Internees planted small gardens outside their doors

Footpaths were trod into the earth, laborers endeavored to make things liveable

Teenagers gathered without much to occupy their time

Construction was hastily arranged and provided no more than basic barrack style accommodations

Camps were located in remotes and spartan locations throughout the country

Japanaese American internnees were required to dig trenches

Our Story

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Many Japanese came to the United States in search of the American Dream. In spite of bigotry and indifference they worked hard, established homes, began careers and tried to overcome rampant intolerance. The attack on Pearl Harbor led to the round-up and incarceration of most Japanese-Americans during WWII. In spite of this denial of their civil liberties many sons of Japanese-Americans entered the military and fought for their country. In this photo school-aged children brave the rain and mud as they stroll the prison compound. In 1988 the US Government apologized to the Japanese-American community for stripping them of their civil liberties and acknowledged they Nisei Soldiers remarkable contributions to winning the war.
The Japanese American Experience

Japanese Americans began immigrating to the United States in the late 1800s. Among the first immigrants were 153 Japanese laborers who sailed to the Territory of Hawaii aboard the Scioto from Yokahama in 1868. The first "official" immigration . . .
Discrimination

One of the first instances of severe discrimination occurred in Hawaii just four years after the first "official" Japanese immigration. In 1889, Katsu Goto (a prominent merchant and interpreter) was killed by those who didn't like the advocacy work he . . .
Overview: The Internment

With the outbreak of war on December 7, 1941, local authorities and the F.B.I. began to round up first generation Japanese Americans (Issei) in Hawaii and on the mainland. By 6:30 a.m. the following morning, 736 were in custody. Within 48 hours . . .
WWII Experience

Though their families and friends were unjustly incarcerated in many internment camps many Japanese American young men entered the military and left their families to fight for their country. More than 120,000 Japanese American men proudly served with great distinction . . .
The American Civil Liberties Act of 1988

The Act acknowledged and apologized for the fundamental injustice of the evacuation, relocation, and internment of United States citizens and permanent resident aliens of Japanese ancestry during World War II. It also provided for a public . . .
The Memorial

The National Japanese American Memorial is located just north of the Capitol on a triangular plot bounded by Louisiana Avenue, New Jersey Avenue and D Street, NW. From the southern tip of the site, you can look southeast on New Jersey Avenue and see . . .