada and the United States. Like Japanese Americans, Japanese Canadians along the West Coast were also subject to exclusion orders.18 The impact of these orders (called Orders-in-Council) was profound. As of fall 1941, 23,000 Japanese Canadians were working primarily as fisherman, miners, and foresters. They lived mostly in coastal towns in British Columbia. As in the United States, white residents had long viewed them as both an economic threat and a political menace, and local papers were more than happy to capitalize on the resulting tensions. In fact, Canada seems to have been especially vigorous in its persecution of Nikkei residents.

Though he had long been suspicious of people of Japanese ancestry, it was only after the bombing of Pearl Harbor that William Lyon Mackenzie King, the prime minister of Canada, decided to forcibly remove them from the coast to the interior.19 In January 1941 he received a special report recommending that Nikkei be exempted from military service due to pervasive racism among whites in the Canadian armed forces. Unconvinced by the report’s finding that there were no subversive elements in the community, he argued in favor of special identification cards for Japanese and Japanese Canadians north of the 49th parallel. Some ambivalence persisted, such as when King reprimanded members of Parliament who had issued blanket condemnations of all Nikkei in Canada. Events of the following December, however, made such a position untenable. King’s government responded with a partial evacuation of the West Coast, with an emphasis on Japanese immigrants. By the following February, however, all Nikkei were formally evicted from the area and sent inland.

After the issuing of formal exclusionary orders, Nikkei in Canada first were held in livestock barns in Hastings Park, on Vancouver’s Pacific National Exhibition grounds. Wealthier Japanese Canadians who could see how the wind was blowing were able to relocate more or less voluntarily to points east, such as Toronto. Later, families lacking the means to leave Vancouver were moved to remote sites further inland. For them, circumstances resembled those south of the border (though General John DeWitt, head of the Western Defense Comand, halted all voluntary Japanese American relocation in March 1941). There were, however, several major differences in how the Canadian government removed Nikkei from the coast. In the United States, most families were kept together. By contrast, a number of Nikkei men in Canada were separated from their families and assigned to road-building crews in Ontario and near the border with Alberta.20 Others were sent to work on sugar beet farms on the prairies, while still others were sent to a prisoner of war camp in Ontario. Women and children were moved to towns in the interior, which were often referred to as “ghost towns” due to their remoteness, generally poor condition, and minimal populations, which either could not (and in some cases would not) vigorously oppose the influx of supposedly undesirable people.21

After the end of the war, the Canadian government attempted to return over 4,000 Nikkei to Japan under the guise of “repatriation,” even though many had never set foot on Japanese soil before.22 After this policy failed to deliver the desired results, the provincial government of British Columbia passed a number of laws extending the exclusion of Nikkei from parts of the region for years after the war ended. Indeed, Japanese Canadians were unable to return legally to Vancouver, among other places, until the spring of 1949, by which time most had already established themselves elsewhere in Canada. Thus, Prime Minister King had largely achieved what he set out to do: “to settle the Japanese more or less evenly throughout Canada . . . where they will not create feelings of racial hostility”—and, he added, where they would no longer be able to concentrate in any kind of demographically significant way.23 Moreover, those who did return to British Columbia did so under difficult economic circumstances, for representatives of the Canadian government had sold off, usually at fire-sale prices, Nikkei businesses and property; the proceeds were then applied to the cost of imprisonment.


Despite the initial reticence of many Nikkei North Americans, aspects of the emotional as well as cultural and social impact of wartime incarceration were recognized even at the time, most notably in the Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study (JERS), a sociological assessment of wartime incarceration and its immediate fallout undertaken by social scientists at the University of California, Berkeley. Those effects were even more clearly analyzed in an often-overlooked study by the psychiatrist Alexander Leighton under the aegis of what he called the Bureau of Sociological Research.24 But documentation of the cultural, emotional, and political traumas that Nikkei North Americans suffered has built up only slowly and fragmentarily. Publications related to JERS, for instance, dealt almost exclusively with large-scale phenomena, while Leighton’s book went down in history as merely a study of administrative dynamics. And virtually all studies of wartime incarceration published in the 1950s and 1960s either documented the basic political history or debated questions of constitutional validity and military necessity. However, the lingering effects of wartime injustice—its afterlife—tended to defy expression for a very long time.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but every historical event could conceivably have an afterlife. Nonetheless, as Korematsu-Haigh’s story shows, it is precisely the complexity of afterlife, the myriad ways it shapes personal, cultural, and political investments, that necessitates study. The burden of history rests heavily both on Nikkei North Americans who endured wartime incarceration and on their families. That burden is especially familiar to Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians, who continue to experience it as a persistent intrusion of the memory of imprisonment on the present. And while that persistence tends to make itself felt intermittently, it is both forceful and complex. Consider the following two examples. The first, which shows the extended force of wartime incarceration, was my father’s lifelong insistence that he would only buy cars produced by American-owned companies. To do otherwise, he felt, might lead people to question his patriotism, even after the achievement of redress. Decades after the fact, even years after an official government apology, the memory of being a teenage target of officially sanctioned bigotry continued to have a remarkable impact on him. The second example demonstrates the complexity of how the memory of Executive Order 9066 and its effects continue to play out. In the mid-1990s members of my extended family and I took a trip, for which we mistakenly booked our stay in a dilapidated hotel that also doubled as a youth hostel. The rooms were dirty, the neighbors were loud and the roaches were bold, so my siblings and I spent much of the trip joking about our situation. The jokes continued as we waited for our flight home. During a brief pause, my grandmother quietly remarked that she had seen worse. Asked where, she smiled slyly and said, “in camp.” More than fifty years after Executive Order 9066, wartime incarceration was so woven into the fabric of our family life that it could even crop up in surprising moments of humor.

