• Issei and Nisei Pursue the American Dream


    Photos: (1) Mrs. Nagamine stands in front of the stately Los Angeles home they were forced to leave in April 1942;(2) An Issei grandmother in Mountain View holds one of her 13 while awaiting Evacuation orders in spring 1942;(3) Prominent San Jose farmer & community leader Henry Mitarai poses with his wife & four children about six weeks before the wartime exclusion order is handed down; and(4) High school girl in San Jose picks strawberries on her parents' farm a few weeks before her family is ordered to evacuate.

    Photo: Mrs. Nagamine stands in front of the stately Los Angeles home they were forced to leave in April 1942
    Photo: An Issei grandmother in Mountain View holds one of her 13 while awaiting Evacuation orders in spring 1942
    Photo: Prominent San Jose farmer & community leader Henry Mitarai poses with his wife & four children about six weeks before the wartime exclusion order is handed down
    Photo: High school girl in San Jose picks strawberries on her parents' farm a few weeks before her family is ordered to evacuate.

    Despite restrictive laws, the Issei married, had children, and became economically stable in America as merchants, tradesmen, and farmers.

    By 1940, the American-born children of the Issei, known as Nisei, were coming of age, ranging from young teens to early 20s The Nisei, or "second generation," spoke English and were assimilating into the American lifestyle and culture.

    Suddenly, on December. 7, 1941, life changed for all Japanese Americans when Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor set off a wave of fear and suspicion against the Issei and Nisei. Many believed that there might be saboteurs among the Japanese living in the western states.

    President Franklin Delano Roosevelt responded by issuing Executive Order 9066, authorizing the military to set up military zones and led to the forced removal of 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry.

    Groups along the West Coast sought to rid the region of Japanese immigrants and their American-born children. These racial exclusionists were periodically joined by powerful economic interests resentful of the agricultural successes of Japanese farmers.

    "Evacuees" soon began to arrive at Heart Mountain from California, Washington, and Oregon and, before long, the Heart Mountain population swelled to 10,767, unofficially regarded as Wyoming’s third largest community. Internees were often transferred from one camp to another, and by the time Heart Mountain closed in September 1945, a total of 14,997 had been confined there.



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