U.S. Incarceration and Internment

This page provides links to the “War Relocation Centers”– more accurately described as concentration camps–in which Japanese Americans were incarcerated by order of the U.S. government during WWII. Although many of us are accustomed to the term “internment,” I am using the terminology recommended by the Japanese American Citizens League. “Incarceration” more accurately reflects the unlawful imprisonment of more than 100,000 Americans that was the culmination of decades of anti-Japanese (and more broadly, anti-Asian) racism in the United States.

Any discussion of Japanese American incarceration must acknowledge the excellent Densho Encyclopedia site which describes itself as “a free on-line resource about the history of the Japanese American WWII exclusion and incarceration experience.”  Here is the Densho page on events leading up to Japanese American incarceration.

Densho’s digital archives offer an especially rich collection of documents, oral histories, and other primary sources about Japanese American life before and during WWII.

For excellent information on the camps, see the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) website. For a specific focus on the intersections of the American Southwest and Japanese Americans, before and during incarceration, I recommend the JANM’s Enduring Communities project.

Finally, PBS’ Children of the Camps is a useful resource for children’s experiences of Japanese American incarceration.

Find a list of resources here.

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San Francisco Virtual Museum (links to 1942 news stories about Japanese Americans in San Francisco)

Crystal City (TX)

Gila River (AZ)

Granada (CO)

Heart Mountain (WY)

Honouliuli (HI)

Jerome (AR)

Manzanar (CA)

Minidoka (ID)

Poston (AZ)

Rohwer (AR)

Topaz (UT)

Tule Lake (CA)

Aleutian Internment