I Will Live Strong; New York Japanese American Experiences During World War II

Year: 1941

On December 7, I94I, the day that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, The New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia issued an order requiring that all the Japanese nationals remain at home until their status was determined. The FBI and other government agencies started to round up people of Japanese ancestry as ”enemy aliens”. By December I6, 277 Japanese ”enemy aliens” were detained on Ellis IsIand. At the time of the Attack on Pearl Harbor, between 2,500 and 3,000 people of Japanese ancestry including Nisei (U.S. Citizens, second generation Japanese Americans), were living in the New York City. By June I942, it had been reduced to just I750. Another detainee found out that he could not be legally detained because he was an American citizen and he wrote a letter to the Attorney General. However, what he received was an order to leave New York or else be sent to jail. Mayor LaGuardia, whose parents emigrated to the United States from Italy, regarded Japanese Americans as wholly untrustworthy. At the end of World War II, he celebrated the victory over Japan and sent his sympathy to the families who lost their sons. The author concluded the article with quoting a letter of a Japanese American mother who lost his only son in Europe during the war.

Source: Japanese American National Museum (JANM) Quarterly
Added Date: 03/15/2021