Wartime incarceration of Nikkei North Americans constituted a very real and important trauma, as the anecdotes about both Fred Korematsu and my father suggest. But as the story of my grandmother also suggests, to speak of trauma is not necessarily to speak of passive victims. It is simply to note the intangible damage done to a group. What happens to that group later, what members of it do afterward, is another story altogether, one that shows the richness of political and cultural agency. For that reason, this book is concerned with moments when the emotional and cultural circumstances produced by wartime incarceration erupted or were redirected into concrete action. It is concerned with moments that drove people to revisit the injustices they suffered as injustices, moments when trauma activated people rather than incapacitated them, to draw them into proactive engagements rather than force them into defensive postures.

In other words, this book maps where a lingering feeling crystallizes into both individual and collective action. It charts the afterlife of wartime incarceration. In so doing, I take as my point of inspiration the work of Avery F. Gordon on haunting, which comprises a wide range of phenomena that enable scholars to interrogate the complexities of power and personhood. One of those phenomena in particular stands out: a continuing, though not necessarily continual, presence of the “over-and-done-with.” As Gordon has noted, “haunting is one way in which abusive systems of power make themselves known and their impacts felt in everyday life, especially when they are supposedly over and done with . . . or when their oppressive nature is denied. . . . Haunting is not the same as being exploited, traumatized or oppressed, although it usually involves these experiences or is produced by them.” Like exploitation, trauma, and oppression, “haunting raises specters, and it alters the experience of being in time, the way we separate the past, the present, and the future.” But the uncanny effect of haunting differs in its potential for provoking activist kinds of reflection. As Gordon goes on to point out, “haunting, unlike trauma, is distinctive for producing a something-to-be-done. . . . [It is] that moment (of however long duration) when things are not in their assigned places, when the cracks and rigging are exposed, when the people who are meant to be invisible show up without any sign of leaving, when disturbed feelings cannot be put away, when something else, something different from before, seems like it must be done.”25

At times—not always—haunting provides an opportunity for one to “imagine otherwise,” that is, to envision a different present and future. And in imagining otherwise, one gets the chance to do otherwise.26 Therein lies the inspiration for this study: in that transition from injustice to agency through personal experience.

However, this book is not a study in haunting per se, though much could still be gained by viewing wartime incarceration through that methodological lens. Gordon’s term designates a range of phenomena, many of which are evanescent—if even perceptible in the first place—and which do not necessarily result in concrete action. By contrast, although afterlife as conceived of in this study begins with lingering, complex feelings, it also encompasses actions and statements that are purposefully detectable. These actions and statements are the result of people bringing their lingering experience into view in order to perpetuate that experience rather than achieve closure. Those people are breathing life back into an experience others might consider, or simply wish, over and done with in order to make it immediate and recognizable to other people. And they do this in order to avert complacency in the face of continuing injustice.

Afterlife manifests itself idiosyncratically, but one can trace it across temporal, generational, and geographical lines. Sometimes it disappears for a while—the missing person in a photograph, the absent presence in family conversations,27 the silence in a Nisei scholar’s pre-1960s work—but it resurfaces time and again in this long and continuing narrative. In short, this book traces what a lingering feeling can achieve across generations, across cultures, and across different systems of oppression.

This is not to imply that Nikkei North Americans all thought and acted alike. On the contrary, the pursuit of redress both north and south of the 49th parallel generated significant disagreement, at times open conflict, among people of Japanese ancestry. Furthermore, political and cultural engagement by people of Japanese ancestry in Canada and the United States took a range of forms.28 They also addressed histories that diverged at key moments. Though the populations of both countries share a legacy of injustice, the ways they do so differ enormously, depending on where, when, and how their paths intersected with that of wartime racism and economic malfeasance. The Japanese Canadian whose recent move to Chicago saved him from incarceration might be inclined to approach that history in ways that differ substantially from those of a woman who was forced from her Vancouver home and sent inland as a child.29

There is ample evidence of both trauma and associated coping mechanisms, some of it documented formally, much of it anecdotal, like the examples I cited above.30 As discussed in this book, afterlife differs from such phenomena in two important ways. First, it constitutes a self-conscious engagement with that slippage between past, present, and future.31 Second, it also engages those not immediately subject to that slippage by extending the experience of injustice beyond people it impacts directly or obviously. Sometimes those differences show up on a large scale, as in the cases of redress, of organizational work on pilgrimages and retroactive diplomas, or of attempts to build the history of Executive Order 9066 into the K-12 curriculum. Other instances are smaller in scale, such as inviting someone to join in a pilgrimage. In all cases, though, the goal is to preserve civil society in the future not just by pointing out its violation in the past but also by modeling its protection in the present.32 Cases such as these are examples of the afterlife of wartime incarceration in their emphasis on what can still be done, rather than what should have been done.

This investment in the afterlife of wartime incarceration does more than demonstrate a profound change in Japanese American and Japanese Canadian agency and identity. The increasing refusal of many Nikkei to treat racism as the cost of doing business in North America is important. But so is their recognition that others must undergo a similar change. For this reason, the secondary goal of recent Nikkei North American activism in its diverse forms has been to relay the afterlife of wartime imprisonment, to impart it even to others who see themselves as having no direct connection to its history (and, as a result, the present and future). Both the lingering feelings one might have and the afterlife to which they might give rise can vary tremendously. The chapters in this book address just a few examples in order to shed light on a mechanism that produces afterlife: empathetic agency, which is the second key concept in this study.

