Japanese Americans Visit A WW2 Incarceration Camp

– [Narrator] It would be
so hard to go back home after everything happened and try to just live your life normally. I think that’s partially why my family just chose not to really talk about it. They just wanted to
leave it all in the past. (emotional music) – During World War II
Manzanar was an American incarceration camp in which
Japanese Americans were held against their will in
the name of national security. – I want to go to Manzanar
because I don’t think I know my own history that well. Both of my grandparents were held in camps when they were children. – My family didn’t really
talk about it growing up. Whenever I’d ask about
it like my grandparents were too young to remember
and they said that they never talked about
it with their parents. – My family was actually not in the camps. It was more like just remember,
this is also something that happened here in
California which I am born and raised in California. – I want to come out of this you know more knowledgeable but also
I want to come out of this with a greater understanding
of what happened. I want to understand what it felt like and understand what
they had to go through. – Something like the story of the camps, like visiting the camps, being there, talking to people about
it like amongst ourselves as Japanese Americans,
understanding our own story, is so key ’cause we’re
not going to be able to move forward if we don’t
know where we came from. – When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, our west coast became a
potential combat zone. Living in that zone are
more than 100,000 persons of Japanese ancestry. Military authorities therefore determined that all of them, citizens and aliens alike would have to move. The evacuees cooperated wholeheartedly. The many loyal among
them felt that this was a sacrifice they could make in behalf of America’s war effort. (gentle guitar music) – The air felt clean, but also like you’re in the middle of nowhere. Like almost like placelessness. – It’s very hot.
– It’s a little hot. All things considered here. – This amazing amazing
ranger comes to meet us, and she ushers us over to the barracks. – A lot of Manzanar is gone, so most of the original buildings are gone. Manzanar wouldn’t even
be here for us to visit if it weren’t for the
efforts of Japanese Americans who made the pilgrimage back to the site and then who successfully
lobbied the government to preserve it. – These barracks have been
rebuilt in the same spot that the ones were during World War II. The barracks here were
100 feet by 20 feet. When you got here. – Their immediate reaction
is this is too nice. – There’s just like bunch of Japanese slash Japanese Americans that were squished into a very small space. I can’t imagine. – Not comfortable. When they came here,
how long were they told they were going to be staying? – That must be tough to not be able to tell your kids how long
they have to expect to stay. – I just kept thinking
about the first night. Imagine the first night
walking into this barrack. Imagine the first night with your suitcase just like unpacked at
the foot of your bed, unsure how long you’re gonna be there. – We went outside, and
while we were on the grounds we did notice that there
were like basketball courts. – This basketball court has been redone, but it is historically correct. – Seeing the basketball hoops there just proves that despite all the injustice and things that were
being placed upon them, they didn’t let it break their spirit. Ball was still life, which
is like super dope to me. – We went into the visitor’s center and that was really fascinating obviously seeing like all the
propaganda from the time. – It was from a nationally
syndicated columnist who said “herd ’em up, pack ’em off “and give ’em the inside
room in the Badlands. “Let ’em be pinched, hurt,
hungry and dead up against it. “Personally I hate the Japanese, “and that goes for all of ’em.” – The ranger took out these family records for those of us who had families
that were put in the camps. – [Woman] Oh that’s so cool. – This list where the family’s from, part of California, and this list where they’re heading to where after they leave camp, where they’re going. And if you look at, this is all my family. Chicago, Illinois, Chicago,
Illinois, Chicago Illinois. I mean they made it there
because that’s where I’m from. – Seeing it on paper and
seeing like the actual record, like that’s like a piece of my family’s history right there you know? Like an artifact. – Sean, I found both your
grandparents block addresses which if we want to try and go see them, I would probably have
better luck than you did. – [Woman] So block five is? – Is the one where Paul was, yeah. – [Woman] And Paul is Sean,
Paul is your grandfather? (emotional music) This is where my grandpa’s barrack was. So yeah. – [Woman] And now you’re here. – Now I’m here. – They hadn’t excavated the
site, so our park ranger told us that the plate had probably been at that barrack site for over 70 years. – We’re gonna put it back. – [Patricia] Yes. The morning before we went to Manzanar was the first time that my
grandfather forgot my name, and so to be at Manzanar the next day and to see his barrack, I think for me it was like survivors of the camps can’t be the only ones telling the story because they’re fading,
but for us to make sure that the lessons continue, we have to keep going back to the camps whether
literally or figuratively, ’cause there’s so much to learn. – It looks like… – This is definitely, I told
you it was a sewer pipe! – ‘Cause the diameter’s
too big, so water coming in has to be in pressure, so
you get those smaller lines. – I am probably holding a sewage pipe. (gentle guitar music) – We went to the cemetery,
and that was just very like peaceful and serene. – It’s just covered in these
like colorful origami cranes, and there is this like windstorm blowing and it was like blowing the cranes. – The whole thing in general was actually a lot more emotional for me
than I thought it would be. I thought I would see it, you know, from like a historical perspective. I didn’t expect it to
affect me like it did. – When you learn something about a tragedy the next step is sort of like oh, what work can be done in order to apply the lessons from camp? – And there’s like this real danger that this same rhetoric
is going to get out there and that people are going to be arbitrarily sent off for no reason. – Just imagine someone just telling you to pack your bag and leave right now. – And it’s nobody’s duty
to read every textbook and take every Asian
American studies course and learn everything, just showing up it’s not like saving the world, but I think that it’s, by knowing more and by learning more
and by gaining knowledge and building a perspective,
we’re ultimately contributing to a larger consciousness. (gentle guitar music)

