The Treatment of the Japanese By World War II America and Finding Safety in Ontario, Oregon Essay

The Treatment of the Nipponese By World War II America and Finding Safety in Ontario, Oregon

December 7, 1941 was dubbed “a day of the month which will populate in infamy” by President Franklin D Roosevelt in a address that was delivered the twenty-four hours after the Nipponese attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii ( Infamy Speech ) . President Roosevelt’s anticipation was frighteningly accurate, but depending on your ethnicity, the anticipation meant different things. If you were American, the onslaught renewed pride and stirred up choler in the audaciousness of Japan. If you were Nipponese life in America or Japanese-American, the onslaught turned your universe upside down! Let us get down from the beginning.

After Japan lifted their out-migration prohibition in 1885, the Nipponese began immigrating to the United States in hunt of a better life and to get away political persecution ; much like most other ethnicities that chose to immigrate to America. The Chinese and “Pacific Islanders” had paved the manner by being some of the first immigrants, so the Japanese expected some favoritism and sick feelings following their reaching, but they ne’er expected the sort of intervention that they would have after the beginning of World War II ( Sakurai 118-119 ) .

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At first, American’s took advantage of the inexpensive labour they found in Nipponese inflow and were happy that there was an ethnicity that would now be able to make full the holes left by the Chinese Exclusion Acts of 1882, but this grasp did nil to stem the favoritism ( Nishihara 46 ) . In fact, harmonizing to Janet Seiko Nishihara and her essay “Japanese Americans in Eastern Oregon: The Wartime Roots of an Unexpected Community” the anti-Asian “agitation” was merely passed from the Chinese to the Nipponese because to non-Asians, the Japanese were seen as reproduction of the “heathen Chinese” ( 46 ) .

Between the old ages of 1861 and 1924, around 275,000 Nipponese immigrated to Hawaii and the mainland United States. Most of these immigrants entered into contracts and worked in the sugar cane Fieldss of Hawaii, but when those contracts ended, most of the immigrants that did non remain to open up stores, moved to the West Coast of the United States. Once settled here, these immigrants worked in the fishing industries and opened up little concerns, but largely aided the agribusiness of the country by cultivating farming areas and turning groves. Impressively, by 1940, the Japanese controlled merely four per centum of the land in California, but produced more than ten per centum of the state’s farm resources ( Executive… ) . Unfortunately, this success was merely one of the qualities that stemmed Americas Nipponese directed paranoia after Pearl Harbor and fueled the barbarous interventions of these people in the old ages after the war.

The Japanese were damned if they did and curse if they didn’t. Alternatively of maintaining to themselves like the Chinese had done after coming to America, The Nipponese took attempt in following some of the American imposts and this was seen as a menace alternatively of admirable. The Chinese were scorned for their “standoffish” ways and alternatively of being commended for theirs because it was different, the Japanese were looked at as being fallacious and unsafe ( Nishihara 46 ) . Besides, alternatively of coming to America entirely like the Chinese, the Nipponese brought their married womans and many started households, demoing their desire to settle down in a better universe. The Americans besides had an alternate account for this though every bit good. They contributed this difference to an easier coup d’etat. If the Nipponese brought their married womans and had kids, they could so organize households, which would turn into communities, and this would help in a quicker assimilation and more power ( Nishihara 47 ) .

The anti-Japanese sentiment continued to turn out of its anti-Asian beginnings and spread along the West Coast. In 1920, the favoritism became such an issue for Oregon that the governor was made to look into it. His findings were that the ill-feelings were the worst in countries where the Japanese were in direct economic competition with white husbandmans. Some of the communities even went every bit far as to claim that the Japanese’ agricultural success was merely a measure in a secret plan to derive control of all good agriculture land ( Nishihara 47 ) . Of class the Japanese’ prosperity was due to their agricultural cognition, experience, and desire to be successful. Trying to maintain the peace, Oregon passed a jurisprudence in 1923 that kept Nipponese immigrants from having or renting land. This made it progressively harder for the immigrants with turning households.