Empathetic Agency and First-Person Experience

The advancement of an afterlife is more than a matter of recording historical facts or even measuring their human toll. The latter two activities are meant to frame the past as a discrete object of study. However, for many Nikkei North Americans the emotional and cultural toll of unjust imprisonment became not only something to which they were subject, but also something with which others might empathize. Conveyed in insistently personal terms, their lingering feelings defied being put away by becoming the disturbance of others. The goal of doing this, I argue, was to produce analogous feelings in onlookers as well as fellow Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians, not just an abstract acknowledgment of a past injustice. Externalizing their experience and their continued engagement with history, Nikkei North Americans have tried to inspire other people to work—albeit in complex and often differing ways—against repetition of what happened to them.

The first-person character of such work is especially important. It can take a verbal form, such as personal testimony provided during the fight for redress and in the wake of 9/11.33 It also can take a nonverbal form, such as the decision of many Nikkei to participate physically in retroactive diploma ceremonies. It involves the explicit discussion of moods and mental states, topics that are rarely associated with postwar Nikkei cultures. It involves reenactment, such as that performed by participants in the Manzanar pilgrimages (the subject of Chapter Four). As a result, even when someone is no longer able to speak in that first person, such as the late Fred Korematsu, the main mode of address remains the same. Empathy comes to the fore as a force for political engagement.

Given this last point, Nikkei North American agency—activated in part by empathy—can be thought of as potentially contagious. The adjective has a strong negative association with disease—an association that has also linked it at critical moments with discourses of race34—but it may be particularly apt here, because the goal of Japanese American and Japanese Canadian political engagements discussed in this book has been to produce new behavior in other people, behavior those people had been capable of but not necessarily predisposed to. In other words, the goal has been to share the afterlife of injustice in order to provoke stronger and more egalitarian participation in civil society by modeling it, providing physical and emotional experiences associated with that society and its failures, experiences that can create an empathetic connection to the past. To share incarceration’s afterlife presumes that productive political engagement can, like a mood that drives it, be infectious. The actions of the people described in this book are like an inoculation that operates case by case and person to person. Its mechanism is, above all else, empathy, and the vector is contact: physical interaction, or seeing and hearing someone at a graduation ceremony or in congressional testimony.35 Whether Korematsu-Haigh speaking with her father, Nikkei legislators and activists testifying before Congress, or former students retroactively receiving their diplomas at the University of British Columbia in 2012, all of these people promote change through human interaction that is simultaneously physical, interpersonal, historical, emotional, and intellectual. With the afterlife of Nikkei wartime incarceration, and unlike disease, the contagion disrupts an unhealthy state: that of historical and political complacency. It does so by relaying itself from person to person, and primarily as a result of empathetic identification.

It has become a truism that the past is a foreign country, but experiences such as Korematsu-Haigh’s show how such a truism nonetheless often remains accurate. Such experiences also demonstrate that we live and interact with that foreign country on a daily basis. And that interaction has the potential to transform us, especially when it takes the form of afterlife. With that in mind, this book tells a story of Nikkei North American empathetic agency, a story of people who have worked not simply to change the people around them, but to change the way those people might change in the first place: the way Korematsu’s historical example accidentally provoked questions in his daughter, for instance, or the way her questions helped provoke renewed reflection and, eventually, purposeful activism on his part.36 This book also tells the story of how the past lingered among Nikkei in Canada and the United States, despite their wish to simply get on with postwar life, and of how that lingering eventually compelled a significant number of people to take action. From Korematsu’s visible pain to his daughter’s astonishment at her hidden family history, the wartime injustices visited upon people of Japanese ancestry in North America continued to play out decades after the initial injury. The Long Afterlife of Nikkei Wartime Incarceration thus also tells the story of a past that continues to defy resolution. That defiance holds not only for those evicted from the West Coasts of Canada and the United States, but also for their children and grandchildren, the Sansei (third-generation), Yonsei (fourth), and even Gosei (fifth), who continue to feel the effects of their parents’, grandparents’, and even great-grandparents’ experiences. Living and interacting with the past, they continue to change, and strive to change others, in response to its continuing presence. Like the category of “Asian America” as described by Kandice Chuh, the force of that past lies in its indeterminacy, rather than in its supposedly stable, identifiable, and identifying over-and-doneness.37

The afterlife of Nikkei North American incarceration and its empathetic foundation also extends beyond a specific historical moment. This is perhaps one of the biggest surprises we meet when we turn our attention to Executive Order 9066 and its aftermath. Most of the discourse surrounding post-incarceration life for Nikkei North Americans has revolved around righting past wrongs, as if in some definitive way. However, Americans and Canadians of Japanese ancestry have long recognized that what happened to them and to their predecessors could easily happen to others, that civil liberties are contingent, particularly in times of crisis. For many of them, revivifying, and not just recalling, the history of wartime incarceration has become an ethical and even moral obligation that compels Nikkei citizens to address contemporary threats similar to what they and their family members faced. Ever mindful of their own past, they call attention to how easily a society may violate the rights of its marginal constituents. Rather than seeking to lay a shameful episode to rest, they have tried to keep that episode in view as a cautionary tale. It is a task of increasing historical and cultural importance as former inmates age, others seek to gloss over that history, and North American societies continue to trumpet what they consider a post-racial era. In her pioneering study of the fight for redress, Alice Yang Murray recently remarked that, “one could have devoted an entire book to a more detailed examination of how one individual’s memories and representations of internment evolved over time.”38 This book takes up that challenge, charting the evolution of key individuals (Tamotsu Shibutani, Norman Mineta, and Warren Furutani), and examining how such evolution can initiate the same kinds of change in others (retroactive diploma ceremonies and the Manzanar pilgrimages). This phenomenon is not limited to Nikkei North American political and cultural engagement. Renee C. Romano, Patricia Hill Collins, and others have documented similar sorts of dynamics among blacks and their interlocutors.39

