Time Era

Historic time period: 1929–1945

Life in a WWII Japanese-American Internment Camp

During World War II, the United States was at war with Japan. By an executive order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, all Americans of Japanese descent living in military exclusion zones on the West Coast were forced to leave their homes and move to internment camps.

Since the end of the war, the Japanese American community has loaned a large collection of objects to the National Museum of American History. These artifacts, which relate to the experiences of Americans of Japanese descent during the war, are shown in the exhibition A More Perfect Union.

Baseball Saved Us is a story about a young American boy of Japanese descent named Shorty who is forced to leave his home and move to an army prison camp for the duration of the war. You can learn more about the Japanese American experience during World War II by reading Baseball Saved Us, exploring A More Perfect Union online, and by trying out the activities below.

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Read This Book

You can learn more about the internment of Japanese Americans in these books. Click on the book titles below for more information, or visit our complete bibliography.

Baseball Saved Us book cover

Featured Book

Baseball Saved Us

by Ken Mochizuki

Baseball Saved Us. Text copyright 1993 by Ken Mochizuki. Illustration copyright by Dom Lee. All rights reserved. Used by permission from Lee & Low Books.


  • Honoring Japanese Americans

    Honoring Japanese Americans

    Learn From Objects

    What would a medal for the kids who lived in internment camps look like? Learn about the award for Japanese American soldiers and create your own.

    Download the PDF »
  • Connecting Food and Stories

    Connecting Food and Stories

    Play and Create

    Try your hand at Weenie Royale or Spam Musubi, foods that some families ate while living in an internment camp.

    Download the PDF »
  • Play Ball!

    Play Ball!

    Take a Trip

    Can math make you better at baseball? Find and explore a baseball field near you to practice hitting, pitching, and running the bases.

    Download the PDF »
  • Real People, Real Stories

    Real People, Real Stories

    Use Technology

    Hear stories of the internment camps from people who lived there as children. Make a baseball card to retell their stories in your own words.

    Download the PDF »
  • Leaving Things Behind

    Leaving Things Behind

    Learn From Objects

    What would you take with you if you were forced to move to an internment camp? Answer questions and draw pictures of your most precious belongings.

    Download the PDF »
  • Make Your Own Fish Kite

    Make Your Own Fish Kite

    Play and Create

    Follow these ten simple steps and create your own Japanese kite in the shape of a fish.

    Download the PDF »

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Smithsonian's History Explorer