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Browse > Time > 1940s

117 articles

Aleut Evacuation: The Untold War Story (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Displacement, Evils of racism, Injustice, Power of the past

Documentary film that tells the story of the forced removal and incarceration of the Aleut people from their ancestral Alaskan homes to detention camps in southwest Alaska during World War II. Based on interviews with surviving inmates and their descendants and on historical photographs and documents, Aleut Evacuation proceeds in largely chronological fashion, starting with a brief portrait of the Aleut community prior to the war, then covering their forcible removal by the U.S. government—ostensibly for their own protection in the face of possible Japanese attack—and their subsequent incarceration in several different camps. Focusing first on the largest camp, Funter Bay, which held those from the Pribilof Islands, it also considers a camp on Killisnoo Island where those from Atka were held, along with Ward Lake, where those from smaller villages were incarcerated. Former inmates remember the poor and harsh conditions in the camps and the rampant health problems they …

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The Fences Between Us: The Diary of Piper Davis (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Coming of age, Injustice, Loss of innocence
  • Widely available

Novel for elementary and middle schoolers about a young white teenage girl's experience of World War II including the Japanese American removal and incarceration told in the form of a diary. The Fences Between Us is part of the Dear America series, all of which are written in the form of diaries by young women/girls from various key moments in U.S. history.

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From Barbed Wire to Battlefields: Japanese American Experiences in WWII (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • History
  • Heroism - real and perceived, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Displacement, Evils of racism
  • Available

Exhibition on the Japanese American incarceration and on Japanese Americans in the U.S. armed forces during World War II at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana. Barbed Wire to Battlefields opened in the Joe W. and D. D. Brown Foundation Special Exhibit Gallery on March 15, 2014, and ran through October 12, 2014. The exhibition featured the photographs of Dorothea Lange , Ansel Adams , and Bill Mambo along with objects and video interviews. In conjunction with the exhibition, the museum put on a slate of public programs including book events, lectures, and film screenings, and incorporated curricular material and a webinar aimed at school children. The exhibition was funded in part by the the Annenberg Foundation and the Eugenie and Joseph Jones Family Foundation. The National World War II Museum opened in New Orleans in 2000 at the National D-Day Museum.

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Mendez v. Westminster: For All the Children (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Change versus tradition, Injustice, Rights - individual or societal
  • Limited availability

Children's picture book that tells in simplified form the story of the landmark Mendez case that ultimately ended segregated schools in California. The story is told through the perspective of Sylvia Mendez who is eight years old in 1943. Having rented the farm of Munemitsu family, who had been forcibly removed to concentration camps, they were new to Westminster, California. When she and her brothers are prohibited from attending the same school as her cousins (who can pass as "white") and must attend the inferior school for those of Mexican, African or Asian ancestry, her family decides to sue. With the help of lawyer David C. Marcus—and support from various organizations including the Japanese American Citizens League —the suit proves successful, ending segregation in the state. A brief epilogue notes the long-term impact of the case and the fate of Sylvia and others involved in it.

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What, No Sushi? My Solar-Powered History at a Japanese-American Internment Camp (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Injustice, Power of the past, Family – blessing or curse
  • Widely available

Book aimed at elementary school children about three young brothers from Alaska who take a time machine to experience the mass exclusion and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II with their great-grandmother in California.

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The Service Flags (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Evils of racism, Heroism—real and perceived, Individual versus society, Loss of innocence, Self-reliance
  • Widely available

Short story by Bill Hosokawa about the first days of resettlement of a young mother and her nine-year-old son. Helen Yamano and her son Jamie arrive in an unspecified city, and she hangs two flags, one for her brother who had been killed, presumably as an Military Intelligence Service linguist, and one for her husband, who is serving in Europe in the 442nd . Her first days on the job are difficult, as one of her co-workers makes trouble for her. Jamie is called a "Jap" by one of the boys on his first day of school. Helen tells him that like his father, he needs to fight to be accepted, and the next day he does.