As this last point might suggest, The Long Afterlife of Nikkei Wartime Incarceration also addresses the way Nikkei North Americans have repeatedly demonstrated the larger applicability of personal experience. Shibutani writing sociological studies of rumor and demoralization in the wake of Executive Order 9066, Mineta testifying in the 1980s before Congress, Furutani walking with fellow pilgrims to Manzanar in the 1960s and 1970s, retroactive diploma recipients participating in the 2012 graduation ceremony at University of British Columbia, Mary Kitagawa leading the fight for those diplomas in Canada, and of course Fred Korematsu speaking about his legal battles: all have done more than reclaim their or their loved ones’ rightful place in North American societies; all have done more than repeat a narrative in the hopes of demonstrating its continued significance for them. Performing crucial parts of Nikkei North American experience, these Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians have chosen self-consciously to demonstrate in the first person the contingency of belonging as well as its relationship to power and the social construction of race.

As a result, this book tells a story of perpetuation rather than closure, of self-conscious haunting. Taking history out of books and into the lives of others, these Nikkei North Americans continually feel the presence of the past. But they also aim to keep the past alive by making it part of the personal experience of those around them. The personal experience of history therefore becomes a means to change the course of society in the future. Making their own past part of the lives of others helps Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians demonstrate the political potential of those around them and, consequently, the responsibilities that come with membership in a civil society. Having found his way from voice to silence and back again, for instance, Korematsu worked diligently for the rest of his life to help others find that same potential for self-expression. Likewise, Mineta, the Manzanar pilgrims, and advocates of retroactive diplomas have all talked about their work not only as political action, but also as opportunities for people to empathize with each other across differences of generation, ethnicity, race, and class. Continuing to speak of wartime incarceration and to embody its aftermath is a means to fight complacency, the presumption that constitutional protections are transparent and universally applied. Empathy is critical in this respect, as older generations enact a kind of foreign-exchange program in which younger generations and non-Nikkei observers live and interact with the past in a personal way. Embodiment provides those people with the opportunity to identify with a story that often seems both done and, more to the point, dusted, especially after the achievement of redress in 1988. The shared afterlife of wartime incarceration directs them toward the same transformative experience Nikkei North Americans underwent and continue to undergo. All of which is another way of saying that the people who form the basis for this book want their own agency to become contagious, moving well beyond the confines of the Japanese American and Canadian communities.

Afterlife and Empathetic Agency beyond Asian America

This book is a history neither of wartime injustice nor of the pursuit of judicial, legislative, and economic reparations. Excellent work has already been done on those topics. Regarding the United States, the earliest texts were mainly sociological studies, though with emphasis on the basic history of Executive Order 9066 and its many implications. (Chapter One will discuss the most famous of these, which stemmed from JERS.40) Several important authors have since revisited wartime incarceration and its circumstances in Canada and in the United States. Ken Adachi, Roger Daniels, Greg Robinson, and Ann Gomer Sunahara, among others, have published groundbreaking work on institutional factors that contributed to the decision to issue exclusionary orders, on life in camp, and on postwar attempts by Nikkei North Americans to reconstruct their lives.41 Daniels, Stephanie Bangarth, and Peter Irons have written extensively about the history of legal challenges to wartime incarceration.42 And authors including Mitchell Maki and his colleagues, Roy Miki, Maryka Omatsu, and Alice Yang Murray have produced excellent studies of the fight for redress in Canada and the United States.43

Rather than attempt to walk the historical path these scholars have marked out, this book builds on the recognition that wartime incarceration continues to hold many surprises, and that those surprises are a barometer of the lingering presence of injustice in the lives of both Nikkei North Americans and those around them. This book provides an interdisciplinary study of how ideas of political agency changed within an immigrant community over time. It builds not only on historical and sociological publications, but also on new primary sources. The latter include interviews with Nikkei activists and politicians, as well as previously unpublished wartime sources. It also examines public discourses of wartime incarceration, particularly from the past twenty years.

The Long Afterlife of Nikkei Wartime Incarceration examines those discourses from a transnational perspective while also addressing the limitations of such a method. Empathetic agency, the building of bridges between individuals and among groups, does not stop at the border of one nation or another. In order to address that bridging as fully as possible, this book employs a transnational frame that can help us understand more fully both mass incarceration and its aftermath. Approaching wartime incarceration as a transnational phenomenon is particularly important, given how small a place the Japanese Canadian narrative has tended to occupy in the larger history of the topic. But thinking continentally rather than nationally can also help explicate the complexities of Asian American identities.44 Drawing on the work of Iyko Day, Eleanor Ty and Donald Goellnicht, Christopher Lee, and Roy Miki, who have done much to shed light on the differences between Asian American and Asian Canadian studies (and related activism), this book addresses what Lee has called the “lateness of Asian Canadian Studies”—that is, two kinds of latency that perpetually defer the development of Asian Canadian studies as a recognizable field of study with a recognizable set of subjects.45 Specifically, The Long Afterlife of Nikkei Wartime Incarceration delineates one set of such subjects in order to elucidate the boundaries of Canadian Asian-ness and, along the way, to reframe the concept of Asian America.

