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Miné with Open Newspaper, Surrounded by Anti-Japanese Slogans, Berkeley, California, ink drawing by Miné Okubo, 1941

Miné Okubo drew this self-portrait while incarcerated at an internment camp. The anti-Japanese slogans and racial slurs hanging in the air above her represent the experience of thousands of imprisoned people of Japanese ancestry—many of whom were citizens—during this period. No person of Japanese ancestry living in the United States was ever convicted of espionage or sabotage during World War II.

Japanese American National Museum

Miné with Open Newspaper

Asian American Policy during World War II

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942. It required the forced relocation and internment of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans, most of whom were native-born American citizens. Congress appropriated funds for its implementation and provided penalties for its violation. In contrast, Congress approved legislation in 1943 to shore up relations with China, a key ally, and lifted restrictions on Chinese immigration to the United States for the first time since 1882.

We recommend the immediate evacuation of all persons of Japanese lineage . . . whose presence shall be deemed dangerous or inimical to the defense of the United States

Representative Clarence F. Lea of California, Recommendations of the Pacific Coast Subcommittee on Alien Enemies and Sabotage, February 13, 1942