Monday, February 24, 2020

What do you think about the internment of Japanese Americans in the 1940s?

The fourth graders have been studying the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. We began by reading Number the Stars which told of how the Jews of Denmark were moved to safety to escape the Nazis. At the same time, the United States gathered approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans from the West Coast and relocated them in camps throughout the country. The fourth graders listened to two books, Journey to Topaz and  Journey Home. They also attended the Time of Remembrance program at the California Museum where they received a presentation about internment and were able to see artifacts about the topic. They were lead through the artifacts by people whose families had been interned.

The students were then given the task of telling what they thought about internment. They were also told that they could explain those thoughts in any way they wanted to. Some of the work that the students created is posted here. Some of it cannot be posted in this format, but for those who can, their ideas are in this post. We hope that our readers learn from the ideas the fourth graders have about the internment of the Japanese Americans in the 1940s. It was a dark episode in our nation's history, and hopefully, something like this won't happen again. By reading our thoughts, we hope to help prevent that from happening in our country in the future.


  1. "Poetry"


    Interment is awful
    I disagree with Japanese Internment
    I am glad it stopped


    I hope for no war,
    I hope for no discrimination,
    I hope for no hate.

    I hope for equality,
    I hope for kindness,
    I hope for love.

    I know my hopes may come true,
    I know that they may not,
    Every day the earth is here,
    I will hope and hope.


    Hatred is terrible,
    kindness is great.
    Internment is terrible,
    freedom is great.

    Discrimination is terrible,
    equality is great.
    War is terrible,
    Redressing is great.

    "My opinion on what happened"

    President Franklin Roosevelt told the head of the FBI to interview the Japanese Americans to test their loyalty for America. The head of the FBI came back to the president and told him the Japanese were loyal to America. Then after the bombing of Pearl Harbor the president still signed Executive Order 9066 that allowed the government to intern the Japanese Americans. I am infuriated by this choice. I think the real reason they were interned was because of discrimination. I believe this because the president knew the Japanese Americans were not going to spy on America for Japan. His decision was based on racism for the Japanese. This was totally unconstitutional. Hatred and fear can cause people to do something that they may know is wrong.

    1. I like your long line of poetry before the big chunk of writing

    2. Wow Lauren! That really left me speechless!

    3. That wasn't the whole project. I still have more.

    4. Wow! Great explaining. I totally agree that the reason they did this was because of discrimination. I also agree that fear can cause people to do horrible things like putting the Japanese in Internment Camps. (Which they did, sadly.)

  2. The government chose wrong to make Japanese internment camps during World War II. The camps were vile and rude.

    The toilets were far far away from the rooms on purpose. If the guards were trying to protect the Japanese in the internment camps then it was rude for them to point guns at the Japanese. It was rude because the guns hurt and kill some Japanese and if I was trying to protect them I would not point guns at or hurt at who I’m trying to protect.
    The barracks were unfinished. I mean if they were going to put the Japanese in the barracks the people in charge should at least give a good home knowing they already took them away from their homes that they either bought or rented.

    The government was unethical to do internment camps during World War II. The camps were mean and rude to the Japanese.

    1. You used a lot of different topics.It is awesome.

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    3. I literally agree with everything.

    4. I agree with you when you state that the camps were unethical, Kaitlyn. I hope something like this never happens again.

    5. I completely agree with you Kaitlyn. Good job!

  3. Life in the
    Internment Camps

    By:Jaren Mohle


    Californians did not like the Japanese since the gold rush. They wanted someone to do the hard work for low wages so they chose the Japanese. I don’t get why they don’t just do it themselves. Then the conflict might not have started. Maybe the Japanese may have taken our side in the war. The Japanese did not like the work conditions and called a strike. This started a conflict. I also don’t get why the conflict became so bad. It was just one strike and it was for a good reason too. The japanese got beaten and their homes burned down. Several years later, in World War II, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and all the Japanese Americans were given ten days to pack. I say this was just an excuse to get them out. They didn’t evacuate Hawaii. Also the children that made up half the internment camps were not a threat. Now the journey begins.

    Moving and Moving Again

    Before the Japanese Americans were moved to the real camps they were moved to assembly centers. The real camps were not built yet so they moved the Japanese Americans to abandoned racetrack horse stalls. The government did not pick up the poop. That’s gross. I can’t imagine the smell. Then they had to pack up and leave again. That would be tiring and might lead to soreness and back pain. They were isolated into desolate lands where no one wanted to be so space was saved.

