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Historical Overview

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NonFiction Selections
Fiction, Literature and Poetry Selections
For Children and Young Adults


(includes history, oral history, art, photography, documents)

Adams, Ansel; Armor, John and Wright, Peter. Manzanar New York: Random House, Inc. 1988. Named for one of the California camps, includes commentary by John Hersey and photographs by Ansel Adams.

Bailey, Paul. City in the Sun: The Japanese Concentration Camp at Poston, Arizona. Los Angeles, CA: Westernlore Press, 1971.  Describes life at Poston camp, and provides a history of the region.

Bosworth, Allan R. America’s Concentration Camps. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Co., 1967. Overview of the camp experience includes summary of anti-Japanese movement, causal summary, and description of life in camp.

Chalfen, Richard. Turning Leaves: The Photograph Collections of Two Japanese American Families. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1991. Based on an NEH exhibition, this book examines two family albums, created and preserved by two Japanese American families. One family settled in Los Angeles and the other in Galiup, New Mexico. The California family was interned; the New Mexico family was not. The albums document and provide insights into the unique and common aspects of the Japanese immigrant experience in the U.S.

Chang, Gordon H. Morning Glory, Evening Shadow: Yamato Ichihashi and his Internment Writings, 1942-1945. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1997. First person account of internment experiences.

Chuman, Frank F. The Bamboo People: The Law and Japanese-Americans. Del-Mar, CA: Publisher's Inc., 1976.  History of laws pertaining to and fought against by Japanese Americans including those associated with World War II events.

Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. Personal Justice Denied. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1982; University of Washington Press, CLPEF, 1997 Reprint. Report of the Congressional Commission summarizes the Japanese American World War II experience and summarizes the commission’s recommendations for redress.

Conrat, Maisia and Richard. Executive Order 9066: The Internment of 110.000 Japanese Americans. California Historical Society, 1972. A classic pictorial essay on the internment, based on 1971 exhibit at the Presidio of San Francisco. Includes all of the original photos and commentary, plus new prefaces by Michael McCone, Executive Director, California Historical Society and Don T. Nakanishi, Director, UCLA Asian American Studies Center.

Crost, Lyn. Honor By Fire: Japanese Americans at War in Europe and the Pacific. Novato, California: Presidio, 1994.  An in-depth look at the Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Lyn Crost was a war correspondent for the Hawaii newspapers.

Daniels, Roger. Concentration Camps in North America: Japanese in the U.S. and Canada during World War II. Malabar, Florida: Robert E. Krieger Publishing, 1993. One of many books on the subject by University of Cincinnati historian Roger Daniels. This is a revised version of a 1971 edition.

Daniels, Roger. The Decision to Relocate the Japanese Americans. Malabar, Florida: Robert E. Kreiger Publishing Company, 1986. Reprinted as part of a series on "America's Alternatives," the book presents an interesting format for discussion. The volume consists of two parts: the first, a historical essay that examines the choices made by public policy decision makers; the second part consists of compendium of primary source documents that influenced or reflect the decision.

Daniels, Roger. The Politics of Prejudice: The Anti-Japanese Movement in California and the Struggle for Japanese Exclusion. New York: Atheneum, 1974. Also a revised edition of a 1962 University of California title.

Daniels, Roger. Prisoners Without Trial: Japanese Americans in World War II. New York: Hill and Wang, 1993. Examines the internment of the Japanese Americans and treatment during and after World War II.

Daniels, Roger; Taylor, Sandra, and Kitano, Harry C., eds. Japanese Americans from Relocation to Redress. Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 1986. Based on the International Conference on Relocation and Redress held in March 1983. Includes papers and addresses delivered at the conference and a chronology. Coeditor Harry L. Kitano is professor of social welfare and sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and as he puts it, “I grew up in the relocation center at Topaz."

Drinnon, Richard. Keeper of Concentration Camps: Dillon S. Myer and American Racism. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 1987. A critical review of Myer's role as head of the War Relocation Authority. Could be used for a book discussion, especially in combination with Myer's own defense of his actions in Uprooted Americans (see separate entry under Myer).