The chapters follow a trajectory from individuals to groups, and from Japanese American actions to more broadly Nikkei North American ones. The first two chapters discuss two important former inmates of prison camps in the United States, Tamotsu Shibutani and Norman Mineta, who provide examples of how the afterlife of mass incarceration helped transform some people into resolute agents, whose work might begin in localized ways but extends toward other marginalized groups. Shifting the geographical and cultural scope of the book, Chapter Three looks at Canadian discourses of redress as they developed in tandem with, but also sometimes at a remove from, those that arose in the United States, expressing a complex and sometimes contradictory transnational Nikkei sense of self. Chapter Four expands the temporal scope of the book by looking at how the lingering effects of unjust imprisonment were transmitted from generation to generation, and how younger generations who had not experienced life in camp sought to extend that transmission as well as understand its roots. Chapter Five synthesizes these approaches by talking about key individuals in the international and, in some respects, also transnational pursuit of retroactive diplomas; by highlighting intergenerational engagement; by discussing enlisting non-Nikkei observers; and by shedding light on attempts to establish a kind of afterlife that will extend into the future.

As the historical moments represented in this book show, every iteration of Nikkei North American incarceration, while complex and hard to capture in detail, is a chance to recognize the embodiment of the past in the present: the beginning in the 1960s of pilgrimages to prison sites; the fight for redress during the 1970s and ’80s; warnings and reminders about the contingency of civil liberties after 2001; and ongoing diploma ceremonies for formerly evicted students. Across decades, diverse communities, and borders, the business of wartime incarceration remains unfinished, not only because former inmates, their children, and their grandchildren continue to feel the effects of that injustice, but also because they also recognize the need to perpetuate the personal as well as political memory of that injustice, particularly during times of crisis. By directing people outward, the goal of producing empathetic agency has made Nikkei North Americans increasingly vocal about their experience, or that of their parents or grandparents. That they have done so and how they have done so are historically important; so, too, is why they have done so. Having given voice to the persistence of history they have long felt, they now work to extend that persistence to others through stimulating empathy and action based on that empathy. The Long Afterlife of Nikkei Wartime Incarceration hence examines but one link in a chain that binds people together, allowing them to exist and coexist in groups. This book is an effort to help others live and interact with that past in order to become more fully human.


1. This study refers to incarceration and, occasionally, imprisonment, rather than “internment” for the simple reason that over 120,000 Nikkei North Americans were in fact prisoners. It also refers to “camps,” for two very specific reasons. First, the term is used here as an abbreviation of the longer and more accurate, if loaded, term, “concentration camps.” (No less an authority than Franklin Delano Roosevelt found the word applicable.) Second, and more importantly, it also is the term most Nikkei have used, including in the author’s family. It therefore seems like a fitting term to her, insofar as it carries complex and frequently ironic implications that became familiar and, eventually, clear to her only over decades of use. On the importance of terminology, see Roger Daniels, “Words Do Matter: A Note on Inappropriate Terminology and the Incarceration of the Japanese Americans,” in Louis Fiset and Gail Nomura, eds., Nikkei in the Pacific Northwest: Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians in the Twentieth Century (Seattle: Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest, 2005): 183–207. Daniels (ibid., 201) also discusses Roosevelt’s apparently unreflective admission. With respect to Canada, see Mona Oikawa, Cartographies of Violence: Japanese Canadian Women, Memory, and the Subjects of the Internment (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012): 23–25 and 39–43.

2. On Korematsu’s case, as well as those of others who resisted incarceration, see Peter Irons, The Courage of Their Convictions (New York: Penguin, 1988); idem, Justice at War: The Story of the Japanese American Internment Cases (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993); Roger Daniels, The Japanese American Cases: The Rule of Law in Time of War (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2013); Lorraine K. Bannai, “Taking the Stand: The Lessons of Three Men Who Took the Japanese American Internment to Court,” Seattle Journal for Social Justice 4:1 (2005): 1–57; idem, Enduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justice (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2015); Patrick O. Gudridge, “The Constitution Glimpsed from Tule Lake,” in Eric L. Muller, ed., “Judgments Judged and Wrongs Remembered: Examining the Japanese American Civil Liberties Cases on Their Sixtieth Anniversary,” a special issue of Law and Contemporary Problems 68:2 (2005): 81–118; idem, “Remember ‘Endo’?,” Harvard Law Review 116:7 (2003): 1933–1970; Eugene R. Gressman, “Korematsu: A Mélange of Military Imperatives,” in Muller ed., “Judgments Judged and Wrongs Remembered,” 15–27. See also Stephanie Bangarth, Voices Raised in Protest: Defending North American Citizens of Japanese Ancestry, 1942–1949 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2008); Masumi Izumi, “Japanese American Internment and the Emergency Detention Act (Title II of the Internal Security Act of 1950), 1941–1971: Balancing Internal Security and Civil Liberties in the United States” (PhD diss., Doshisha University, 2003), esp. chap. 1; and idem, “Alienable Citizenship: Race, Loyalty and the Law in the Age of ‘American Concentration Camps,’ 1941–1971,” Asian American Law Journal 13:1 (2006): 1–30. On Nikkei draft resisters, see Eric L. Muller, Free to Die for Their Country: The Story of the Japanese American Draft Resisters in World War II (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001); idem, “A Penny for Their Thoughts: Draft Resistance at the Poston Relocation Center,” in Muller, ed., “Judgments Judged and Wrongs Remembered,” 119–157.

