Here is a good article...

Discussion in 'USA' started by brndirt1, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Senior Member

    Here is a good article I found in the Time magazine archives that address this issue of Japanese-American internment in "real time". Makes for interesting reading.

    Few wartime problems have remained as puzzling to the average U.S. citizen as that of the West Coast's uprooted Japanese. This week, in a new book, The Governing of Men, Lieut. Commander Alexander H. Leighton, a Navy Medical Corps psychiatrist, suggested a key to better understanding. After 15 months at Arizona's vast Poston Relocation Center as a social analyst, Commander Leighton concluded that many an American simply fails to remember that U.S. Japanese are human beings.

    The Governing of Men (Princeton University Press; $3.75) is a full report on Poston, which—because of censorship —was the subject of many a wild rumor in the early days of the war. To Commander Leighton's detached eye, the war was only a minor cause of Poston's troubles. Many of those troubles sprang from the universal resentment men feel at being confined against their will, and from the universal conflict which results when different types of people are thrown closely together. For the 18,000 Japs at Poston were of all types. There were Christians and Buddhists, bankers and fishermen, farmers and shopkeepers. By birth and background they fell into three basic groups:

    ¶The oldest, the Japanese-born Issei, were reserved, puritanical people, who clung to an old country belief in hard work, personal integrity and obedience to tradition. They felt a sense of loyalty to Japan and had grave misgivings about the flipness, the new and careless attitudes of U.S.-born Nisei. Pearl Harbor had filled them with indecision. Many wanted Japan to win the war, but they did not want the U.S.—the country in which their children would go on living—to lose.

    ¶The Nisei had grown away from the Japanese beliefs that they had been taught as children, felt superior to their parents and a little ashamed of the Issei's bowing manners and broken English. They were full of protest at the idea of evacuation, afraid they were being stripped of their rights as citizens. Their faith in U.S. fairness was shaken. But they were still unconvinced by their parents' talk of the greatness of Japan.

    ¶The Kibei, young Japanese born in the U.S. but educated in the old country, found themselves in conflict with both Issei and Nisei. Most older Japanese considered them dissolute, domineering upstarts. Nisei, fresh from U.S. schools, considered them foreign-minded people.

    To all the evacuees Poston (a conglomeration of cheerless wooden barracks on the unshaded desert) seemed like a concentration camp. The sun was cruel; dust was everywhere. The hospital had little medicine, food was often badly cooked; there was overcrowding, lack of privacy, discomfort. The camp's overworked administrative staff had been thrown together as hastily as the buildings.

    A New Life. Despite all this, the displaced thousands gradually settled into a new pattern of existence. Clubs, baseball teams sprang up. There were parties at which old-fashioned dancing competed with U.S. jitterbugging—under their flowing robes the Japanese girls wore U.S. saddle shoes (see cut). Thousands of residents worked hard at tilling the soil, manufacturing adobe bricks, making camouflage netting—at wages of $12 to $19 a month. But a great part of Poston's people went on feeling insecure, bewildered, resentful. Many an older Japanese was convinced that Nisei and Kibei were "dogs" (informers). Gangs of men began roaming the camp at night beating suspected "dogs" with clubs and canes.

    Torn by dissension, the Japs finally struck against their American warders. When the strike was settled after eight days, the air was cleared. But Poston was never a placid place again. By this week, nearly 13,000 of Poston's inhabitants, still uncertain and bewildered, had gone back to their old homes on the Coast.

    Commander Leighton, objective throughout, reaches no conclusions on this U.S. experiment in governing another race behind stockades. But his attitude is aptly expressed in the quotation from which he got his title*: Oh, it were better to be a poor fisherman than to meddle with the governing of men.

    * A remark made by Danton just before he was guillotined in Paris' Terror (1794).


    Japs Are Human - TIME

    Hope nobody minds my bringing this up?

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