Anti-Japanese sentiments continued to turn and turn along with the population and exploded in a rage with the onslaught on Pearl Harbor. Nishihara worded it absolutely when she wrote “…previous rumbles about a Nipponese “takeover” exploded” when the onslaught happened. “All of the frights environing Nipponese agriculture success, the addition in the Numberss of native-born Nisei, and the newly-declared war came to a caput when President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, on February 19, 1942” ( 49 ) . This Executive order was the “icing on the cake” of prejudiced action. It made it lawful for the imprisonment of over 120,000 Nipponese and Japanese-Americans on the concluding that they could non be trusted and might help in a Nipponese coup d’etat of America ( Nishihara 49 ) . These accusals were far-fetched at best, but President Roosevelt counted on the paranoia and fright of Americans to overlook the un-constitutional act. Most people in most topographic points reacted as desired.

During the governor’s trip about Oregon to measure the Nipponese “situation” he visited more populated countries and skipped the Eastern metropoliss. One of the metropoliss that he did non trouble oneself assessing was a little town located in Malheur County Oregon by the name of Ontario. Apparently while the remainder of the universe was worrying about the Nipponese population and their possibility of postwar colony in countries to which they were moved, Eastern Oregon was worried about a different job: the worker deficit brought approximately by the war. Fortunately enough these two jobs had one solution, but it would take something every bit of import as sugar to acquire the ball peal.

Why sugar you might inquire? Sugar was necessary for doing intoxicant and for doing explosives: two things that would non be rationed during a war. Sugar comes from Beta vulgariss and in response to this demand, Federal ordinances were lifted on the sum of land area that Beta vulgariss could be planted on and increased by 25 % . Malheur County entirely was asked to bring forth 12,000 estates of this coveted merchandise ( Nishihara 52 ) . With much of the work force enlisted and being sent to war, Eastern Oregon and parts of Idaho were despairing for workers to be able to exceed and thin these already planted harvests. As a consequence, “The Amalgamated Sugar Company and province functionaries convinced President Franklin D. Roosevelt to let an emptying exclusion, supplying Nipponese internees the pick of working in Malheur County” ( Nishihara 52 ) . Although the Japanese were more forced to come to this little town than given the pick, “…they found an island of matter-of-fact credence in this eastern Oregon town” ( Bernard ) .

Besides the agricultural demand, there were a “few good men” that aided the Japanese to settle in Ontario, Oregon: A city manager, publishing house of The Eastern Oregon Observer, and subsequently governor by the name of Elmo Smith was noted as encouraging of their response, a existent estate adult male by the name of Jess Adrian helped the fledglings find farms, and the Chevrolet trader Lee Cables hired a six as mechanics ( Bernard ) . Why were the Nipponese accepted here? Part of an account can be provided by the fact that there were already some Japanese-Americans populating in Malheur County. Before the war, 137 Japanese-Americans were counted here ( Bernard ) . The citizens of this town must besides non hold been excessively judgmental because by the terminal of the war, those 137 Japanese-Americans decided to remain and were joined by another 1,363 to do the population 1,500 ( Bernard ) .

Talking to a few of the community members, reflects the feelings toward the Nipponese at this clip. John Kirby, a hardware shop proprietor said, “What happened here is the experiment the state should hold done, alternatively of what it did.” Bill Blackaby was quoted as stating, “I don’t cognize how to explicate it, It’s merely the manner we were in Ontario” ( Bernard ) . Another community member by the name of Tip powers reminisces along with Bill Blackaby and reflects, “While a coevals of Americans remembers detesting or fearing Japanese-Americans during their young person, we recall playing football with the boies of Nipponese immigrants” ( Bernard ) .

