The Humane Conditions of the United States’ Japanese Internment Camps

In response to the attack on Pearl Harbor, Canadian and American governments took extreme actions to prevent possible Japanese attacks, first and foremost are the internment camps. Japanese internment camps housed Japanese US and non-US citizens from 1942-1945. The economic and social factors surrounding the camps were unprecedented. The United States managed the affair with somewhat of a dignified perspective while Canada on the other hand fully implemented dispossession, discrimination, but ignored a redress of any sort. In contrast to the United States, Canada completely exploited the Japaneses’ economic resources.
Shortly before their evacuation to the camps the “to-be-interned” Japanese would quickly sell some or all of their personal possessions whether to the government or other white civilian buyers. Under the War Measures Act of 1943, the Japanese were required to pay taxes for every sold item which would later be auctioned; their land and other properties, if not sold, were immediately confiscated. Later, the property was resold to white Canadians and never returned. “Dispossession of Canadian citizens, was contrary to British principles of justice and to the Atlantic Charter,” announced Dr.
Henry F. Angus, in opposition to Japanese internment. He demonstrates that even then were there individuals that recognized the unjustness of the camps. The taxes aforementioned were used for the payment of government employees and also to fund the internment camps and pay businessmen who took over maritime industries normally monopolized by Japanese. The United States was responsible for confiscating some private properties, but not nearly the amount of which Canada was responsible. The Canadians took economic advantage of the camps to their fullest extent.

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In Canada the social conditions of the Japanese internment camps were different from the Unites States camps which had the necessities such as food, shelter, and water. The ten Japanese internment camps in the United States were incomparable to the intolerable conditions in which Japanese Canadians were forced to live. Japanese Americans had facilities such as mess halls, bath houses, laundry buildings and recreational areas on the primacies. The detainees could specialize and join the work force to support themselves and spend their wages in the camp store. Children attended school and most families attended church on Sundays.
Restrictions to which they had to abide included leaving the premises, criminal activities, worship of the state Shinto, food and water rations, and others. Canadian camps provided extremely limited resources to the interned, sometimes providing only 10 toilets for 1,500 women, while shortages of food were common. As sickness spread so did a hatred of both American and Canadian Caucasian citizens whether they were responsible or not for the Japanese’s incarceration. Approximately 60 years later, the US felt a moral obligation to redress about 550 Japanese citizens that were associated with internment camps.
About 12 million US dollars were distributed to the few remaining victimized families. This is embarrassing and tragic at the very least, admitting our injustice publically. However they took responsibility for their actions which explains how Japanese immersion and social acceptance in America’s society developed Americans’ humility and honor. Through such compensation of moneys and in some cases property Americans regained the faith of the Japanese to some degree. Canada on the other hand showed very little mercy to the delicate minority and interned every Japanese immigrant.
Families were torn apart without hesitation, separating husbands from wives and children from mothers, leaving families with absolutely nothing but bitterness and sour remorse after being subjects to the government’s lethal power. Prior to installing the Japanese internment camps Canada and America were immersed in a state of fear after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The two regions had agreed to inform the other of changes in policies within the internment camps when they were built. One country fed off the other, trying to find some justification for their dreadful treatment of the interned Japanese.
As the United States confiscated land Canada dispossessed boats for economic profit; while the standard of living in American internment camps was low, the Canadians took it one step further, providing them with little supplies and a socially cold shoulder. The United States maintained the Japanese internment camps better than the Canadians, providing them with scarce necessities but humane conditions. Works Cited Challenge to Democracy, A (1944). U. S. War Relocation Authority. March 3rd, 2010 http://www. archive. org/details/Challeng1944 The Politics of Racism . Ann Sunahara. March 3rd, 2010 http://www. japanesecanadianhistory. ca/

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