3. Karen Korematsu-Haigh, interview by Neal Conan, January 31, 2012, (accessed June 6, 2014). For the text in question, see Roger Daniels, Concentration Camps USA: Japanese Americans and World War II (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971). On the obliviation of wartime imprisonment in schools, particularly with respect to women, see Oikawa, Cartographies of Violence, 267–302.

4. Harry H. L. Kitano, Japanese Americans: Evolution of a Subculture (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1969); Yasuko I. Takezawa, Breaking the Silence: Redress and Japanese American Ethnicity (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995).

5. Korematsu-Haigh, interview.

6. Kitano, Japanese Americans, remains the classic source; Takezawa, Breaking the Silence, provides a wealth of case studies. See also Bill Hosokawa, Nisei: The Quiet Americans, rev. ed. (Boulder: University of Colorado Press, 2002), which was first published the same year as Kitano’s study.

7. See Chapters Two and Three.

8. As Korematsu-Haigh pointed out in her interview with Neal Conan, Korematsu’s felony conviction barred him from many kinds of work.

9. See Irons, The Courage of Their Convictions.

10. See Korematsu’s comments on the profiling of Arab Americans and Muslims in the wake of 9/11 in the documentary by Eric Paul Fournier, Civil Wrongs and Rights: The Fred Korematsu Story (San Francisco: National Asian American Telecommunications Association, 2001). On the relationship between wartime incarceration and post-9/11 policy, see Jerry Kang, “Denying Prejudice: Internment, Redress, and Denial,” UCLA Law Review 51 (2004): 933–1013; idem, “Watching the Watchers: Enemy Combattants in the Internment’s Shadow,” in Muller, ed., “Judgments Judged and Wrongs Remembered,” 255–283; Eric L. Muller, “12/7 and 9/11: War, Liberties, and the Lessons of History,” West Virginia Law Review 104:3 (2002): 571–592; idem, “Inference or Impact? Racial Profiling and the Interment’s True Legacy,” Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law 103 (2003): 103–131; Greg Robinson and Toni Robinson, “Korematsu and Beyond: Japanese Americans and the Origins of Strict Scrutiny,” in Muller, ed., “Judgments Judged and Wrongs Remembered,” 29–55; A. Wallace Tashima, “Play It Again, Uncle Sam,” in Muller, ed., “Judgments Judged and Wrongs Remembered,” 7–14.

11. See, for instance, Saidiya Hartman, Lose Your Mother: A Journey along the Atlantic Slave Route (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007).

12. On more radical Asian American approaches to the civil rights movement, see Yuri Kochiyama, Passing It On: A Memoir (Los Angeles: UCLA Asian American Studies Center Press, 2004); Diane C. Fujino, Samurai among Panthers: Richard Aoki on Race, Resistance, and a Paradoxical Life (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012); idem, Heartbeat of Struggle: The Revolutionary Life of Yuri Kochiyama (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005). On radicalism in Asia, see Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, Radicals on the Road: Internationalism, Orientalism, and Feminism during the Vietnam Era (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013).

13. For an in-depth discussion of Roosevelt’s decision to incarcerate Nikkei, see most recently Greg Robinson, By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003), esp. 73–124; Roger Daniels, Prisoners Without Trial: Japanese Americans in World War II, rev. ed. (New York: Hill and Wang, 2004); Brian Masaru Hayashi, Democratizing the Enemy: The Japanese American Internment (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008).

14. On non-Nikkei inmates of these camps, see Paul R. Spickard, “Injustice Compounded: Amerasians and Non-Japanese Americans in World War II Concentration Camps,” Journal of American Ethnic History 5:2 (1986): 5–22.

15. In addition to Daniels, Prisoners Without Trial, see also Jeffrey Burton, Mary Farrell, Florence Lord, and Richard Lord, Confinement and Ethnicity: An Overview of World War II Japanese American Relocation Sites (Tucson, AZ: Western Archeological and Conservation Center, National Park Service, 1999), on the physical circumstances of wartime incarceration.

16. Yamato Ichihashi, Japanese in the United States: A Critical Study of the Problems of the Japanese Immigrants and Their Children (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1932), 364: “The history of Japanese immigration to the United States ended with the exclusion law of 1924, and with it hostile sentiment even in the historic anti-Japanese district began to moderate, and subsequently there has been little hostility to the Japanese. This tendency is said to be due to the fact that those who were interested in bringing about exclusion consider it as the definitive settlement of the Japanese question.” On Nikkei in the United States before imprisonment, see Yuji Ichioka, The Issei: The World of the First Generation Japanese Immigrants, 1885–1924 (New York: Collier Macmillan, 1988); Paul Spickard, Japanese Americans: The Formation and Transformations of an Ethnic Group, rev. ed. (New York, Twayne, 1996), esp. chaps. 1–5; and Jere Takahashi, Nisei/Sansei: Shifting Japanese American Identities and Politics (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1997), chap. 1.

17. See Roger Daniels, Prisoners Without Trial; idem, The Politics of Prejudice: The Anti-Japanese Movement in California and the Struggle for Japanese Exclusion, rev. ed. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977). Daniels documents how the growing success of Nikkei in agriculture (and thus competition for white farmers), combined with general anti-Asian sentiment, provided the impetus for their wartime removal. Even though the U.S. government investigated Nikkei to see if it could find evidence of traitorous activity and found none (as determined by the Munson Report), widespread racial hysteria and hatred fueled the removal of Nikkei from the West Coast. See also Hayashi, Democratizing the Enemy. For earlier discussions of the motivation behind incarceration, see Morton Grodzins, Americans Betrayed (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1949); and Jacobus tenBroek, Edward N. Barnhart, and Floyd W. Matson, Prejudice, War, and the Constitution: Causes and Consequences of the Evacuation of the Japanese Americans in World War II (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1954).

