Barbara Takei

Barbara Takei is a Sansei from Sacramento, CA, who was raised in Detroit and attended Howard University, a historically Black college in Washington, D.C. Barbara Takei is CFO of the non-profit Tule Lake Committee. For the past decade she has researched and written about Tule Lake’s segregation history and served as an advocate and fundraiser for the Tule Lake concentration camp site.

Updated January 2012

identity en

Does Terminology Matter?

In recent years, the Nikkei community has engaged in a renewed discussion to reject the euphemistic and false terms the government used to minimize the unjust and inhumane nature of the Japanese American incarceration.

From 2009 through 2011, the Japanese American National Museum, the Manzanar Committee, the Tule Lake Committee, and UCLA’s George & Sakaye Aratani Chair in Japanese American Incarceration, Redress, and Community organized workshops and community-wide symposiums in Southern and Northern California to stimulate discussion and develop consensus over replacing inaccurate and euphemistic terms that describe the Japanese American experience.

In plenary sessions at the 2010, 2011, and ...

Read more

politics en

Speaking Up! Democracy, Justice, Dignity

Legalizing Detention: Segregated Japanese Americans and the Justice Department’s Renunciation Program - Part 9 of 9

Read Part 8 >> 

The government pursued a hard line, determined to challenge the bid of each renunciant who sought restoration of citizenship. In bleak contrast to Goodman’s decision to restore citizenship en masse, the DOJ began sorting renunciants into 22 categories of offenses it characterized as serious enough to deny restoration of citizenship.1 Collins wound up spending many years battling the negative administrative classifications the DOJ assigned to his thousands of individual clients.

Collins faced opposition not only from the DOJ, but from the National Office of the American Civil Liberties Union, headed by Roger Baldwin.2 In ...

Read more

politics en

Speaking Up! Democracy, Justice, Dignity

Legalizing Detention: Segregated Japanese Americans and the Justice Department’s Renunciation Program - Part 8 of 9

Read Part 7 >> 

Creating Alien Enemies 

Edward Ennis’ Deputy in the DOJ Alien Enemy Control Unit, John Burling, was the designated hearing officer for the renunciation hearings at Tule Lake. Burling said that the renunciation hearings would be a careful, deliberate process, making it difficult to renounce. Instead, the DOJ set up what amounted to a deportation mill, stripping Americans of their citizenship and providing the government with a legal fig-leaf that justified the individual detentions. Burling even recommended “accepting these applications on the spot, and holding the required interview at the same time.” In a December 23, 1944 memo ...

Read more

politics en

Speaking Up! Democracy, Justice, Dignity

Legalizing Detention: Segregated Japanese Americans and the Justice Department’s Renunciation Program - Part 7 of 9

Read Part 6 >> 

Why Did They Renounce? 

After its publication in 1946, The Spoilage remained for many decades the primary source on Tule Lake. This seminal work cited allegations of harassment by pro-Japan groups that led to the mass renunciations, using field notes written after the war ended, September 25, 1945 and December 19, 1945.1 Renunciants who sought to regain their U.S. citizenship from the Department of Justice recognized that the desired explanation for their renunciation was to blame the pro-Japan groups for pressure and coercion. Government records declassified in recent decades and interviews with renunciants, however, document ...

Read more

politics en

Speaking Up! Democracy, Justice, Dignity

Legalizing Detention: Segregated Japanese Americans and the Justice Department’s Renunciation Program - Part 6 of 9

Read Part 5 >> 

Stampede to Renounce 

Public Law 405, authored by U.S. Attorney General Francis Biddle, permitted American citizens to renounce their citizenship during time of war. Congress passed it and President Roosevelt signed it into law on July 1, 1944. This denationalization law was directed at the Japanese Americans in Tule Lake after widespread newspaper coverage of the November 1943 disturbances at Tule Lake led to “intensification of the idea that some law should be passed depriving these people of citizenship, and which would result in their ultimate deportation.”1

U.S. District Judge Louis Goodman would later ...

Read more