The House Select Committee Investigating National Defense Migration hearings were held in Seattle on February 28 and March 2, 1942.
House Select Committee Investigating National Defense Migration, National Defense Migration. Part 30: Portland and Seattle Hearings: Problems of Evacuation of Enemy Aliens and Others from Prohibited Military Zones, 77th Cong., 2nd sess., 2 March 1942.
Statment of J.F. Steiner, Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Washington, Seattle Wash
Mr. Arnold. Professor, will you state your name and capacity?
Dr. Steiner. J.F. Steiner, chairman, department of sociology, University of Washington.
Mr. Arnold. The committee has received your written statement, and it will go into the record at this point. Then I shall have a few questions that I want to ask of you.
Statement of J. F. Steiner, Ph.D., Department of Sociology, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash.
Proposed Evacuation of the Japanese from Western Washington
According to the 1940 census, the total number of Japanese in the State of Washington is 14,565. Of these, 8,882 are American-born and 5,683 foreign born. Nearly nine-tenths of our Japanese population live west of the Cascades. Only a few more than 1,500 live in the eastern part of the State, and three-fourths of these are concentrated in 2 counties, Yakima and Spokane. In the 5 counties in the general vicinity of the Grand Coulee and Bonneville Dams, there are less than 50 Japanese. Obviously the protection of these dams from sabotage by Japanese residing in that region should not be a difficult matter.
It is in the Puget Sound region that our Japanese population is chiefly found. In the 18 counties west of the Cascades, there are, according to the latest census reports, 12,983 Japanese, 7,907 American-born and 5,076 foreign-born. More than 90 percent of these are concentrated in 2 counties, King and Pierce. In the 5 Washington counties bordering the Pacific Ocean, there are only 150 Japanese, nearly two-thirds of whom are American-born. If it is thought undesirable for Japanese to be living in places where they could signal ships at sea, the removal of the small number residing in these Pacific coast counties would not be an extensive undertaking.
In the 6 counties north of King bordering both sides of the sound, there is no great concentration of Japanese; the total numbering slightly more than 500. The Japanese problem of the Puget Sound region is confined chiefly to King and Pierce Counties. King County alone is the home of 9,863 Japanese or three-fourths of all those living west of the Cascades. In Pierce County there are 2,050 Japanese. Moreover two-thirds of the Japanese population in these 2 counties are residents of Seattle and Tacoma. This high degree of concentration of the Japanese in these 2 counties and 2 cities simplifies the problem of their surveillance and is a factor to be kept in mind when consideration is being given to plans for their removal to other places.
Another factor to be kept in mind is the part these Japanese are playing in the economy of the region. One of their important contributions is in such specialized types of agriculture as the growing of vegetables, small fruits, and greenhouse products. About one-third, or 4,000, of the Japanese population of King and Pierce Counties are living outside Seattle and Tacoma and are presumably occupied for the most part in agriculture. According to the 1940 Census, there are 706 Japanese farm operators in Washington raising crops on farms which total more than 20,000 acres. On the assumption that 85 percent of these farms are in the Puget Sound region, there are in this vicinity approximately 600 farms covering 17,000 acres which provide gainful employment for a Japanese population of between three and four thousand. Since these farmers specialize in the production of small fruits and vegetables, a type of intensive agriculture in which our white population has not to any great extent engaged, their removal from these farms would create a serious labor problem and might result in a heavy financial loss to this region.
Because of race prejudice which has prevented the Japanese, both first and second generation, from having free access to all occupations, the urban Japanese do not play a highly important role in the economic life of our large cities. Data secured by the Northwest American Japanese Association in 1938 shows that the occupations which rank highest in importance among the Japanese in this city are retailing, clerking, unskilled labor, operating cleaning and laundry establishments, running hotels and restaurants, domestic service, operating bath houses and barber shops, and a comparatively small number engaged in the professions. But however limited their opportunities for employment, they have been self supporting and are sufficiently successful to send many of their children to colleges and universities. No doubt the sudden removal of 7,000 Japanese from Seattle would necessitate many adjustments in business and industry, but apart from the financial loss to the city, their places could be filled far more easily than would be possible in the case of the fruit and vegetable farmers.