18. See Ken Adachi, The Enemy That Never Was: An Account of the Deplorable Treatment Inflicted on Japanese Canadians during World War Two (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1976); Audrey Kobayashi, “The Historical Context of Japanese-Canadian Uprooting,” in Ludger Müller-Wille, ed., Social Change and Space: Indigenous Nations and Ethnic Communities (Montreal: McGill University, 1989), 69–82; Ann Gomer Sunahara, The Politics of Racism: The Uprooting of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War (Toronto: Lorimer, 1981). Sunahara’s book is now available online: For a comparative account of North American policies and their outcomes on either side of the U.S.-Canadian border, see Greg Robinson, A Tragedy of Democracy: Japanese Confinement in North America (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009).

19. This paragraph depends on the analysis in Adachi, The Enemy That Never Was, esp. 189–216. On Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s approach to Nikkei in the United States, see Greg Robinson, By Order of the President.

20. See, for instance, Priscilla Wegars, Imprisoned in Paradise: Japanese Internee Road Workers at the World War II Kooskia Internment Camp (Moscow, ID: Asian American Comparative Collective/University of Idaho, 2010).

21. Ibid., 199–224. In some instances, local authorities seem to have recognized the potential economic benefits of having a new influx of residents (ibid., 254).

22. Roy Miki and Cassandra Kobayashi, Justice in Our Time: The Japanese Canadian Redress Settlement (Vancouver, BC: Talonbooks, 1991), 47. On the experience of these people, see Tatsuo Kage, Uprooted Again: Japanese Canadians Move to Japan after World War II, trans. by Kathleen Chisato Merken (Victoria, BC: Ti-Jean Press, 2012).

23. Quoted in Adachi, The Enemy That Never Was, 335. This book, in particular chapter 14, remains the standard source on the postwar treatment of Nikkei in Canada. However, see also Robinson, A Tragedy of Democracy, esp. 262–274; and Roy Miki, Redress: Inside the Japanese Canadian Call for Justice (Vancouver, BC: Raincoast Books, 2005), esp. chaps. 4 and 5.

24. On Leighton’s work in Poston, see Karen M. Inouye, “Changing History: Competing Notions of Japanese American Experience, 1942–2006” (PhD diss., Brown University, 2008), chap. 2.

25. Avery F. Gordon, Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997), xvi.

26. See in particular Kandice Chuh, who draws on Gordon’s formulation for the title of her book, Imagine Otherwise: On Asian Americanist Critique (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003), esp. 58–84. See also Avery F. Gordon, Keeping Good Time: Reflections on Knowledge, Power, and People (Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2004).

27. On the political invisibility of Nikkei in the years after the war, see Caroline Chung Simpson, An Absent Presence: Japanese Americans in Postwar American Culture, 1945–1960 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002).

28. See Fujino, Samurai among Panthers, and idem, Heartbeat of Struggle.

29. S. I. Hayakawa, who strongly opposed redress, provides an example of the first instance; Mary Kitagawa, who figures prominently in Chapter Five, exemplifies the second.

30. See, for instance, Amy I. Mass, “The Psychological Effects of the Camps on Japanese Americans,” in Roger Daniels, Sandra C. Taylor, and Harry H. L. Kitano, eds., Japanese Americans: From Relocation to Redress, rev. ed. (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2013), 159–162; idem, “Psychological Effects of Internment,” in Mike Mackey, ed., A Matter of Conscience: Essays on the World War II Heart Mountain Draft Resistance Movement (Powell, WY: Western History Publications, 2002), 145–152; Donna K. Nagata, Legacy of Injustice: Exploring the Cross-Generational Impact of the Japanese American Internment (New York: Plenum Press, 1993); Donna K. Nagata and Yuzuru J. Takeshita, “Coping and Resilience across Generations: Japanese Americans and the World War II Internment,” Psychoanalytic Review 85 (1998): 587–613; and Inouye, “Changing History.”

31. Cf. Hartman, Lose Your Mother, 6. See also Kirsten Emiko McAllister, “Stories of Escape: Family Photographs from World War Two Internment Camps,” in Annette Kuhn and Kirsten Emiko McAllister, eds., Locating Memory: Photographic Acts (Oxford: Berghahn, 2006), 81–110; idem, Terrain of Memory: A Japanese Canadian Memorial Project (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2010).

32. I follow the definition of civil society offered by Jürgen Habermas: a “sphere of private autonomy” that articulates its needs via political organs in the public sphere. According to this definition, wartime incarceration was a failure on the part of government, but it also on the part of those government serves. See Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, trans. Thomas Burger with Frederick Lawrence (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989), 73. On the intertwining of public and private, particularly as they bear on economic concerns, see Grodzins, Americans Betrayed. See also Eric K. Yamamoto, “White (House) Lies: Why the Public Must Compel the Courts to Hold the President Accountable for National Security Abuses,” in Muller, ed., “Judgments Judged and Wrongs Remembered,” 285–339.

33. This is not to suggest that such strategies are unique to Japanese American and Japanese Canadian activisms.

34. I use the term “contagious” specifically to repurpose it. On historical discourses of Asian bodies in relationship to their supposedly white counterparts, see Nayan Shah, Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco’s Chinatown (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), and Warwick Anderson, Colonial Pathologies: American Tropical Medicine, Race, and Hygiene in the Philippines (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006).

