Inside An American Concentration Camp

Inside An American Concentration Camp

Japanese American Resistance at Poston, Arizona

Book - 1995
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During World War II, more than 110,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated in American concentration camps. It is often assumed that, because they launched no major revolt, Japanese Americans were passive participants in the government's "relocation" program. But the general tenor of compliance masked a powerful resolve to maintain self-determination. Inside an American Concentration Camp takes readers inside one of the camps and documents this hidden heritage of resistance.Richard S. Nishimoto was detained at the Colorado River Relocation Center near Parker, Arizona, the camp known as Poston. There he was chosen to participate in the Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement study, a University of California-sponsored, systematic attempt to document life inside the camps. Inside an American Concentration Camp presents three never-before-published reports written for that research project that document key aspects of daily life at Poston. These accounts, compelling for their immediacy and their attention to detail, examine work, leisure, and Japanese American resistance to the policies of the War Relocation Authority. Nishimoto documents the subtle and diverse ways that residents of the camp resisted authority, whether by the showing of a flag or by a deliberate slowdown of their labor. Of particular interest are Nishimoto's accounts of the importance of gambling among Japanese Americans and of the power politics between first- and second-generation Japanese Americans in the camp.Born in Japan and educated at Stanford University, Nishimoto was bilingual and bicultural. That fact, along with Nishimoto's unique position as a resident, leader, and official observer of the camp, give his work an unparalleled perspective, allowing him to reveal the complex layering of ethnic identity within the camp. An introduction and commentary by anthropologist Lane Ryo Hirabayashi explore the significance of Nishimoto's writings and place them in their historical context. Interviews with surviving members of Nishimoto's family enable Hirabayashi to offer a fuller portrait of Nishimoto himself. Fifty years after the end of World War II, Nishimoto's writings revive vivid details of life inside one of the war relocation camps. Inside an American Concentration Camp offers a unique and important contribution to our understanding of this chapter in U.S. history.

Publisher: Tucson : University of Arizona Press, c1995
ISBN: 9780816514205
Branch Call Number: 940.5315 N633i 1995
Characteristics: lvi, 262 p. ill. ; 25 cm


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