#DayofRemembrance: 12 images of anti-Japanese xenophobia from the 1940’s (and earlier)

February 19, 2014

EX9066

72 years ago today, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which established military zones in the West Coast, eventually empowering the government to round-up and forcibly intern Japanese Americans during  World War II in one of this government’s worst examples of mass violation of American civil rights. 

To remember this second day that should also live on in infamy (lest we forget the crimes and horrors that were conducted in the name of racism), here are 12 images that capture the anti-Japanese xenophobia and hatred of the era, that helped compel and support the signing of E.O. 9066.

1. An image from 1912-1913 in support of the California Alien Land Law that prohibits Asian migrants from owning property. It passed.

An image from 1912-1913 in support of the California Alien Land Law that prohibits Asian migrants from owning property. It passed.

2. Detail of an exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum includes an editorial arguing against inclusion of Japanese American students. (source)

Detail of an exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum includes an editorial arguing against inclusion of Japanese American students.

3. A store puts up a sign excluding Japanese customers. (source)

A store puts up a sign excluding Japanese customers. (source)

4. A family stands next a spray painted message. (source for image of house alone)

A family stands next a spray painted message.

5. A novelty button.

manzanar pin

6. Tokio Kid appears on one of many anti-Japanese propaganda posters of the era.

Anti-Jap3

7. Dr Seuss illustrates the popular image of Japanese people for propaganda advertising US War Bonds (source).

Dr Seuss illustrates the popular image of Japanese people for an ad for US War Bonds.

8. Kent, a barber from Washington, opposes the return of Japanese Americans from internment camps. (source: Strangers From a Different Shore)

Kent, a barber from Washington, opposes the return of Japanese Americans from internment camps.

9. A woman points to a sign on a home. (source: Strangers From a Different Shore)

A woman points to a sign on a home.

10. A family stands below a sign that helpfully explains the prevailing attitudes of Rose Hill.

A family stands below a sign explaining the attitudes of Rose Hill.

11. An official US propaganda poster that advocates the murder and mutilation of Japanese troops.

us-propaganda-1

Note: this is an updated version of this post with this image replaced. The original #11 was the same house as #4. 

12. A sign erected in 1942 on a store owned by a Japanese American, uging his neighbours to see past the hate.

A sign erected in 1942 on a store owned by a Japanese American, uging his neighbours to see past the hate. Later, the owner was interned and the store sold by the government to profit local (non-Japanese) business owners and residents. (source: AP/Dorothea Lange)

Later, the owner was interned and the store sold by the government to profit local (non-Japanese) business owners and residents. (source: AP/Dorothea Lange)

See more posts and retrospectives through Twitter using #DayofRemembrance. This is the first of three posts that I compiled for today.

Here is the full list of posts that I compiled today for this year’s #DayofRemembrance:

 

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  • Peter

    4 and 11 are the same sign, why not put them together or chose one and adjust the title?

  • Honestly?

    … because I didn’t notice they were they same sign until you just pointed it out. :p

    (and now that this post has been up for two days, I’d feel bad making that big an alteration…)

  • OK, I replaced #11 with a different image so as to keep the post title and everything else the same! Thanks for pointing it out!

  • eva svigelj

    Unfortunately,not only USA, but most countries in the world , are at some point in time, or have been, guilty of such crimes or other, the point is: have they recognized it later? In France, our ex president Chirac has done so about the dark side of France during the war…but let this not obscure all the risks taken by many to save others, everywhere!

  • Hi Eva, thank you very much for your comment, and for necessarily contextualizing these images against non-American examples of similar xenophobia!

  • Pingback: #DayofRemembrance 2015: a visual tour | Reappropriate()

  • Pingback: #DayOfRemembrance 2016: A Legacy of Change Agents | Reappropriate()

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