100 thoughts on “Japanese Americans Visit A WW2 Incarceration Camp

  1. I understand the intention of this video for trying to show the dark history of America and how the Japanese American were treated but this video is very one sided and ignores why they was being locked up. The Japanese committed unspeakable crimes during the WW2, they invaded almost the whole East Asia, raped women, using ALIVE people for extreme dangerous chemical experiments like viruses and bacterias to make weapon, and they have wiped out the entire city using bombs and guns (nanking massacre) killing thousands. After the war, the names of many generals who kill and raped thousands of innocents were put inside a temple for Japanese people to worship. I know that Japanese American did no commit these acts and should not be treated like that but if they are showing the story why don't you show a full one.

  2. Watch the full propaganda film from that time.

    See the interviews of those who actually lived through the experience.

    Families, out of fear of even worse persecution, burned or buried heirlooms and letters before leaving their homes.

    And while a lot of people may have heard about the 442nd, read a bit about the loyalty questionnaire and the "No-No Boys" too.

  3. It is also important to know that the U.S. worked with governments throughout Latin America to abduct and imprison families of Japanese ancestry from Peru and other LA countries. These families were imprisoned in facilities like the one shown here. They were held for potential prisoner exchanges with Imperial Japan throughout the war. After the war, many of these families could not return to their home country in LA. Some were even forced to go to Japan. Others made a new life in the U.S., paying taxes for the rest of their lives to a government that kidnapped them from their home countries.

  4. American Society is so sick of Racism… An outrageous act of injustice committed against american citizens based only on their background

  5. They should also visit The Nanjing massacre Memorial Hall and Bataan death march Memorial Park.

    Yes. None of the Japanese on this camp are soldiers and the victims did not deserve this kind of treatment nor should they be blamed for the evils that they did not do;
    However, Japanese people must acknowledge that their forefathers are also demons and monsters so they can learn from those mistakes.

    Please don't use this as a propaganda for history revisionism and for playing victim.

  6. I think the worst part of this piece of history is that as an American child growing up in school, not once had i ever learned about this. Even is APUSH, not ONCE was this mentioned in any of our textbooks. It wasn't until i was a Junior in college that I learned about this. It just goes to show you how fucked America is.

  7. I kinda learn about this in High School, don't remember how they paid the mortgage [forget their job they would be fired for no being at work for years] or did they have to start from scratch ?

  8. the amount of people in the comments saying "oh but the japanese did much worse things!" YES. the japanese MILITARY, not innocent civillians, and not japanese-americans. regardless, no entire race should be punished for the actions of a small percentage. should all germans be punished for the nazi's actions? or all russians punished for stalin's actions? NO. the sad fact of all of this is that it's not black and white, it's not as simple as right and wrong. there are atrocities and innocence on both sides of any war, the way this should be handled is to only punish those responsible but it just isn't that simple

  9. This might just be me but am I the only one that felt like they were being disrespectful? I understand using humor as a coping mechanism but I don’t really think it was appropriate.

  10. I’m glad I was able to learn about this fucked up situation, I did the case of Korematsu v United States in government. It’s sick the US basically said “hey your human rights don’t matter bc were “protecting” the United States as a whole”

  11. It would not have been possible to intern large numbers of German and Italian Americans ….. the simple fact is they made up the bulk of US combat forces in WWII. Only those of English ethnicity were larger at the time. Currently, German is the largest ethnic group in the US

  12. we did this because if the japanese were to invade, we thought that some of the japanese-americans might join the fight for japan, and also it prevented spys

  13. It shows a lot about human nature that we learn years worth of information about the WWII genocide and Pearl Harbor but the Trail of Tears and the Japanese internment camps are briefly mentioned, if at all…

  14. I learned about this in Asian American history and in every class I cried. We had to read a book for class on all kinds of stories from internment times and I remember this one story of a family (of 4 I believe) hearing this other couple they lived with go through all of their private matters because it was just so cramped in there.

  15. I was really touched to see Ryan from Buzzfeed Unsolved. All these people did not deserve what happened to them, they did nothing wrong. Their ancestors did nothing wrong, this is just a stain on humanity.

  16. I’m full Japanese blood and born in America but my ancestors are not from America so I can not relate that much. But definitely somewhere I’d love to visit for my Japanese history

  17. People going on about how the Japanese have done bad things too is exactly why history will always repeat itself. We are meant to be learning from all the bad that's been done and never let it happen, not listen/read about the Japanese concentration camps and go "oh but they have done pretty bad stuff themsleves" as if that gets rid of all the hurt, all the torture and all the loses those in the camps have had to endure.