35. My model of empathy derives from that in Karl F. Morrison, I Am You: The Hermeneutics of Empathy in Western Literature, Theology, and Art (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988). Cf. Fritz Breithaupt, Kulturen der Empathie (Berlin: Suhrkamp/Insel, 2009), and idem, “A Three-Person Model of Empathy,” Emotion Review 4:1 (2012): 84–91. On empathy and wartime incarceration, see Kirsten Emiko McAllister, “Memoryscapes of Postwar British Columbia: A Look of Recognition,” in Ashok Mathur, Jonathan Dewar, and Mike DeGagné, eds., Cultivating Canada: Reconciliation through the Lens of Cultural Diversity, Aboriginal Healing Foundation, vol. 3 (Ottawa, ON: Aboriginal Healing Foundation, 2011), 419–444, esp. 440–441.

36. It is important to emphasize, however, the importance of work by Peter Irons and Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga, who turned up evidence of government misbehavior and, thus, greatly increased the chances of legal victory for Korematsu and his fellow resisters of Executive Order 9066.

37. Chuh, Imagine Otherwise, 83.

38. Alice Yang Murray, Historical Memories of the Japanese American Internment and the Struggle for Redress (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008), 13.

39. Renee C. Romano, Racial Reckoning: Prosecuting America’s Civil Rights Murders (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014); Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (Boston: Routledge, 1990); Orlando Patterson, Slavery and Social Death: A Comparative Study (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985); Lisa Cacho, Social Death: Racialized Rightlessness and the Criminalization of the Unprotected (New York: New York University Press, 2012).

40. Publications associated with JERS include Dorothy Swaine Thomas and Richard S. Nishimoto, The Spoilage (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1946); Dorothy Swaine Thomas, The Salvage (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1952); and tenBroek et al., Prejudice, War, and the Constitution. Grodzins’s Americans Betrayed grew out of his work for JERS, but a falling out with Thomas led to this text standing apart from the others. See Peter Suzuki, “For the Sake of Inter-University Comity: The Attempted Suppression by the University of California of Morton Grodzins’ Americans Betrayed,” in Ichioka, ed., Views from Within, 95–123; Stephen O. Murray, “The Rights of Research Assistants and the Rhetoric of Political Suppression: Morton Grodzins and the University of California Japanese-American Evacuation and Resettlement Study,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 27:2 (1991): 130–156.

41. On Canada, see Adachi, The Enemy That Never Was; Sunahara, The Politics of Racism. On the United States (and, in some cases, also Canada), see Roger Daniels, Concentration Camps USA; idem, Concentration Camps, North America: Japanese in the United States and Canada during World War II (Malabar, FL: Kreiger, 1993); idem, Prisoners Without Trial; Greg Robinson, After Camp: Portraits in Midcentury Japanese American Life and Politics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012); idem, By Order of the President; idem, A Tragedy of Democracy; Michi Weglyn, Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of America’s Concentration Camps (New York: Morrow, 1976). See also the report of the U.S. Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, Personal Justice Denied: Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (Washington, D.C.: Government Publications Office, 1982).

42. See Bangarth, Voices Raised in Protest; Daniels, Japanese American Cases; Irons, The Courage of Their Convictions; idem, Justice at War.

43. See Leslie T. Hatamiya, Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and the Passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1993); Bill Hosokawa, JACL in Quest of Justice: The History of the Japanese American Citizens League (New York: Morrow, 1982); William Minoru Hohri, Repairing America: An Account of the Movement for Japanese-American Redress (Pullman: Washington State University Press, 1988); Mitchell T. Maki, Harry H. L. Kitano, and S. Megan Berthold, Achieving the Impossible Dream: How Japanese Americans Obtained Redress (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999); Miki, Redress; Maryka Omatsu, Bittersweet Passage: Redress and the Japanese Canadian Experience (Toronto: Between the Lines, 1992); and Yang Murray, Historical Memories.

44. See Chuh, Imagine Otherwise, esp. chap. 2; Iyko Day, “Alien Intimacies: The Coloniality of Japanese Incarceration in Australia, Canada, and the U.S.,” Amerasia Journal 36:2 (2010): 107–124.

45. Iyko Day, “Lost in Transnation: Uncovering Asian Canada,” Amerasia Journal 33:2 (2007): 69–86; Donald Goellnicht, “Asian Kanadian, Eh?,” Canadian Literature 199 (2008): 71–99; Christopher Lee, “The Lateness of Asian Canadian Studies,” Amerasia Journal 33:2 (2007): 1–17; Roy Miki, “Altered States: Global Currents, the Spectral Nation, and the Production of ‘Asian Canadian,’Journal of Canadian Studies/Revue d’études canadiennes 35:3 (2000): 43–72; idem, “Asiancy: Making Space for Asian Canadian Writing,” in Gary Y. Okihiro, Marilyn Alquizola, Dorothy Fujita Rony, and K. Scott Wong, eds., Privileging Positions: The Sites of Asian American Studies (Pullman: Washington State University Press, 1995): 135–151; and Eleanor Ty and Donald Goellnicht, “Introduction,” in Eleanor Ty and Donald Goellnicht, eds., Asian North American Identities: Beyond the Hyphen (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004), 1–14. See also a roundtable discussion featuring Guy Beauregard, Iyko Day, Glenn Deer, Donald Goellnicht, Christopher Lee, Marie Lo, Roy Miki, Rita Wong, and Henry Yu: “Epilogue: A Conversation on Unfinished Projects,” Canadian Literature 199 (2008): 208–211.