I read John Sowell’s thorough article about the incarceration of Japanese Americans (67 percent of those imprisoned) in Minidoka and elsewhere during World War II at the order of the U.S. Army. I was raised in Hawaii, as were my mother and grandfather Trotter, and would like to add two observations to Mr. Sowell’s story.
1. The Japanese citizens (and noncitizens) of Hawaii were never incarcerated because the people of the state did not doubt the loyalty of their neighbors and friends, or fear they would be harmed by them.
2. All of the people in West Coast states who were incarcerated had all of their possessions confiscated by the Army and sold — their homes, their household goods (except those few things they were allowed to take with them), their real estate holdings, bank accounts and anything else of value. So when the war ended and they were “released,” there was no home to which they could return. Consequently, many stayed nearby to start all over again.
As Mr. Sowell points out, the Densho Project found no evidence of espionage or sabotage by any Japanese American, citizen or not, during World War II. That was not true, however, of more than a few German Americans who were caught and tried for spying.
Never miss a local story.
Eugene T. de Laveaga, Star