  4. Privacy

    There was no privacy in the internment camps. The toilets and showers had no walls and the most privacy people could get there was a paper bag over their head. That is just gross. I like my privacy. There are some things that are supposed to be private. Also you could hear everyone because of gaps between the walls and the ceiling. It must have been really loud expeccially during celebrations and festivities. It must have been difficult to fall asleep with all the ruckus. This was made to strip peoples' dignity and while it worked with some people, most held on to their dignities.

    Food and Fun

    People had to wait in a long line to get their food in the internment camps. There were also small meals. I’m a food sort of person so this sounds miserable. Waiting in a long line sometimes just for a piece of bread and a potato is just crazy. Also many people did not bring games because of the bring only what you can carry rule. Because of this many people had to make their own games. A game of baseball or basketball took some scrap lumber and a ball to play. How did they get the balls? Maybe they were in the toy library which is a library for toys. The adults had a different idea of fun. They made wooden objects and weaved. I don’t know how they made the end products look so good. You would think that they would be using professional materials by the look of the end product.


    There were many casualties in an internment life. Many pets died from depression. They had to be left behind by their owners. They did not know why their owners left and were so sad that they stopped eating. That’s cruel. The pets had nothing to do with the bombing of Pearl Harbor or the Japanese strike. I cannot imagine leaving my pet, Koka, behind. Also the dust storms which are famous in Topaz, Utah may have blown around some allergens leaving people downright miserable or suffocating people. Also there were guard towers which shot at people who went out of the barbed wire. The government claimed that they were protecting the Japanese but then why were the guns pointed into the camp not out.

    After Internment

    After the internment camps many Japanese had horrible treatment. They were called bad names and had their feelings put down almost everywhere that they went. I can’t believe what it must feel like to be yelled at or be bullied wherever I go. Most of the children must have been oblivious and would come home crying most days. Businesses had signs saying “No Japs Allowed”. To me Japs seems like a rude nickname. Corpse dressers had signs saying “We would rather do business with a Jap than an American.” That means they would rather have a Japanese person die than an American. That they believed it enough to paste a sign about it on the outside of your shop is unbelievably frightening. What if the government did that to us today? It would change lives forever.

  5. During the field trip, I heard the speaker explain how the government treated Japanese unfairly. First, I thought it was foolish when the government said that they were protecting Japanese people but pointed guns at them. If someone were to get shot, it is not considered protecting. Secondly, the amount of money that the government gave to the Japanese 46 years after being interned was not sufficient, considering the amount of years they were in internment camps and the amount of time it took for the government to apologize. It was wrong to give only thirty-nine cents worth of food to Japanese internees when Americans were getting more. Thirdly, Japanese internees were kept in poor confined dwellings. Japanese internees had no privacy. Japanese internees used bathrooms with no walls, sometimes no water to flush or toilet paper. America stripped Japanese people’s dignity. I am half-Japanese and this was very personal to me. It would be devastating to go through what my ancestors went through, and I am glad that I won’t have to. All in all, the Japanese internment camps of 1942- 1945 was a very senseless way to handle America's fear of the Japanese. I hope future generations, like me, learn and don’t make the same mistake America did in the 1940’s.

    1. It would be very difficult to live in those conditions, especially knowing that one did nothing wrong. I agree with your final statement, Jake, and as a country, we need to be sure we never make the same mistake again.

    2. This piece of writing is very well written Jake!

  6. AA
    The Japanese-American Internment camps were created to prevent Japanese-Americans from aiding Japan in the war. However, the forced internment violated the Constitution and the principles of the Declaration of Independence. Therefore, the government should not have interned the Japanese-Americans. The government under President Roosevelt broke the law. The Japanese had committed no crime and there was no evidence that they were planning anything criminal.

    The living conditions in the camps were indecent. The fact that there was no privacy in the bathrooms was unreasonable, and was just one of the many injustices. The land on which the camps were placed was desolate. The Japanese internment camps were in the middle of nowhere and the land was unwanted. The Japanese-American internment camps were unfair, cruel, and unnecessary for the war effort. All evidence points to the fact that the Japanese-Americans were loyal to The United States.

    People in the United States, especially citizens, are innocent until proven guilty. This comes from the Constitution. The Japanese-Americans were not proven guilty at all! The camps were cruel to the Japanese-Americans. They never did anything wrong. The government assumed that the Japanese-Americans were allying with Japan and were loyal to Japan. The fact that the Nissei had to be in the military to prove their loyalty was unfair. All the Japanese-Americans were discriminated against severely. Overall, the Japanese-American internment camps were extremely unjust.

  7. I agree that they were horrible.

    1. Good points about the internment breaking both the constitution and the Declaration of Independence, Lucas. I agree that there was a very huge attitude of discrimination against the Japanese Americans.

    2. That is a very important point when discussing Japanese American Internment, Lucas! Great Job!