Thursday, October 27, 2011

WWII Japanese-American Internees

Question: What can we learn from petitions written by interned Japanese American citizens during WWII?

Answer/Quote: “However successful or unsuccessful they may have been in changing the internees’ circumstances, these documents provide evidence for subsequent generations that their Issei forbears were neither passive nor afraid to raise their voices to argue for change in their lives. They contribute to the ‘written legacy’ of resistance desired by Mira Shimabukuro. When these petitions were viewed as historical and rhetorical documents, we can see that the internees in a sense put their lives on the line to make their political arguments. In doing so, they show that they somehow had maintained some belief in a system that had failed them. Perhaps that belief made them the supreme patriots and democrats: they had faith that the written word in America would somehow convey not only their views, but more important, their humanity.” P. 66.

Comment: The NCTE is apparently suggesting the study of writing for resistance. Several articles have featured the writing of indigenous people like the Cherokee, and now this article on the petitions  of Japanese -American internees during WWII. Interesting. RayS.

 Title: “Putting Their Lives on the Line: Personal Narrative as Political Discourse among Japanese Petitioners in American World War II Internment.” Gail Y Okawa. College English (September 2011), 50-68,

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