While these economic factors are important, they must not be the sole consideration at a time when our country is at war. If our Japanese population in this area weakens our war effort and menaces our safety, then steps should be taken to bring about their evacuation. There is no doubt that during recent weeks there has been an increasingly widespread feeling that the Japanese should be removed from our Pacific coast region. Insofar as this is a demand that enemy aliens should be removed from areas adjacent to defense plants and military and naval establishments and required to live in regions where no sabotage is possible, all are agreed that this is advisable. But when this plan of evacuation is enlarged to include citizens as well as aliens on the ground that American-born Japanese are inherently disloyal to this country, we are starting in motion a dangerous mass movement growing out of war hysteria and differing little from the treatment of minorities by the totalitarian governments in Europe and Asia.
In my judgement, the policy to adopt in this emergency is that already carried on by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, viz, the investigation of those suspected of disloyalty and their internment when evidence indicates that their liberty should be restricted. Up to the present time, many of the most dangerous aliens have been taken into custody and sent out of this region. Others are still under close surveillance and if there is evidence of widespread anti-American activities, it would perhaps be wise to evacuate from this region all Japanese aliens except possibly those well advanced in years who live only for their American-born children and would do nothing to bring them into disrepute.
The position of the second generation Japanese is admittedly a difficult one, for in physical features they resemble their alien parents and have fallen heir to the old prejudice against Japanese immigrants. But they are American citizens and a way should be found to safeguard their rights and treat them with justice insofar as this is possible in a war emergency. The fact that some of them have been disloyal indicates the inappropriateness of accepting their citizenship status alone as satisfactory evidence of their attachment to America. On the other hand, the disloyalty of a few American-born Japanese should not brand with infamy all Americans of Japanese ancestry.
In our efforts to deal with this problem, progress can be made by dividing the second generation Japanese into two classes; first, those who are thoroughly Americanized and who identify themselves completely with American life; and second, those who through dual citizenship and long visits to Japan have tended to identify themselves with the Japanese Nation. Among the members of this latter class are found frequently the so-called "kibei," those who were born in this country but were sent to Japan in early childhood to be brought up by their grandparents and educated in Japanese schools and then returned to this country in later adolescence to get an American education. Since they have a good reading as well as speaking knowledge of the Japanese language, they were the ones who often found employment in Japanese exporting and importing firms in American cities and thus remained to a large extent under Japanese alien influence. It is not assumed, of course, that all "kibei" are more closely attached to Japan than to America, but it is this group that is likely to be most responsible for the widely prevalent feeling on the Pacific coast that all American-born Japanese are lacking in loyalty to America.
If in the judgement of those who are responsible for the defense of the Pacific coast, it becomes essential to remove enemy aliens from this region, it may be best to include in this evacuation order those of the second generation who have retained their dual citizenship and whose past associations indicate a sympathetic attitude toward the Japanese Nation. But in restricting the liberties of American citizens, each case should be judged upon its merits after proper investigation. The present emergency is not so immediate that we have no time to act justly. Through an orderly and systematic process of investigation, those whose presence in this region is undesirable can be determined and plans made for their removal to the interior.
If time permits, and there is no reason to expect the Japanese Navy to attack our Pacific coast in full force in the near future, the evacuation of enemy aliens should be carried out gradually as proper provision is made for them to be placed on a self-supporting basis elsewhere. A more careful investigation of the Japanese farmers in this region may reveal that they do no constitute a real danger to our defenses, and that under certain restrictions they may continue to produce the vegetable and fruit crops that are so much needed. Above all, whatever action may be taken, it should not spring either from race prejudice or war hysteria.
The ill-advised efforts on the part of certain people and organizations to bring about the dismissal of young second-generation Japanese from the jobs they have held are an untimely resurgence of race prejudice camouflaged under the guise of hatred of an enemy nation. At this critical time when everything should be done to keep up the morale of Americans of Japanese ancestry, there is being adopted a policy of discrimination that promotes the growth of resentment and despair. We need the help of the loyal second-generation citizens in dealing with those of their race who may be disloyal and dangerous. They stand ready to do their part, but they cannot act effectively in an atmosphere of suspicion and hostility. However difficult it may be to protect the rights of American citizens in solving this problem that now faces us, this is a duty from which we dare not shrink. The ultimate victory over our enemies will be hollow indeed if, in winning it, we have trampled under foot the principles of fair play and justice for which we have fought.
