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Korematsu v. The United States: World War II Japanese-American Internment Camps (book)

Creators: Karen Latchana Kenney

Book for young adult readers on the Korematsu v. U.S. Supreme Court case by Karen Latchana Kenney. The 160 page volume is part of ABDO Publishing Company's "Landmark Supreme Court Cases" series of eight books.


The book begins with Ernest Besig , the director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Northern California office, visiting Fred Korematsu in prison, where he had been sent for violating a civilian exclusion order banning Japanese Americans. Subsequent chapters cover Japanese immigration to and settlement in the U.S., the attack on Pearl Harbor, the roundup and internment of Japanese community leaders, the events that led to Executive Order 9066 , and Korematsu's decision to defy the exclusion orders, mixing in biographical information on Korematsu and his family. The core of the book covers Korematsu's various trials: his initial trial and appeal, mixed in with his experiences as an inmate at Tanforan Assembly Center and the Topaz , Utah, concentration camp; the U.S. Supreme Court case; and the 1980s coram nobis case. Given the legal focus on the book, these chapters include the core arguments made by the lawyers on both sides and excerpts from the judges' rulings, and in the case of the Supreme Court case, from the dissenting opinions as well. A final chapters discusses Korematsu's postwar life and continued activism, the redress movement , and the continuing relevance of the case, particularly in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Additional Information

Minneapolis, Minnesota, based author Karen Latchana Kenney has written numerous books for children and young adults on a wide range of topics. The content consultant for this book was Richard D. Friedman, the Alene and Allan F. Smith Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School. The book is illustrated with photographs both related to Korematsu and his cases and to the forced removal and incarceration in general.

The book draws heavily on the scholarship of Peter Irons and Lorraine Bannai and like them, draws relatively negative portrayals of Korematsu attorney Wayne Collins and the Japanese American Citizens League . The details of the story are otherwise accurately presented with a couple of minor exceptions: in describing the run up to Executive Order 9066 the Joint Immigration Committee is referred to as a committee of California state legislature and Kenneth Ringle 's position with the Office of Naval Intelligence is inflated. While the narrative also includes descriptions of the Hirabayashi and Yasui cases, the Endo case, while mentioned, is given only token treatment.

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho
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Media Details
Author Karen Latchana Kenney
Pages 160
Publication Date 2013