Doctor Science Knows

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Japanese-Americans in my family during WWII

A post at Orcinus reminded me of some family history I want to make notes about.

My mother recently told me that her Japanese-American brother-in-law and his brother were living in the LA area in 1942 (they were in their late teens-early 20s; the rest of the family was still in Hawaii). In other words, they were taken up in the effort to relocate Japanese-Americans from the West Coast. Japanese-Americans in Hawaii were *not* relocated or interned, despite Hawaii's strategic position, because they were just too much of the population. (I believe my uncle's father was killed in the tsunami of 1946.)

Apparently my uncle & his brother were offered the choice between internment and basically internal exile to a city away from the West Coast. They moved to Chicago, which is where my uncle met my aunt. I'm sure the fact that they were both able-bodied young men with no dependents (and no real estate to worry about) made it much easier for them to move to Chicago instead of going to a camp.

The official American euphemism for "internal exile" was "relocation". Internal exile in the Soviet Union during this period meant that the exiled couldn't go into large cities, while the Japanese-American internal exiles could *only* go to certain large cities -- or, of course, to camps.

I don't know if my uncle & his brother ever considered enlisting, or if they were draftable -- I'll have to ask my mother for more details.

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