Yuichiro Onishi

Yuichiro Onishi is an associate professor of African American & African Studies and Asian American Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He is the author of Transpacific Antiracism: Twentieth-Century Afro-Asian Solidarity in Black America, Japan, and Okinawa (NYU Press, 2013).

Updated February 2015

war en

How to Remember the Wartime Japanese American Incarceration

Seventy-five years ago—on February 19, 1942—President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, a catalyst behind the forced removal and mass incarceration of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans. America was at war with Japan.

By the order of the president, Roosevelt delegated his authority to the secretary of war and military commanders to round up and detain all people of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast. These orders were applied to lawfully resident immigrants, commonly referred to as Issei, and their U.S.-born children, Nisei. Rendered as “enemy aliens,” they were sent to remote areas to ...

Read more

war en

Book Review: Looking Like the Enemy: Japanese Mexicans, the Mexican State, and US Hegemony, 1897-1945 by Jerry García

At the heart of Jerry García’s book is an analysis of the experience of Japanese Mexicans during World War II. The author estimates that on the eve of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the total number of Japanese immigrants and Japanese Mexicans was approximately 19,000, of which, more than two-thirds were Mexicans of Japanese ancestry.

After Mexico’s declaration of war in May 1942, their status became precarious. But their experience, García contends, was different from that of Japanese immigrants and their descendants in the United States, Canada, and Peru. The response of the Mexican ...

Read more