Breaking the Silence: Redress and Japanese American Ethnicity

Breaking the Silence: Redress and Japanese American Ethnicity

Breaking the Silence: Redress and Japanese American Ethnicity

Breaking the Silence: Redress and Japanese American Ethnicity

Excerpt

On November 25, 1978, Thanksgiving weekend, more than two thousand Japanese Americans and their friends gathered at the Puyallup Fairgrounds near Seattle, Washington, to reenact and remember the evacuation and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. For many of the participants this was the first time since internment that they confronted a part of their history they were too ashamed to remember. These fairgrounds were one of the temporary assembly centers where Japanese Americans on the West Coast were collected and detained for several months before being sent to hastily built internment camps, where many were imprisoned for the duration of the war. A poster distributed to announce the commemoration, printed over a replica of the government's evacuation notice of 1942, which was addressed "To all persons of JAPANESE ancestry," carried the added note:

To all persons of JAPANESE ancestry and FRIENDS The Memory of One Hundred Twenty Thousand Three Hundred and Thirteen Issei, Nisei, Sansei and others of Japanese ancestry request the pleasure of your company for A DAY OF REMEMBRANCE

Kathy Hashimoto, a thirty-five-year-old Sansei (third-generation Japanese American), wondered in her childhood why her mother, Sumi, always declined to accompany her and her father to the . . .

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