Segregation, Expatriation, Annihilation

in Concentration Camps on the Home Front

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780226354767
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226354774 | DOI:
Segregation, Expatriation, Annihilation

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This chapter on the consequences of Japanese American incarceration begins not, as so many do, with the bombing that began the war but rather with the bombing that ended the war. It argues that, Hiroshima as much as Pearl Harbor explains the U.S. government's indiscriminate imprisonment of 120,000 American citizens and residents of Japanese descent during the Second World War. Further, the gendered experiences of incarceration helpfully illuminate the webs of familial, racial, and national affiliations that often structured the lives of detainees. Utilizing transcripts of hearings conducted within the concentration camps, the chapter examines men's and especially women's responses to questions of allegiance posed by U.S. officials. It also uses autobiographical accounts to contrast elements in the life story of Violet Matsuda with those of another Nisei mother from California, Mary Tsukamoto. The goal is to understand how women variously narrated feelings of ambivalence and uncertainty, while exercising agency and crafting complex subjectivities.

Keywords: Hiroshima; Japanese American incarceration; allegiance; women; ambivalence; uncertainty; agency

Chapter.  9122 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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