With such a postwar population enlargement, it can be expected that a few of the same households have stayed in the country. Having lived in Ontario, Oregon for most of my life, I can personally state that many Japanese-American household names are familiar here, but the names Iseri and Saito stick out in my head ; particularly because of their continued accomplishments. Tom Iseri takes us to the other terminal of the spectrum and Tells us how the possibility of internment was experienced personally with the quotation mark, “They come out and state you they’re traveling to throw you in the concentration cantonment. ‘We don’t trust you’ . The other side of their oral cavity they say you’re traveling to set the harvests in because we need the food” ( Bernard ) . This quotation mark shows the confusion and defeat that was felt by merely one of the people affected by Executive Order 9066. Tom Iseri goes on to state that while his household was sent to one cantonment in California, he was sent to one in Idaho. He got lucky when a friend by the name of Bill Rogers asked him to fall in him in pull offing a new green goods packaging and transportation operation in the spring of 1943 and this operation is still working today ( Bernard ) .

Even though Ontario, Oregon is remembered as being really accepting and welcoming, George Iseri and Mary Wakasugi can remember some cases when their experiences were non as pleasant. George explains one clip that he was in a shop speaking to a crewman when the clerk exclaims in a loud voice “Don’t you know those cats are Japs? ” . He besides recalls that some of Lee Cable’s clients did non desire his brothers working on their autos ( Bernard ) . Mary Wakasugi goes on to explicate, “They accepted us, made us feel…not like dogs.” ( Nishihara 55 ) . This quotation mark seems positive at first, but the 1988 article that this quotation mark was taken from is said to incorporate more of a narrative. No affair how Japanese-Americans came to take root in this little town, there is cogent evidence that it is still strong and supported by the fact that Ontario, Oregon has the provinces merely Buddhist temple outside of Portland, a judo nine, a repute as some of the best onion husbandmans in the vale, and Japanese-Americans still account for 800 of Ontario’s 9,500 people ( Bernard ) .

In decision, the Japanese-Americans are applaudable. They came to the United States in hunt of felicity, freedom, and success. These things came at such a high monetary value. Following the Chinese, they took their defeats as American’s “Whipping Boy” and stood strong every bit merely their mere being was violative to most. They took and worked occupations that cipher else wanted, but most fought for them non to hold anyhow. They tried difficult to be accepted by following some American ways and received even more opposition for. They were invariably doubted and eyed suspiciously by their neighbours and prevailed. Even after being forcibly resettlement, their love for this state ne’er faltered and in some instances even grew stronger. The Japanese-Americans contributed dramatically to the success of this state before, during, and after World War II, and this is why they should ne’er be doubted or treated otherwise now and in the hereafter. I hope after sharing merely some of their history, you portion these beliefs.


Barnard, Jeff. “ Oregon Town Offered Tolerance to Nipponese Americans in WWII — Ontario Welcomed Relocated Citizens, Gave Many of Them Jobs. ”Local News. The Seattle Times, 05 Sept. 1993. Web. 03 June 2014. & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // ? date=19930905 & A ; slug=1719504 & gt ; .

“ Executive Order 9066: Resulting in the Relocation of Japanese ( 1942 ) . ”Our Documents –. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1989. Web. 04 June 2014. & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // flash=true & A ; doc=74 & gt ; .

“ Infamy Speech. ”Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Mar. 2014. Web. 06 June 2014. & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // & gt ; .

Nishihara, Janet Seiko. “ Chapter Three: Nipponese Americans in Eastern Oregon: The Wartime Roots of an Unexpected Community. ”Sing Color: Autochthonal Peopless and Racialized Ethnic Minorities in Oregon. By Jun Xing. Lanham: U of America, 2007. 44-55. Print.

Sakurai, Patti. “ Lumber, Railroads, Factories and Silicon: Asiatic and Pacific Islander Americans and Work in Oregon. ”Sing Color: Autochthonal Peopless and Racialized Ethnic Minorities in Oregon. Ed. Jun Xing. Lanham: U of America, 2007. 117-31. Print.

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