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The Legacy of a Cemetery (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Reunion, Wisdom of experience
  • Limited availability

First person reflections on a trip back to his hometown of Los Angeles by a man who had settled in New Jersey after leaving the Jerome , Arkansas, concentration camps some thirty years earlier. A visit to Evergreen Cemetery east of downtown Los Angeles brings back memories of his forced removal in 1942, remembrances of Nisei soldiers he knew who are buried there, and memories of his deceased family members.

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Conscience and the Constitution (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Convention and rebellion, Illusion of power, Injustice, Power of the past, Rights - individual or societal
  • Widely available

Influential documentary film that tells the story of the draft resistance movement at Heart Mountain . Journalist Frank Abe produced, directed, and wrote the hour-long film, which was released in 2000.

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The Hawai'i Nisei Story (website)

  • Websites
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Virtual Exhibit
  • Heroism – real and perceived, Role of men, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Website developed in the mid-2000s by the University of Hawai'i built around oral histories of Nisei veterans from Hawai'i.

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Leap of Faith: How Enmanji Temple Was Saved (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Evils of racism, Importance of community, Role of Religion – virtue or hypocrisy
  • Available

Documentary short film by Lina Hoshino about a group of white Christian teenagers who guard a California Buddhist temple during World War II in an effort to deter vandalism.

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Japanese American Internment Camps (Children's Press) (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, History
  • Evils of racism, Hazards of passing judgment, Injustice, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Available

Short overview book for younger children on the wartime removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans that is part of Children's Press's "Cornerstones of Freedom," Second Series of books.

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Burma Rifles: A Story of Merrill's Marauders (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Historical Fiction, Children's
  • Heroism – real and perceived, Injustice, Vulnerability of the strong, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Limited availability

Book for young readers by Frank Bonham centering on a Nisei intelligence soldier in Burma during World War II. Published in 1960, it is among the first children's books to depict the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans.

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The Japanese American Internment: An Interactive History Adventure (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, History
  • Displacement, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications
  • Available

Children's book on the wartime incarceration by Rachael Hanel that allows the reader to choose one of three stories and to make a series of decisions in each story that determines its outcome.

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Proof of Loyalty: Kazuo Yamane and the Nisei Soldiers of Hawaii (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Heroism – real and perceived, Patriotism – positive side or complications
  • Widely available

Documentary film on a Nisei war hero from Hawai'i who served with the Military Intelligence Service during World War II.

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Come See the Paradise (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama, History, Romance
  • Everlasting love, Family – blessing or curse, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Widely available

The content in this article is still under development. A completed version will appear soon!

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Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration During World War II and a Librarian Who Made a Difference (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 7-8
  • Young Adult
  • Coming of age, Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Heroism – real and perceived, Injustice
  • Widely available

Book for young adult readers by Joanne Oppenheim that tells the story of the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans through the wartime correspondence between a San Diego librarian and the incarcerated young people whom she had befriended at the library.

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The Children of Topaz: The Story of the Japanese-American Internment Camp (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's
  • Companionship as salvation, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Loss of innocence
  • Widely available

Children's book by Michael O. Tunnell and George W. Chilcoat based on a class diary kept by a 3rd grade teacher at Topaz .

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Legacy of the Nisei: Stories of Japanese American Internment and World War II Veterans (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Heroism - real and perceived, Role of men, Injustice, Evils of racism
  • Limited availability

The second video produced by the San Leandro Public Library built around interviews with Japanese American veterans and former concentration camp inmates from the San Francisco Bay area.

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One-Two-One-Seven (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Family – blessing or curse, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Documentary film by Brett Kodama about the experiences of his grandmother, Sharon Shizuko Okazaki Kodama, at Manzanar . Just three years old when she and her family were forcibly removed from their Southern California home and sent to Manzanar, Okazaki Kodama's Issei father killed her Kibei mother in September 1942. She and her older sister spent the rest of the war at the Manzanar Children's Village , the camp orphanage. They were raised after the war by an aunt and uncle in Washington state. Okazaki Kodama recalls her memories of the camp and the orphanage, talks about her parents' deaths and reflects on the impact on the incarceration over visuals that include archival photographs and footage, photographs from her own family album, and images of the Manzanar National Historic Site today. The title refers to the Okazaki's family number at Manzanar.