Duus, Masayo Umezawa. Transl. By Peter Duus. Unlikely Liberators: The Men of the 100th and 442nd. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press, 1987.  History of the Japanese American 100th and 442nd, including stories of soldier’s experiences.

Eaton, Allen H. Beauty Behind Barbed Wire: The Arts of the Japanese in Our War Relocation Camps. New York, NY: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1952.

Gesensway, Deborah and Roseman, Mindy. Beyond Words: Images from America's Concentration Camps. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1987. Paintings, drawings, oral histories, and narrative.

Hatamiya, Leslie T. Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and the Passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1993. Written by a Stanford undergraduate student who is the daughter and grand-daughter of internees and staff member of the U.S. Senate, this account of the redress movement and it's congressional conclusion looks at both the Japanese experience and the political process.

Higa, Karin. The View from Within: Japanese American Art from the Internment Camps. Los Angeles: Japanese American National Museum, 1993. Published in conjunction with an exhibition at the UCLA Wight Art Gallery to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Japanese American internment. Includes essays by the curator, black and white and color plates.

Hohri, William Minoru. Repairing America: An Account of the Movement for Japanese American Redress. Washington State University Press, 1988.  First-person account about the Redress Movement, by leader of the National Council for Japanese American Redress.

Hoobler, Dorothy and Thomas. The Japanese American Family Album. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1996. Illustrated thematic history of Japanese Americans in the United States, from early immigration to present.  Many transcribed oral history accounts illustrating Japanese American life. Introduction by George Takei.

Hosokawa, Bill. JACL in Quest of Justice: The History of the Japanese American Citizens League. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1982. Organizational, in-house history of the Japanese American Citizens League.

Hosokawa, Bill. NISEI. The Quiet Americans. Niwot, Colorado: University Press of

Colorado, 1992. Account of the Japanese American experience before, during, and after the internment, exploring how this group of first generation immigrants and their children established a presence for themselves while trying to overcome great prejudice.

Hosokawa, Bill, and Wilson, Robert A. East to America: A History of the Japanese in the United States. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1980. Early immigration account and history.

Houston, Jeanne Wakatsuki. Beyond Manzanar: View of Asian American Womanhood. Santa Barbara, CA: Capra Press, 1985. Autobiographical account of life at Manzanar through the eyes of a child.

Ichioka, Yuji. The Issei: The World of the First Generation Japanese Immigrants, 1885-1924. New York, NY: The Free Press, Division of MacMillian, Inc., 1988. Well documented account of early Japanese immigration and anti- Asian exclusion laws and land laws in America. Winner of the outstanding book prize of the National Association for Asian American Studies.

Inada, Lawson Fusao, ed. Only What We Could Carry: The Japanese American Internment Experience. California Historical Society, San Francisco, CA. Berkeley, CA: Heyday Books, 2000.  Collection of individual stories that document the Japanese American internment experience.  Also contains appendices of historical documents.

Irons, Peter. Justice at War: The Story of the Japanese American Internment Cases. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983. This review of the history of the legal battles that were sparked by Executive Order 9066 and the decision to intern provides in-depth examination of the constitutional issues raised by the Japanese-American internment experience. As a scholarly but accessible history of the law, it poses the stark issues of liberty vs. authority and freedom vs. national security, as the Supreme Court confronted them in the wartime internment cases.

Irons, Peter. Justice Delayed: The Record of the Japanese American Internment Cases. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1989. The sequel to Justice at War, relating the final disposition of the cases.

Ito, Leslie A.  Japanese Americans During World War II: A Selected, Annotated Bibliography of Materials Available at UCLA, second edition. Los Angeles, UCLA Asian American Studies Center, UCLA.  1997. Annotated bibliography of Japanese American literature.

Japanese American Curriculum Project, Inc. Japanese American Journey: The Story of a People. 1985. General history of Japanese Americans in the United States.

Kim, Kristine. Henry Sugimoto: Painting an American Experience. Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles. Berkeley, Calif.: Heyday Books, 2000.  Illustrated biographical history of artist Henry Sugimoto. 

