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Justice Denied: A History of the Japanese in the United States (book)

Creators: Jennifer Cross


Early overview of the history of Japanese Americans for young readers by British author/activist Jennifer Cross.

Published by Firebird Books, an imprint of Scholastic Books, Justice Denied is one of the earliest children's books on Japanese American history. It is divided into nineteen short chapters, eleven of which focus on the World War II years. Justice Denied begins with the story of Japanese labor migration to the continental U.S. in the context of the anti-Chinese Movement and covers the rise of Little Tokyos, the anti-Japanese Movement , and the arrival and dilemmas of the Nisei . (It largely ignores the story of Japanese Americans in Hawai'i.) The wartime chapters cover the roundup of enemy aliens after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the subsequent mass forced removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast, life in the " assembly centers " and War Relocation Authority administered concentration camps, the " loyalty questionnaire " and segregation , Nisei military service , and leaving the camps. Cross relies heavily on Miné Okubo 's Citizen 13660 in portraying the roundup and life in the camps and on Bill Hosokawa 's Nisei: The Quiet Americans in its depiction of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). Illustrated by historical photographs, Justice Denied lacks the statistics, primary sources, or study guides found in many later books.

Author Jennifer Cross (1932– ) was born in London and holds a B.A. from King's College, London, in 1953. She worked as an editor and secretary for publishing companies in the 1950s and later worked in a London ad agency before becoming a San Francisco based freelance journalist and writer who contributed regularly to left-leaning magazines The Nation and San Francisco Bay Area Guardian . Her first book, The Supermarket Trap: The Consumer and the Food Industry was published by Indiana University Press in 1970 and based on articles she had written for The Nation . Justice Denied was her second book and the only book she has written for children. She later co-wrote or edited three more books.

Justice Denied gets most of the facts right in its account of Japanese American history, though it contains a few minor errors. In describing " voluntary evacuation ," Cross writes that "[l]ess than three thousand Japanese Americans left the military area" (page 73; the figure was closer to 5,000); a photograph showing soldiers guarding a prison camp in which inmates are kept in tents is described in the caption as a War Relocation Authority camp (86; there were no tents in WRA camps); Cross cites the "rescue of one thousand Texans" in recounting Lost Battalion episode (106; the actual figure was a little over 200); and in recounting monetary losses suffered by Japanese Americans due to forced removal and incarceration, she uses the $400 million figure (116) that Mike Masaoka of the JACL later admitted to making up.

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Might also like The Invisible Thread by Yoshiko Uchida; Fred Korematsu Speaks Up by Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi; I Am an American: A True Story of Japanese Internment by Jerry Stanley

Media Details
Author Jennifer Cross
Pages 128
Publication Date 1972