When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941 there were over 120,000 Japanese Americans living in mainland USA. On Feb 19, 1942 the US Government passed Executive Order 9066 which called for the removal of anyone of Japanese origin or bloodlines into internment camps in the interior of the country. Prior to removal they were forced to sell their homes, businesses and all of their possessions.
Of those forcible removed over 80,000 were “nissei” or second generation and “sansei” third generation, born in the USA. Less than 40% were even born in Japan.
Executive Order 9066 was not formally overturned until the Gerald Ford Administration - about 30 years later. 40 years after being forced into camps when they were American citizens, those who were still alive were given compensation of $20,000 by Ronald Reagan.
This video which marks the anniversary of that racist and punishing Executive Order is a preview of a new project from 3 Generations in which we are collecting testimony from those who were forced to live in concentration camps as children: in Europe, in Japan and in the USA.
Look for Dee Ito’s full testimony on our website in the coming months.