Testimony of J.F. Steiner--Resumed
Mr. Arnold. How many Japanese students are in attendance at the University of Washington, approximately?
Dr. Steiner. I don not know the exact number, but considerably over 100 at any one time.
Mr. Arnold. Do they tend to specialize in certain fields?
Dr. Steiner. I think that they do, because of the discrimination against them in employment. They, perhaps, might tend to go into business. They attend business colleges, and they hope they might prepare to go into some kind of business later. They have tended to go into engineering to a certain degree, but there the problem of employment later is too great.
Effect of Evacuation on Students
Mr. Arnold. What remarks would you care to make concerning the effect of evacuation on the students?
Dr. Steiner. Well, I think if that were carried out, at this present time, it would work a great hardship upon them. If they could remain until the end of the present quarter, which closes the latter part of this month, then they would not lose the credits for this winter quarter. Some of them, of course, are planning to graduate in June. Some of them are seniors. If they cannot finish this last quarter and they must go elsewhere, and would enter another university, they would be required to spend 1 year's residence before they could get their degree. So, from that point of view, it would mean a hardship.
Mr. Arnold. But if they could finish the quarter by the last of March, it would--
Dr. Steiner (interposing). That would be some help, of course.
Mr. Arnold. I notice in your statement this remark, and I quote: The disloyalty of a few American-born Japanese should not brand with infamy all Americans of Japanese ancestry.
From your experience, can you suggest any test by which the authorities could be sure that all disloyal American-Japanese were apprehended before they committed disloyal acts?
Dr. Steiner. I would think that that same question would need to be asked concerning all of us. That is, how do we know that I am loyal or that anyone else is loyal? How would we know that the Germans, the first generation of Germans or the second generation of Germans, are loyal? We must know it from their actions, by the company they keep, the organizations to which they belong. As far as the Japanese are concerned, I would think it would be less difficult, for they are more segregated, they are more visible, they cannot hide away or have secret meetings as easily as could Germans or Italians. I see no great difficulty. It would mean a great deal of work, of course, to examine all those people and try to put them in two classes--those who are loyal and those who are not.
Mr. Arnold. It has been suggested to this committee that the older Japanese aliens are not as dangerous to our security as are the American-born Japanese. The thought seems to be that the American-born have never experienced the low living standards of Japan, and yet have never been fully accepted in this country. Consequently, they are more apt to harbor resentment. What is your reaction to that line of thought?
Two Classes of Second-Generation Japanese
Dr. Steiner. I think that as far as the second generation are concerned, the American-born Japanese, we must put them into two classes: Those who are born here, educated in our schools, have had white American playmates, have never visited Japan. Even though they have attended Japanese-language schools here, they, perhaps, have an inadequate knowledge of the language--certainly, know English far better. Now, those persons are essentially Americans. There are others who, early in life, maybe 2 or 3 years of age, were sent back to Japan and lived with their grandparents, went through elementary school, and perhaps through middle school, and then at later adolescence returned to America, here went to high school, perhaps to college.
Now, I would think that Japanese of that class might feel strongly disposed to sympathize with the Japanese Nation in its present crisis--not all of them, necessarily. I know some I am quite sure do not feel that way, but if I were in an office where I could investigate the second generation Japanese, I certainly would begin with those who had spent considerable time in Japan and who knew the language well. We forget that a majority of the American-born Japanese do not know the language well enough to live acceptably and without prejudice in the country of their ancestors.
Mr. Arnold. Perhaps you are in a better position to tell us about these Japanese schools than anyone we have had before our committee. Were they just schools for learning the Japanese language, or were they also taught loyalty to the Emperor of Japan? Do you know of your own knowledge?
