Educational Guides and Resources
As the CSUJAD project progresses, the partners seek to engage students, educators, scholars, and the community through a variety of outreach, community activities, and educational workshops. To continue to expand on the depth of this digital project and contextualize the growing collection of archival materials, an ongoing and expanding array of educational materials are being shared on this web page. They are geared toward the community of users and interpreters connected to the subject of Japanese American history.
Terminology Used for Archival Description in the CSU Japanese American Digitization Project & Associated Issues
For the California State University Japanese American Digitization Project, archivists, scholars, and technical experts gathered to discuss the controversial topic of terminology as it applies to the Japanese American experience during World War II. A general consensus was reached about the group’s preferred terminology for this project, which is summarized below.
Often, before delving deeply into the history of the treatment of Japanese Americans during Word War II, the general public has tended to associate the term “internment” or “internees” with the camps and the people living in them. Government officials, politicians, and journalists have tended to use euphemistic language to refer to this incarceration of Japanese American citizens as demonstrated by the archival work of Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga (2010) in “Words Can Lie or Clarify.” Roger Daniels (2005) provided a legal and historical perspective on the use of these terms in “Words Do Matter” and continues to persuasively argue that “incarceration” and, by extension “incarceree,” are the appropriate terms to use for the 80,000 American citizens of Japanese ancestry, and 40,000 Japanese nationals barred from naturalization by race, imprisoned under the authority of Executive Order 9066 in War Relocation Authority camps. There were approximately 11,000 people who were actually interned following a recognized legal procedure and the forms of law. All of the latter were citizens of a nation against which the United States was at war, seized for reasons supposedly based on their behavior, and entitled to an individual hearing before a board whereas, the 120,000 Japanese American men, women, and children in the WRA camps had no due process of law and this violation of civil and human rights was justified on the grounds of military necessity. This legal differentiation was the basis for the redress movement, which led to the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, involving an apology and $20,000 payment to more than 80,000 camp survivors.
The Tule Lake Unit of the National Park Service provides links to the key readings related to the terminology controversy. The Densho Project has an extensive discussion of the issues as well as a thorough glossary of terms and comprehensive online encyclopedia. These resources outline the many different types of camps used for incarceration during WWII, including the following: assembly centers or temporary assembly centers; incarceration camps; Department of Justice internment camps; citizen isolation centers; U.S. Federal prisons; U.S. Army internment camps; immigration detention stations; and additional facilities. The reader/researcher is referred to these rich resources for differentiation and more clarification about the associated terminology.
For the reasons outlined above, when using the CSU collection online, the searcher should use the terms “incarceration” and “incarceree” rather than “internment” and “internee” for better search results. The latter terms were only used when referring to the Department of Justice and U.S. Army internment camps.
The planners and catalogers for the CSU archival project relied heavily on the Densho glossary and encyclopedia as well as their digitization and preservation manual for the terminology employed and has been invited to contribute to their expanded thesaurus work. Sincere thanks to Tom Ikeda, Executive Director, and all the Densho Project staff for generously sharing their extensive experience and work on terminology.
In the next year we will be adding lesson plans and other resources for educators to this page. Please check back soon.