Kitano, Harry. The Japanese American. [publisher] Highly recommended by the Asian American Curriculum Project, this is one of the Peoples of North America series, with an introduction by Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Knaefler, Tomi Kaizawa. Our House Divided. Honolulu, Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press, 1991. Stories of seven families in Hawaii during World War II, focusing on the conflicts between first and second generation Japanese Americans.

Mackey, Mike, ed. Remembering Heart Mountain: Essays on Japanese American Internment in Wyoming. Powell, WY: Western History Publications, 1998. Transcription of papers presented at conference on Heart Mountain Relocation Center entitled “Japanese American History: The Heart Mountain Experience” in 1995.

Myer, Dillon S. Uprooted Americans: The Japanese Americans and the War Relocation Authority During World War II. University of Arizona Press, 1971. War Relocation Authority Director’s account of managing the camps.

Niiya, Brian, editor. Japanese American History: An A-Z Reference from 1868 to the Present. Los Angeles, CA. The Japanese American National Museum. Facts on File. 1993. Encyclopedia about Japanese American history, with a forward by Senator Daniel Inouye. Includes a brief history section and annotated timeline of events in Japanese American history.

Odo, Franklin and Sinodo, Kazuko. A Pictorial History of the Japanese in Hawaii. Hawaii Immigrant Heritage Preservation Center, Department of Anthropology. Honolulu, HI: Bishop Museum Press, 1985.  Illustrated history of the history of the Japanese in Hawaii, using Bishop Museum collections.

Okihiro, Gary Y. Margins and Mainstreams: Asians in American History and Culture. Seattle, Wash.: University of Washington Press, 1994.  Looks at the struggle for equality and contributions to democracy.

Okubo, Mine. Citizen 13660. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1946. Reprint Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1983.  Illustrated book of personal experiences in Tanforan Assembly Center and Topaz camp.

Smith, Page. Democracy on Trial: The Japanese American Evacuation and Relocation in World War II. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995. Concludes that the internment of Japanese Americans was “wrong and indefensible but 'understandable'" for several reasons, one being that the War Department made the decision rather than the Justice Department.

Sone, Monica. Nisei Daughter. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, and The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1953. First Japanese American autobiography.

Tamura, Linda. The Hood River Issei: An Oral History of Japanese Settlers in Oregon's Hood River Valley. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1993. Interviews with Issei residents, the youngest of whom was 82 at the time of the interviews in 1985, capturing their immigration from Japan and the World War II years, including the campaign of Hood River residents to discourage them from returning home after the internment.

Tanaka, Chester. Go for Broke: A Pictorial History of the Japanese American 100th Infantry Battallion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Richmond, CA: Go for Broke, Inc. 1982. History of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team by veterans.

Tateishi, John. And Justice for All: An Oral History of the Japanese American Detention Camps. New York: Random House, 1984. Transcribed oral histories of 30 Japanese American internees, describing their experiences in various camps.

Taylor, Sandra C. Jewel of the Desert: Japanese American Internment at Topaz. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1993. Narrative history of Japanese Americans from San Francisco and their experiences at Tanforan Assembly Center and at Topaz camp.

Tsukamoto, Mary and Pinkerton, Elizabeth. We the People: A Story of Internment in America. Lagerman Publishers, 1987. Autobiography of Nisei woman from Florin, California and interned at Jerome.

Tsukano, John. Bridge of Love. Honolulu, HI: Hawaii Hosts, Inc., 1985.  About the experiences of the 100th and 442nd  in World War II.

Weglyn, Michi. Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of America's Concentration Camps.

New York: Morrow Quill Paperbacks, 1976. Extensively documented and footnoted, this book provides an historical overview, as well as a personal look at events surround the internment. Weglyn, an internee herself, provides a compelling yet balanced view of the effects of Executive Order 9066. An informative introduction is provided by James A. Michener.



Guterson, David. Snow Falling on Cedars. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace, 1994. A young fisherman is found dead in the nets of his boat in the Pacific Northwest. What follows is a story about love and war in which a war veteran, his first love, a Japanese American woman, and her husband, the accused murderer, must come to terms with the past, culture, nature and the possibilities of human will.

