Wartime Exile

The Exclusion of the Japanese Americans
From the West Coast

United States Department of the Interior
J. A. KRUG, Secretary
War Relocation Authority
D. S. MYER, Director


U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington 25, D.C.

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Part I
The West Cost's Least Known and Most Misrepresented Minority
I. Early Voyagers from Japan to the New World 3
II. The Immigrant Genertion and the California 7
III. The Population Myth 17
IV. The Birth Rate 23
V. Dual Citizenship 30
VI. Japanese Language Schools 44
VII. Distribution of Japanese Americans 51
      Early Japanese Railroad Laborers 61
    Work in the Sugar-Beet Fields 63
    Japanese in the Hop Fields 64
    Free Migratory Laborer to Independent Farmer 65
    Concentrations of Japanese in Major Cities of the West Coast 69
        San Francisco 69
      Los Angeles 78
      Sacramento 80
      Portland, Oregon and Vicinity 81
      Seattle and Tacoma, Washington 85
VIII. 1941: Pre-December 7 88
Part II
Interim: December 7, 1941-February 19, 1942
I. In the Beginning 98
II. The Rallying of the Racists 104
III. First Round to the Racists 128
Part III
Triumph for the Racists
I. "At the Discretion of the Appropriate Military Commander" 149
II. The Case for the Government 149
References Quoted; Key to Citations 160



At the time when the United States of America entered World War II, there lived on the western rim of our continent a small group of quiet, hard-working and thrifty people; as a group they had been living in the Pacific coastal region for upward of 50 years. They comprised only one-tenth of 1 percent of the Nation's total population. Indeed they were so few, so concentrated in that narrow coastal strip, that few Americans in other parts of the United States had ever encountered one of thorn or had ever given any thought to this small segment of the population--until the surprise attack upon Pearl Harbor by Japan suddenly and spuriously identified this minute oriental-American minority with the enemy whose ancestry it shared.

During the first year of the war this West Coast minority, consisting of approximately 110,COO people ranging from 90-year-old immigrants who had lived here for perhaps 60 years to third-generation citizens in arms, was excluded from home and source of livelihood by a series of military orders which were issued under authority conferred by the President of the United States. These wartime mass exclusion orders affected only persons of Japanese ancestry. Without being charged with any specific crime, without hearings, these people were evacuated under military guard to isolated barrack camps in the interior, where the Majority of then lived as wards of the Government for nearly 3 years. After January 2, 1945, the effective date of the rescission of the exclusion orders, all except the comparatively small number of evacuees who had lost faith in American democracy and so wished to repatriate or expatriate to Japan were permitted to return to the Pacific Coast.

This study is an attempt to explain how American democracy, at a time when it was engaged in a death struggle against the forces of totalitarianism across the seas, came to deal in this manner with one of Its own minorities, a minority composed of two-thirds citizens by birth and one-third aliens denied naturalisation under the law of our country.

Note: This report prepared by Ruth E. McKee, Historian.


Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation