chapter  6
18 Pages

The Arts of Survival: Remaking the Inside Spaces of Japanese American Concentration Camps

ByJANE DUSSELIER

As a result of Executive Order 9066 signed on 19 February 1942 by President Franklin Roosevelt, more than 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry living in the U.S. were forced from their homes and imprisoned in concentration camps.1 A series of immigration acts passed by the U.S. Congress during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries ensured that racism was supported by structures of the nation-state. Exploiting hysteria generated by Pearl Harbor to justify this mass and illegal incarceration of Japanese Americans, the U.S. government ignored the unconstitutionality of imprisoning people without fi rst charging them with crimes. Having endured over a century of anti-Japanese discrimination that prevented the Issei (fi rst generation) from becoming citizens and severely restricted the opportunities of the Nisei (second generation), Japanese Americans found their access to a physical place in the world further jeopardized.