Dr. Steiner. Well, I have seen some of the books, the readers that they use in their schools. They use essentially the same textbooks that would be used in Japan. It is much easier to get as teacher a person who has been educated in Japan, a person who is thoroughly conversant with the language and traditions of the people, and I fear that in some instances the schools have been under the direction of teachers who, perhaps were not as loyal to America as to Japan.
Mr. Arnold. They were sent over from Japan, weren't they?
Dr. Steiner. I don't know whether they were sent over. They, perhaps, came over here because they learned that they could get a position of this kind. I would not know whether they were agents of Japan.
Mr. Arnold. You would not know.
Dr. Steiner. I would not know that. But I do know that the American-born children have not attended these schools in a very happy frame of mind, as a rule. After all, it has been just one more school period, following the regular day school that they had to attend.
Mr. Arnold. It took away their opportunity for play?
Dr. Steiner. Yes, and from my association with the younger Japanese in this city, I am quite confident that they don't learn Japanese very well. If they are in a Japanese home where the parents insist that they keep up their Japanese, they may become very conversant with the language; otherwise, not.
Mr. Arnold. In your statement, you mentioned placing evacuated aliens on a self-supporting basis elsewhere. What suggestions have you as to where and how this could be done?
Dr. Steiner. I think that we must set up an authority which will have the full power to make whatever arrangements may be necessary to accomplish this. But I would think that, even though we had a very capable person or bureau responsible for this, it could not be done if there were a mass evacuation, thousands compelled to leave at the same time. I would think that, since there is no great need for haste, as far as invasion of this coast on a large scale is concerned, we might go at it a little more slowly.
Mr. Arnold. Right at that point, let me say that we had a witness here this morning. I didn't read it in the papers, but he said he did, where the highways in southern California were clogged with Japanese leaving that area, and I suppose that is because of that attack and the planes overhead and the black-outs that resulted in the death of four American citizens. You say there is no need for haste. Don't you think there might be need for haste?
No Need for Hasty Action
Dr. Steiner. There might be need for haste--there might be a need for going at it more rapidly in Los Angeles, a great center of population; but here where we have our Japanese, five or six thousand aliens, mostly in these two counties, King and Pierce, I think that we could go at this more slowly and accomplish this over a period of a couple of months. If that were done, I can see how these persons might be placed in industry or in remunerative employment elsewhere.
Mr. Arnold. Suppose an airplane carrier would come within 200 miles from this shore, and their planes would come over the Boeing Plant here and bomb the plant and pretty much put it out of commission. Do you think that would have any effect on the population?
Dr. Steiner. It certainly would; but it would be a sporadic raid, it couldn't be---
Mr. Arnold. You mean a sporadic raid like Pearl Harbor?
Dr. Steiner. I would hope we would be prepared for it, and I think that we are. There would be some confusion, there is no doubt; but I cannot see how our situation would be materially improved if we simply went ahead and got rid of all our Japanese, first and second generation, unless we took care of the Germans and Italians, also. Unless we did that, we still would have enemies, or potential enemies, in our midst. As to the second-generation Germans, we don't doubt their loyalty. Why should we doubt the loyalty of second-generation Japanese and those who have lived here in this country only and have not had any connection with Japan? Do we suppose that there is something in Japanese family life that prevents, to a great extent, persons from taking over the customs and traditions of the country?
Mr. Arnold. Of course, I was going to say that we understand from your statement that your interest and experience has been mainly with the Japanese?
Dr. Steiner. Yes.
Mr. Arnold. We realize that this is not wholly a Japanese problem. Would you care to make any further statement concerning the problem from the point of view of alien Germans and Italians?
Dr. Steiner. Well, as long as I hear of no emphasis upon the removal of German aliens and Italian aliens from the Atlantic coast, I do not see why we should try to remove them from the Pacific coast.
Mr. Arnold. Your statement reads, in part, as follows, and I quote:
We need the help of loyal second-generation citizens in dealing with those of their race who may be disloyal and dangerous.
Do you know how much help has been given by this group to date?
