Order 9066: Japanese American Incarceration in WWII
On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, just months after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Some 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry were forced from their homes on the West Coast and sent to one of ten "relocation" camps, where they were imprisoned behind barbed wire for the length of the war. Two-thirds of them were American citizens.
Order 9066 chronicles the history of this incarceration through vivid, first-person accounts of those who lived through it. With archival audio, historical context, and deeply personal narratives, the series offers audiences a nuanced and memorable account of how this shocking violation of American democracy came to pass, and its legacy in the present.
This moving, three-episode series is hosted by Sab Shimono and Pat Suzuki, veteran actors and stage performers who were both incarcerated at the Amache camp in Colorado. The series covers the racist atmosphere of the time, the camps' makeshift living quarters and the extraordinary ways people adapted; the fierce patriotism many Japanese Americans continued to feel and the ways they were divided against each other as they were forced to answer questions of loyalty; the movement for redress that eventually led to a formal apology from the US government, and much more.
Order 9066 is produced as a collaboration with the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. This July you can hear the three-part series on KWGS Public Radio 89.5.
A local history note: The Department of Justice created separate detention camps for Japanese Americans suspected of being spies or saboteurs. One of the main ones was located in Comanche County, Oklahoma (near Oklahoma City.)
Thursday, July 12, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. | Friday, July 13 at 8:00 p.m.
Listeners will hear about the wrenching process of leaving home for prison camp and the arrival at makeshift assembly centers — and how incarcerated people adapted to the harsh conditions and made the best of their situation by organizing schools, sports teams, art groups and newspapers.
Thursday, July 19, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. | Friday, July 20 at 8:00 p.m.
From the beginning, there was resistance to incarceration. Many Japanese Americans in the camps fought for their rights as citizens, and the opposition grew over time. The War Relocation Authority tried to extract loyalty pledges from those incarcerated and enlist them for military service. This chapter chronicles the brave service of thousands of Japanese Americans, including the men of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which became one of the most decorated military units in the European Theater.
Thursday, July 26, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. | Friday, July 27 at 8:00 p.m.
At war’s end, after the prison camps were shut down, many found they were unwelcome in their home communities. Many returned to discover that their property or land had been stolen. This chapter will feature people who flourished in post-war America, and those whose lives were destroyed by Order 9066. And listeners will hear about the long struggle by Japanese Americans to secure redress for the hardship and losses produced by incarceration.