Hongo, Garrett, ed. The Open Boat: Poems from Asian America. New York: Doubleday, 1993. This anthology includes poems by Lawson Fusao Inada, Janice Mirikitani, James Masao Mitsui, and David Mura, all of whom have written about the camp experience.

Several other anthologies of Japanese American and Asian American literature are also good sources, as many of these poets and short story writers do not have individual volumes published. Other anthologies include:

Breaking Silence: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Poetry. Joseph Bruchac, editor. Greenfield, NY: Greenfield Review Press, 1983. Includes Janice Mirikitan’s poem about her mother's testimony before the Commission on Wartime Relocation.

Making Waves: An Anthology of Writing by and about Asian American Women. Asian Women of California, eds. San Francisco: Beacon Press, 1988. The writings are organized around a series of themes that include immigration, war, work, generations, and injustice. Includes autobiographical writings, short stories, poetry and essays.

Inada, Lawson Fusao. Legends from Camp. Minneapolis, MN: Coffee House Press, 1992. Inada's poems are big and sprawling and would seem to be wonderful for reading aloud. The title poem, "Legends from Camp," is a series of vignettes: ironic, comic, cosmic, grand, tragic. "Concentration Constellation" paints a map of the camp sites. Other sections of the collection move beyond the camps to a much larger world. Inada is a Sansei, or third-generation Japanese American, but says the questions of "What camp were you in?" (or "What camp was your grandfather in?" for future generations) is an essential part of his identity.

Kadohata, Cynthia. The Floating World. New York: Ballantine, 1993. A coming-of-age novel about a young Japanese American girl in the 1950s who reflects on her family's history and experiences the prejudice that remained as an aftermath of the war years.

Kogawa, Joy. Itsuka. New York: Anchor Books, 1994. A novel of the fight for redress in Canada.

Mori, Toshio. The Chauvinist and Other Stories. Los Angeles, California: University of California Asian American Studies Center, 1979. Toshio Mori was the first Japanese

American to have a book of stories published in the U.S. (Yokohama, California, published in 1949.) Mori was at first rejected by later generation Japanese Americans as "sentimental," and still later embraced as by younger writers "hungry for [their] roots," in the words of Hisaye Yamamoto. Two stories in the volume, "The Sweet Potato" and "1,2,3,4, Who Are We For?" concern the prewar years. His first book of short stories had already been accepted for publication when Mori and his family were assigned to the relocation camp at Topaz, and his publisher put the book on hold. "The Man With Bulging Pockets," included in this collection, is one of the results of his camp experiences.

Mura, David. After We Lost Our Way. New York: E.P. Button, 1989. The collection of poems looks back to the internment of the author's grandparents, and forward to the experience of contemporary Asian Americans. Many of the poems take the form of "letters," including "Letters from Poston Relocation Camp, 1942-45."

Okada, John. No-No Boy. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1980. Set in Seattle just after World War II, the novel looks at the effects on the community of the aftermath of the internment camps and the experiences of the "no-no boys," those who refused to serve in the army of a county that denied their rights as citizens.

Okita, Dwight. Crossing With the Light. Chicago: Tia Chucha Press, 1992. Contains several poems about the internment camps, including "In Response to Executive Order 9066" and "The Nice Thing About Counting Stars." Okita is a Sansei and has written several plays, as well as poetry, including Salad Bowl Dance.

Sasaki, R.A. The Loom and Other Stories. St. Paul, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 1991. Story collection about three generations of Japanese Americans. Sasaki talks of the "cultural amnesia inflicted on my parents' generation by the internment and the atomic bomb."

Yamaguchi, Wasako. Songs My Mother Taught Me, New York: Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 1994. Stories, plays, and memoir about immigration, internment, as one reviewer said, "dislocation of the heart."

