Following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, anti-
Japanese sentiment reached a fevered pitch.
Japanese who immigrated to America in search
of economic opportunity as well as Americans
of Japanese ancestry became victims of mass
The U.S. government feared that these groups
would betray America through sabotage or
espionage. Despite the lack of any concrete
evidence, Japanese Americans were suspected
of remaining loyal to their ancestral land.
On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D.
Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which
established two military zones: the west coast of
America and the Territory of Hawaii.
The military governor of the west coast zone
incarcerated 120,000 ethnic Japanese; almost
two thirds of them were U.S. citizens of Japanese
descent. They were forcibly removed to 10 camps
far from population centers. Second generation
Japanese Americans (Nisei), already in the U.S.
Army, were discharged or reassigned.
Hawaii faced a more imminent danger of invasion,
but the military governor there decided against
mass incarceration. Advisors told him that 1,500
suspects were already apprehended; Hawaii
needed Japanese Americans to maintain its