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Otoko (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Disillusionment and dreams, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Immigrant experience, Loss of innocence, Role of men, Vulnerability of the meek
  • Widely available

Short story by Wakako Yamauchi centering on a Nisei brother and sister who recall their father and their family's prewar and wartime hardships while listening to Japanese folksongs. On the longest day of the year one summer, Kiyo visits his sister, the narrator, bringing a record of Japanese children's songs. The act of listening to the songs triggers memories of their early years. Once relatively prosperous, their fortunes turn dire quickly when their father loses his job. He becomes a tenant farmer, but can't make enough to support the family. Kiyo recalls a time when he went with his father to visit a friend, Kiyo thinks, to ask to borrow money. The narrator recalls working as a "school girl" with a white family for a few months, returning to find her family living in a tent, her little sister's teeth rotting, and her father suffering from a stomach ailment. Later, …

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An Abandoned Pot of Rice (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Displacement, Immigrant experience, Importance of community, Progress – real or illusion
  • No availability

Short essay by Hisaye Yamamoto DeSoto about the Kumamoto-mura community near Oceanside, California, where her family lived just prior to World War II. The pleasant reminiscences of life there are tempered by recollections of the chaos after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the events leading up to the forced removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast. The title of the story comes from the narrator's recollection of making a pot of rice intending to make rice balls on the day of their forced departure, but forgetting about it, leaving the full pot behind. Years later, she returns to the site of the community, which subsequently became a large military base which for a time housed tens of thousands of Southeast Asian refugees. Noting the similarities with the concentration camps she and her family were in, she observes that this group was the third group of Asians to …

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Citizen 13559 (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8

Play for children by Naomi Iizuka, based on the children's book The Journal of Ben Uchida: Citizen 13559, Mirror Lake Internment Camp by Barry Denenberg. The story focuses on the wartime experiences of twelve-year-old Ben Uchida, whose family is incarcerated at the fictional "Mirror Lake" camp in Wisconsin. After workshop productions at the Kennedy Center and the Mark Taper Forum's Asian Theatre Workshop, the hour-long play premiered in March 2006 as part of the Kennedy Center Family Theater's first season.

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Masao and the Bronze Nightingale (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Expression through art, Lost love, Working class struggles
  • Widely available

Short story by Rubén "Funkahuatl" Guevara about a Nisei zoot suiter and saxophone player in East Los Angeles before and after World War II. Masao Matsui and his buddies Lil' Joe Casillas and Isamu Imoto grow up in Boyle Heights playing jazz and dressing in elaborate zoot suits prior to the war. Masao dreams of leading a band one day. His dreams are interrupted by World War II and his forced incarceration at Manzanar. He passes time playing jazz records and plays in the Jive Bombers in camp. After the war, he returns to Little Tokyo and works as a janitor, while soaking up the local jazz scene that sprang up there as part of "Bronzeville," the African American settlement that formed during the war. Then, one night at a club, he meets a dazzling singer who called herself the Bronze Nightingale, and his life is turned upside down.

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City in the Sun (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Displacement, Evils of racism
  • Limited availability

1946 novel by Karon Kehoe that represented the first full-length work of adult fiction to dramatize Japanese American confinement.

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The Day After Today (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Facing reality, Losing hope
  • Widely available

Very short story by Toshio Mori (called "A Sketch") about an Issei man at Topaz who worries about what will happen to him and his wife when they are forced to leave the camp, since they have no children to help support them. He envies neighbors who have resettled children they can stay with in the Midwest and East. Published in the Pacific Citizen in February of 1945, the story captured the anxiety many Japanese Americans felt with news that the concentration camps would be closing by the end of the year.

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