  18. Japanese those who born in Japan I like them but those who born in America no way why ❓ because they act like Americans not Japanese

  19. When he said his grandpa was named for Paul Revere because he was born in July fourth, it struck me. They are AMERICAN, clearly! To take them from the home and put them in camps is cruel. It damages me so much to think my grandpa and thousands of others had to go through this.

  20. You can’t really blame America though. They thought japan and America was cordial, then they bombed us unexpectedly. It is only expected that America decided to stand up to keep the others safe. I’m not saying any of this is right, but I am saying that it is understandable

  21. We should visit the places where the Chinese comfort women were slaughtered then thrown to the pigs like dogs by the Japanese during ww2.

  22. what really sucks is that people forget many of the Japanese people put into these camps were Japanese AMERICANS. Meaning many of them were literally born in the states of Japanese descent, like white americans are technically americans of european descent. If France had attacked, would the US have locked up white people?

  23. Are idiots forgetting that the Japanese picked a fight with us??? And that we treated the Japanese Americans really well and fed them and gave them proper bedding and gave them a large sum of money after the war was over???

  24. Par of my family was in these camps they got there right before japan attacked and they left as soon as they were let out in fear of being attacked just because they were Japanese.

  25. Remember it was the Democrats who did this, every major American atrocity was done by the Democrat party from the Trail of Tears, to eugenics, to internment camps.

  26. I'm here because I'm reading "farewell to manzanar" and wanted to know abt these camps. It's so sad

  27. Some Japanese say that japan “liberated” Asia. Those Japanese belong in an internment camp.
    Some Japanese say that Nanjing never happened. Those Japanese belong in an internment camp.
    Some Japanese call comfort women prostitutes. Those Japanese belong in an internment camp.
    Some Japanese worship the world’s worst war criminals in Yasukuni Shrine. Those Japanese belong in an internment camp.
    The rest of the Japanese are beautiful people.

  28. There's a guy I went to school with who is shockingly, almost anachronistically racist towards Japanese-Americans. You'd think he was some crusty WWII vet who fought in the Pan-Pacific but he's not even thirty. We talked recently (we live in the same town) and he casually dropped racist slurs and said that he saw a photo of a Japanese-American woman smiling in one of the camps so obviously it wasn't a big deal.

    That's why things like this need to be taught in schools from a young age. Not just the Japanese-American internment camps but the turning away of Jewish immigrants before WWII, the reform schools that native American children were taken to to obliterate their culture, the theft of Mexican and Hawaiian lands, the disrespect of Latin American and Middle Eastern borders and sovereignty… Sometimes it feels like those who committed those crimes rely on the fact that those who suffer are too traumatized to talk about it and those who didn't were sufficiently brainwashed into not caring.

    If we don't learn from history, we repeat history. And those who suffered deserve the dignity and respect of not being forgotten.

  29. But its quite sad you know, that one country’s mistakes, included many innocent japanese american bystanders as they were associated by blood, its sad you know

  30. A shameful & purposefully overlooked part of American history. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that someone has looked into the legality of such places nowadays.

  31. the propaganda at the beginning of "they're eager to serve their country by going to the camps, what a genuine sacrifice" is sickening to me. american media has always been twisting stories ever since the beginning.

  32. These Japanese Americans mostly hated their homeland and embraced USA, they were mostly glad to help USA to overthrow the Imperial Japanese regime, that's the reason why they were interned. FDR was a Rothschild agent and secret ally of Imperial Japan.

  33. Most of the Japanese Americans wanted to enlist into the military as they didn't believe the pearl attack was right

  34. Sorry but I thing that these Japanese-Americans didn’t know what their Country did BAD over seas ……idk

  35. The US school system has done a good job of erasing this part of our history. I know it wasnt until I was in college that I discovered the Internment Camps. We even had one close to where I live and no one talked about it. Have you seen that Trump is now reusing some of those sites as places where he is housing immigrant children? Refusing them things like soap and toothbrushes, no schooling, no recreation, and sleeping on cement floors with mylar blankets. We are becoming more like Nazi Germany every day under his rule!

  36. what about the hundreds and thousands of filipinos raped killed and tortured by japanese soldiers in WWII? where's the sympathy for them??

  37. Fun fact Chinese Americans, Koreans Americans and South east Asians Americans are fully on board of this plan.

  38. When I went to Disney Land there's a ride were you would ride a plane thing and there was a Japanese grandfather with a blank face when he was riding. it was so sad he had that 100 yard stare

  39. Buzzfeed still milking that victim card I see. I don’t like these videos . There are just flexing oh my parents were in a American camp was it worse than the Soviet gulags no, were they like the death camps in Germany no so stop this bs . Also most of all the Germans didn’t know what was happening in those camps the public didn’t know it was a camp for only Jew’s they thought it was salvation for murders and thieves. They were blinded on what was going on those camps.

  40. How do these creators feel about the government now using former Japanese-American incarceration camps to house Latinx asylum seekers?

  41. It needed to happen ur whole buzzfeed thing might never have been created.Yes it's not good and ideal but it did need to happen you were feed good food had a place to live ect.Sure it could have been done better today or might not have had to happen.

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