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The Internment of the Japanese (book)

Creators: Diane Yancey

Overview book by Diane Yancey on the wartime forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans for middle school audiences that is part of Lucent Books "World History Series."


The Internment of the Japanese tells its story in seven chapters, along with a brief introductory overview and epilogue. Chapter 1, "The Japanese 'Problem,'" provides an overview of Japanese immigration and settlement, along with the anti-Japanese movement and problems faced by the Nisei just prior to the war. Chapter 2, "Definite Menace," recounts to events leading up to Executive Order 9066 , including initial reactions to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the roundup of enemy aliens, reports from Kenneth Ringle and Curtis Munson , the rise of anti-Japanese sentiment, and the role of General John DeWitt and key figures in the Justice and War Departments. Chapter 3, "Military Necessity," focused on the roundup of West Coast Japanese Americans and life in the " assembly centers ." Chapter 4, "Behind Barbed Wire," focused on life in the War Relocation Authority (WRA) camps, including living conditions such as food, health care, and education, as well as unrest. Chapter 5, "A Question of Loyalty," looks at the loyalty questionnaire episode and its aftermath, Tule Lake , and those groups who left camp early (farm workers, college students, and soldiers). Chapter 6, "Breakthrough," focused on the ending of exclusion and four key legal cases decided by the Supreme Court. Chapter 7, "Return to Freedom," looks as the closing of the camps and its aftermath, including the All-Center Conference , the various issues faced by those who returned to the West Coast, and postwar legal cases and legislation that addressed discrimination. A brief epilogue examines the postwar silence of Japanese Americans and redress movement .

Each chapter includes two or more sidebars that quote from scholarly works or primary sources as well as numerous photographs. The book also includes a chronology, a foreword that serves as a general series introduction, and lists of suggestions for further reading and of works the author consulted.

Additional Information

Author Diane Yancey (1951– ) has written over forty books for juvenile audience since the early 1990s, many for Lucent Books. Many of her books are on aspects of U.S. history, health, or crime. She wrote a prior book on the incarceration, Life in a Japanese American Internment Camp , as part of Lucent's "The Way People Live" series, in 1998.

The Internment of the Japanese is well researched and contains only minor historical errors or over generalizations. These include claims that Asian school children in San Francisco in 1906 "would be barred from public primary schools" (page 17; they were relegated to segregated schools); that enemy aliens arrested after the attack on Pearl Harbor "were taken to Justice Department internment camps" (27; many also were sent to camps run by the army); that barracks in WRA camps "were arranged with military precision into blocks of twenty-four each" (50; depending on the camp, blocks had anywhere from twelve to twenty-four barracks); that barrack rooms were "heated by a small oil-burning stove" (51; depending on the camp, some had stoves that burned wood or coal); that at Manzanar , "a group of men led by Joe Kurihara attacked one of these informers" (58; though Kurihara was indeed an agitator at Manzanar, he played no direct role in the attack); that the Evacuation Claims Act "set aside only $38 million to cover the claims" (90; the $38 million figure is the amount eventually paid out in claims, not the amount allocated); and that author " Yoshiko Uchida was only a teen when she and her family were interned at the Topaz center in Utah during the war" (97; Uchida, born on Nov. 24, 1921, turned twenty-one shortly after arriving at Topaz). Park College in Missouri is also referred to as "Parks College" (63).

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Might also like Looking Like the Enemy: My Story of Imprisonment in Japanese-American Internment Camps: Young Reader's Edition by Mary Matsuda Gruenewald; The Japanese Internment Camps: A History Perspectives Book by Rachel A. Bailey; Remembering Manzanar: Life in a Japanese Relocation Camp by Michael L. Cooper

Media Details
Author Diane Yancey
Pages 112
Publication Date 2001