Home » Japan » Hayashida Argumentative Essay

Hayashida Argumentative Essay

My great grandmother Hayashida used to tell me horrendous stories of days that seemed to be from a lifetime ago, stories that were so terrible until recently I believed them to be fiction. Childhood stories of confinement and curfews, laws and discrimination. She often told me she had a hard time recalling exact events because of her young age, but the stories were always the same with the same vivid detail. Could you imagine that one day you received notice that you and your entire family must be ready to move? You could take only the possessions you could carry and no one would tell you when you would be permitted to return home.

Does this sound like a bad dream to you? This happened to thousands of residents within the United States. Life in America for those of Japanese descent was not always easy and in 1940 life was about to get a lot harder. World War II, fought between Japan and the United States, has been described as one of the largest and most violent wars in history. Japan’s dependence on natural resources for its industries forced it to look elsewhere to get its supplies. This led to the Japanese invasion of China. The Japanese wanted control over China’s resources and China’s markets where products from Japan could be sold.

The United States shut off American supplies to Japan in an effort to resolve the conflicts between Japan and China. Japan’s only option was to look overseas for these needed materials. The only country to stand in Japan’s way was the United States. War plans for Japan started to develop as they realized every oil tanker headed for Japan would have to pass through an American fleet of ships. On December 7, 1941 Japan’s plans succeeded with an attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Outraged President Franklin Roosevelt declared war with Japan the next day.

With the United States fleet out of the way for the time being, Japan seized the opportunity and tried to take oil resources from Southeast Asia. The attack on Pearl Harbor turned America into a war production economy. Military needs were in demand and quickly took priority over consumer goods. After Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 in 1942, which allowed the military to relocate the Japanese to temporary centers in a precaution to protect American citizens. Anyone of Japanese decent living on the West Coast, legal resident or not, could be placed in imprisonment for up to four years.

This headline by W. H. Anderson was printed in the Los Angeles Times in 1942 directly after Order 9066 was issued, “Perhaps the most difficult and delicate question that confronts our powers that be is the handling–the safe and proper treatment–of our American-born Japanese, our Japanese-American citizens by the accident of birth. But who are Japanese nevertheless. A viper is nonetheless a viper wherever the egg is hatched”. Families were taken from their homes, losing any assets they had. Children were forced to grow up under armed guards for crimes they didn’t commit.

On March 18, 1942 the President created an agency known as the War Relocation Authority. The WRA assisted in the relocation of any person who might be required to move by the military. With numbers quickly rising inside of the concentration camps, extra protections were put into effect. A general named John DeWitt proposed the curfew order. It confined Japanese aliens and Japanese non-aliens within their homes between 8:00 P. M. and 6:00 A. M. Many citizens refused to adhere to this. Most of the camps were built in dry, harsh conditions where life would have been bleak even on the best of days.

Adults were given the options to work for only five dollars a day and all children were expected to attend school. Many of the camps had very poor living conditions, and several Japanese Americans died because of the insufficient medical care given. Mary Tsukamoto an internee quoted, “We saw all these people behind the fence, looking out, hanging onto the wire, and looking out because they were anxious to know who was coming in next. But I will never forget the shocking feeling that human beings were behind this fence like animals (crying).

And we were going to also lose our freedom and walk inside of that gate and find ourselves…cooped up there…when the gates were shut, we knew that we had lost something that was very precious; we were no longer free”. Citizens were being imprisoned, whether they had even been to Japan or not. No factual evidence that these citizens were in support of Japan was ever needed. Later on it was revealed the government had no proof that even one Japanese American citizen had committed any act of sabotage. Years after the event compensation and apology letters were distributed to the families that claimed them.

However studies show that former prisoners are two times more likely to suffer from heart disease and premature death. So are these compensations and apologies really righting the wrong? Although these actions were said to have been put in place to prevent any further havoc on American soil, it may have made things worse. America not only had to fight a war overseas, America was created a war amid its citizens at home. These internment camps will go down in America’s history as one of the biggest discriminations of all time.

Although there should be a balance between civil liberty and security, targeting U. S citizens of a certain ethnicity is not the way to do it. Targeting U. S. citizens went against everything the United States was founded on, and to this day many Japanese-American’s are still trying to find a way to recover. As a girl of Japanese descent this part of history hits home for me. So this brings me back to one of my previous statements. Would the United States really turn its back on its citizen, and could this be a bad dream? In all sense of reality the United States at one point in time already has, let’s just hope there never presents a chance for it to happen again.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this essay please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.