The Roundup

"I don't want any of them here. They are a dangerous element. It makes no difference whether he is an American citizen, he is still a Japanese. [W]e must worry about the Japanese all the time until he is wiped off the map."

–General John DeWitt, Commander of the Western Defense Command, April 13, 1943

The Masuda family, owners of the Wanto Grocery in Oakland, California, proclaimed that they were American, even as they were forced to sell their business before they were incarcerated in August 1942.
Dorothea Lange, Courtesy of National Archives

Executive Order 9066 authorized the military to establish a War Relocation Authority. Military officers moved neighborhood by neighborhood to remove Japanese Americans and resident Japanese from the West Coast, acting on 108 different military “exclusion” orders.

Military Exclusion Zones

Three months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Americans of Japanese ancestry and Japanese nationals living on the Pacific Coast and in southern Arizona were ordered to register and then report within a week to hastily designated temporary detention centers. They had only days to dispose of businesses, homes, cars, and pets—which they sold at rock-bottom prices, gave away, or left behind.

Anti-Japanese button, around 1942

Many Americans were convinced that Japanese and Japanese Americans living on the West Coast posed a threat to homeland security. In this 1942 cartoon, even the normally whimsical Dr. Seuss envisioned them stocking up on explosives while awaiting direction from Japan to unleash terrorist attacks.
Exclusion Order 69

Japanese Americans reading evacuation orders, Los Angeles, 1942
Courtesy of Library of Congress

Posting the Exclusion Order, Bainbridge Island, Washington, 1942
Courtesy of Museum of History and Industry, Seattle Post-Intelligencer Collection

"We must evacuate our homes and churches and be taken to strange places, and we will not know what will happen to us. . . . [O]urs is a strange exodus."

–The Reverend Lester Suzuki

Thirteen-year-old Harold Hayashi’s mother wrote this note to his teacher asking that he be excused from school so he can pack for forced removal and requesting his school records.


Because of the recent evacua-tion orders, we will have to leave Berkeley on May 1; therefore, I would like to have Harold Hayashi, adv. #205, leave school to help me pack from today.

I would also like to ask for a transfer for Harold  so he may enter a school  at the camp.

Harold Hayashi’s middle school picture, 1940

Japanese immigrant Seisaku Aoyagi, who had lived in Hawai’i 36 years before the war, was issued this alien registration card.