Explore the Japanese American Internment
Home Help
For Educators


Here you'll find the following resources for educators:


Classroom discussion questions for this web-site

The following questions are suggestions for each of the three broad sections of this web-site (World War II & Roundup; The Camps Experience; and Postwar & Impact Today) and each subsection within them.


- Pre-War Overview:
Imagine that you are an American citizen growing up in the 1930s, born in California, to Japanese immigrant parents. How are the opportunities and choices available to you -- in areas such as schools, jobs and residence -- different from your Caucasian friends? How different or similar to your friends who are African American, Hispanic, Native American or other minority group?

- Pearl Harbor -
How did Japanese Americans feel about the bombing of Pearl Harbor?

Why do you think the Government ignored and suppressed their own findings that Japanese Americans posed no military threat?

If Pearl Harbor were to be bombed today -- or if another foreign power attacked the U.S.-- what might be the impact on American citizens and permanent residents whose ancestry is traceable to that nation?

- FBI Raids -
What impact did the FBI raids have on some Japanese American families?

- Executive Order 9066 -
How did our leaders arrive at the decision to remove and incarcerate Japanese Americans?

- Mass Removal -
Why were Japanese Americans on the West Coast removed and incarcerated, whereas Japanese Americans in Hawaii, despite the Pearl Harbor bombing, were not interned?

- Japanese Latin Americans -
How could Japanese living in Latin America be caught in the web of internment?


- Temporary Detention Centers -
Were Japanese Americans given adequate care and accommodations as they were rounded up? Were they given assurances and clear information on what the future held for them?

- Permanent WRA Camps -
Discuss the claim by the U.S. Government that the camps were for the protection of Japanese Americans. Were the barbed wire fences and guard towers meant to keep vigilantes out or Japanese American inmates in?

- Camp Life -
Were the camps "resettlement communities," or prisons? What’s the difference between the two?

Did the War Relocation Authority take measures to protect family life and privacy?

- Questions of Loyalty -
How did Japanese Americans respond after being incarcerated without due process of law, to questions asking them whether or not they were unquestioningly loyal to this country?

- Tule Lake Segregation -
Were those who answered "no" to the loyalty questions clearly "disloyal" or were they voicing discontent with their treatment?

- Draft Resisters -
Why did these young men resist being drafted into the military? Write or improvise a conversation between two brothers in an internment camp who make two different opposing decisions on the draft: one enlists, the other resists. What are their points of agreement, if any? How do they differ? Is one brother more patriotic than the other ?

- Court Challenges -
What was the basis the Supreme Court used to rule against legal challenges of the exclusion and curfew orders? Did the War and Justice Departments present to the Court all the facts and evidence available to them regarding the loyalty of Japanese Americans and any military necessity?

- Military Service -
What did it take to fight for a country that kept your family interned behind barbed wire?

- End of Exclusion -
How did the U.S. Government prepare and assist Japanese Americans’ efforts to rejoin American society?


- Postwar Resettlement -
After being released from the camps, what did ex-internees face on the other side of barbed wire? How did their homes, employment, family life and communities change after the war and end of internment?

Compare the Japanese American internment and resettlement experience with the social stigma, trauma and displacement experienced by other communities (e.g. refugees from war torn nations, new immigrants, homelessness).

- Empowerment -
Why was it significant for Japanese Americans to seek political office? What difference did it make for this community and others? What were some of the reasons that inspired and compelled individual Japanese Americans to commit themselves to public service?

- Civil Rights Movement -
How did the civil rights struggles of African Americans, women and others affect Japanese Americans’ view of their own history, particularly the World War II internment?

- Redress & Reparations - See below for Post-Viewing Discussion and Questions: Constitutional Issues and the History Behind a Political Decision

- Court Victories - What did the coram nobis cases discover, nearly forty years after the camps? Is it ever too late to pursue justice?

- On-going Impact - How long do you think it took to recover from internment? Is it possible to measure?

- Remembrance - Why is it important for a community and society at large, to remember its past errors? What are some ways that the Japanese American community remember the internment? What are some ways that the Japanese American community commemorates the internment?

- Can it Happen Again? - With an awareness of the history and lessons of the Japanese American internment, what can we do to ensure that such an injustice is not repeated, for any group of people?

Next -->
Sample classroom activities from "Rediscovering Our Histories" video curriculum package



Site Overview Help
World War II & Roundup Camps Experience Post War & Impact Today
Home About the Project For Educators Other Resources

Day of Remembrance

Copyright 2002. National Asian American Telecommunications Association. All Rights Reserved.