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Internment of Japanese Americans



     Hoover Archivist Elena Danielson brings up an especially tricky case: that of the Japanese in Hawaii. She writes:
     The role of overseas Japanese and Japanese Americans in World War II, like any story of layered loyalty, is a complicated subject. The closer you look the more twists and turns you find. No doubt racism has obscured our understanding of these situations. At the University of Hawaii, John Stephan, who speaks fluent Japanese, reported on the enormous prestige of the Emperor among the Japanese in Hawaii in his book Hawaii under the Rising Sun. He has charted the life histories of various people caught between conflicting identities in wartime. It is not a subject that lends itself to easy generalities.
     My question: I suppose Stephan talks about the Japanese in Hawaii at the time of Pearl Harbor. Some suspect that today the Japanese of Hawaii want independence to be closer politically to Japan. Siegfried Ramler, a WAISer attached to the East-West Center in Hawaii, is at present in Japan. I hope that, when he returns, he will have something to say about this.

Ronald Hilton - 10/13/99


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