Japanese American Students Union commemorates 80th anniversary of Japanese internment camps in the US

In conjunction with the AACC, the Japanese American Students Union hosted a discussion with Japanese American creator and illustrator Kiku Hughes to commemorate the anniversary of the establishment of Japanese internment camps in the United States.

Yeji Kim

12:04 am, Feb 22, 2022

Team Reporter

Courtesy of Dean Joliana Yee

A working day right before the 80th anniversary of the establishment of Japanese internment camps in the United States, the Japanese American College students Union at Yale, along with the Asian American Cultural Centre, hosted a visitor speaker celebration to replicate on the three yr period of internment.

On Feb. 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into regulation Govt Order 9066, which licensed the navy to displace and imprison Japanese Us citizens, the majority of whom were being U.S. citizens, in internment camps. To commemorate the 80th anniversary, the Japanese American Pupils Union held an celebration with Japanese American graphic novelist Kiku Hughes, who authored the graphic novel “Displacement”, which discusses Japanese American id as well as the legacy of internment.

“[This event] is not just for Japanese People to recall individuals they have shed, but for us as Asian People and even just individuals of colour or even white individuals to just really don’t forget that this has transpired right before,” stated Joliana Yee, director of the Asian American Cultural Centre. “If we’re not cautious, it can extremely very easily occur once more.” 

All through the event, Hughes spoke about her graphic novel as perfectly as her encounters expanding up as a Japanese American and how that has motivated how she views her cultural identification today. 

“Displacement” is centered about Hughes’ own lifestyle. The most important character, Kiku, finds herself transported from the present-day to the 1940s in a Japanese American internment camp, Topaz. Topaz is the exact same camp that Kiku’s grandmother in the novel and Hughes’ grandmother in actual life ended up pressured to go to.

For the duration of the function, Hughes explained that time vacation was made use of in the novel to showcase the intergenerational effects of trauma. She also spoke about staying fifty percent-white and how that influenced her identity developing up.

“There’s not one type of Japanese American,” said Dean Centa ’24, co-president of the Japanese American Students Union. “I feel we preferred to use Japanese American heritage and tie it to all the present-day problems.”

Centa explained some of these existing-working day troubles include things like fear-mongering and race-baiting.

Erin Nishi ’25, neighborhood and media chair of the Union, said that the event was exceptionally emotional for her. 

“All these items were racing by way of my mind — currently being thrust into a new location away from household, getting away from my household, remembering my family’s background in internment camps, and wanting to know if other folks in the area understood that heritage at all,” Nishi mentioned. “I could barely relaxed myself down during the complete event.”

She claimed that she has located “community” and “family” in the Japanese American Pupils Union, as she feels like she belongs and the members are generally there to support her. The party was hugely personal to Nishi, as her excellent-grandparents lost their only son thanks to the residing problems of the Santa Anita racetrack, a person of the internment camps. 

Yee concluded the function by discussing the Satoda Scholars Plan. This system awards a $500 analysis grant for an initial analysis venture relating to Japanese American incarceration heritage and was established in 2017 by Yonekazu Satoda, who was interned in one of the camps. Satoda handed away in 2017, but his legacy carries on with this system. 

About 1,862 Japanese Americans are recorded to have died in internment camps. 


Yeji Kim covers the AACC, La Casa and NACC. At first from Ohio, she is a first-yr in Berkeley College majoring in ethics, politics and economics and East Asian Reports.

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