Yamamoto, Hisaye. Seventeen Syllables and Other Stories. Latham, New York: Kitchen Table, Women of Color Press, Inc., 1988. Yamamoto was interned at Poston during World War II, which provides the setting for one of the stories in this volume, "The Legend of Miss Sasagawara. Another story, "The Pleasure of Plain Rice," chronicles her experience as a waitress in Massachusetts, a job she took in order to be able to leave the camps. The book's introduction gives a brief history of Nisei literary history, including the camp magazines that published poems and short stories.



Armor, John and Wright, Peter. Manzanar. 1988. Times Books. Gr. 9-12. Ansel Adams' photographs taken at the Manzanar, California, internment camp and commentary by John Hersey add to the authors' eloquent look at an ugly event in U.S. history.

Brimmer, Lany Dane. Voices from the Camps: Internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. 1994. Watts. Gr. 7-12. The personal testimony of Japanese American survivors is woven into this history of their experience in California during World War II, when racist hysteria led to their forced evacuation and imprisonment.

Davis, Daniel S. Behind Barbed Wire: The Imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II. 1982. Dutton. Gr. 7-12. A sensitive, well-organized examination of the incarceration of some 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans in U.S. internment camps during the Second World War. It includes discussion of the roles played by the media, politicians, the courts, and the president in the suspension of civil rights on such a grand scale. Garrigue, Sheila. The Eternal Spring of Mr. lto. 1985. Bradbury. Fiction. Gr. 6-9. Sara, a British evacuee to Canada, takes the part of her uncle's long-time Japanese gardener despite the anti-Japanese sentiments around her.

Hamanaka, Sheila. The Journey, Japanese Americans, Racism and Renewal. 1990. Orchard/Richard Jackson. Gr. 4-9. In a picture book for older readers that is based on her 25-foot, 5-panel mural, artist Hamanaka tells of the experiences of Japanese Americans, focusing on their internment during World War II.

Houston, Jeanne Wakatsuki and Houston, James D. Farewell to Manzanar. 1973. Bantam, paper. Gr. 8-12. A Japanese American, Jeanne Houston recalls her three years as a small child in the internment camp at Manzanar and her growing up after the war.

Levine, Ellen. A Fence Away from Freedom: Japanese Americans and World War II. 1995. Putnam. Gr. 6-12. The bitter experience of Japanese Americans illegally interned during World War II is told in the voices of those who were young at the time. It's a story of democracy ignored and racism triumphant; of homes invaded, businesses lost, and thousands of civilians horded behind barbed wire.

Mochizuki, Ken. Baseball Saved Us. Iuus. by Dom Lee. 1993. Lee & Low. Gr. 4-9. This picture book for older readers focuses on the experiences of a Japanese American kid who faces bigotry both during and after his internment, but his baseball skills earn him respect.

Savin, Marcia. The Moon Bridge. 1993. Scholastic. Fiction. Gr. 5-7. San Francisco fifth-grader Ruthie Fox defends Japanese American Mitzi Fujimoto from schoolyard persecution and becomes her best friend, until Mitzi is sent to an internment camp.

Stanley, Jerry. I Am An American: A True Story of Japanese Internment. 1994. Crown. Gr. 7-10. Stanley's photo-essay humanizes the Japanese American experience during World War II by focusing on what happened to one high-school boy, Shi Nomura.

Tateishi, John. And Justice for All: An Oral History of the Japanese American Internment Camps. 1984. Random. Gr. 9-12. Poignant, revealing recollections from 30 Japanese Americans who were placed in government detention camps following Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor lend valuable insight into this tragic event in U.S. history.

Uchida, Yoshiko. The Invisible Thread: A Memoir. 1992. Messner. Gr. 7-10. In a moving autobiography, Uchida writes about growing up in Berkeley, California, feeling like an American, and about her family's being forced into a relocation camp in Utah during World War II.

Weglyn, Michi. Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of America's Concentration Camps. 1976. Morrow. Gr. 9-12. Weglyn, a teenage Japanese American internee in the 1940s, brings bitter memories to her detailed, well-documented expose of the injustice of the evacuation and relocation.

Compiled by the American Library Association and Smithsonian Institution exhibit curatorial staff. Updated 10/01.


Smithsonian - National Museum of American History - Behring Center