Dr. Steiner. As to the actual number, I do not know. And I suppose the JACL, the Japanese American Citizens League, would not be in a position to divulge this information. But I have confidence in them, that they are willing to work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in order to determine those who are disloyal. I think that we have a mistaken idea of the cohesion of the Japanese, as I have heard it said that in Hawaii, that since the Japanese voters out-numbered all the rest, they will always be able to vote into positions of power their own people. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that they tend to divide their votes just like other Americans do, and just because a person is of Japanese ancestry, would that mean that he would not be willing to inform against them? I certainly would be willing to inform against a native American whom I found to be disloyal.
Mr. Arnold. Would you be surprised if I would tell you that the head of the F.B.I here has said that only one or two cases were reported to them of disloyalty by the Japanese? Would you be surprised?
Dr. Steiner. Yes; I would be surprised.
Mr. Arnold. To what extent do you think the second-generation citizen could and would give information on dangerous aliens?
Dr. Steiner. They are in a position, I think, to know the facts. After all, they are a pretty closely knit community; they live not far apart; they are acquainted with one another. It is just a matter of whether they would be willing to do so. That, of course, is a matter of opinion. All I have to go on is that they state that they would. When a man like Mr. Sakamoto assures me that they are working on this, I would feel that we have a right to believe him.
Mr. Arnold. But you would believe the head of the F.B.I., perhaps, over and above any others?
Dr. Steiner. Yes; if that is a fact, certainly, I would accept it.
Mr. Bender. Doctor, just one question: What percentage of the population here in the State of Washington shares your views; that is, have the same attitude that you have in connection with this problem?
Dr. Steiner. That, of course, cannot be answered specifically.
Mr. Bender. Have you any idea, just a rough guess?
Dr. Steiner. I feel quite strongly that the prejudice against the Japanese is much less in the State of Washington than it is in California; and that prior to this trouble that has arisen, the general feeling here was that our Japanese population were an asset to these States, and that there was no feeling that we should get rid of them. Now, I think that those who insist upon mass migration--evacuation of Japanese, entirely, first and second generations, would comprise, perhaps, half of our population; maybe not half. I think they are more inclined to speak out and make themselves heard than those who perhaps would be willing to take a chance on the Japanese. But, of course, that is just a mere matter of judgement.
Mr. Bender. You mentioned mass evacuation. What would be the attitude of the Japanese here in the event that such an order as you suggest would be issued?
Dr. Steiner. I think that the Japanese, both first and second generations, would accept it as they would accept any other orders that would come from the Federal Government. I think it would embitter them to a certain degree; they couldn't help but have some feeling of resentment. If I were a loyal member of this Nation and would like to do something for it, and would not be permitted to do so, I would feel very badly about it, and I think those that are loyal would feel the same way.
But I am quite sure that they are not going to resist any such order, however it might be carried out.
Mr. Arnold. Thank you very much, Professor Steiner. We appreciate your testimony.
Statement by Curtis Aller, senior in economics and business, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash. [p. 11590]
Alien Evacuation from the Seattle Area
I wish to testify to this committee in an unofficial capacity and merely as an individual student speaking for an informal group of students who feel that Japanese students should be allowed to continue their studies at the University of Washington and not be evacuated from the area. There are over 250 Japanese-Americans, 70 of them girls, who are at present studying at the university so as to prepare themselves to become useful American citizens. I know many of these students personally, am pleased to count some of them as my intimate friends, have gone to school with them, studied with them, participated in student activities with them, gone to the same parties, and visited their homes and so I feel at least partially qualified to speak in their behalf.
What are the Nisei students like? I am convinced that the majority of university students will agree with me when I say that the answer can be given in just one word--American. Aside from superficial differences of skin color, you would be unable to tell them from the average American college student. They dress the same, talk the same, and most importantly they think and believe the same. Most of the girls are members of Fuyo Kai and the boys are members of the Japanese Students Club and at the start of the war both of these organizations pledged their unqualified support of [the] American war effort. They are loyal and intend to remain loyal and also intend to do everything in their power to prevent subversive activities in Japanese communities. This I think is a valuable contribution that we must not overlook because these students, the young American leaders of their communities, can quite possibly do more than perhaps some governmental secret servce agencies in weeding out Japanese spies and saboteurs. Many others like Frank (sic) Sussuki of Brooklyn Coop have been drafted and have gone willingly to serve their country. Those that remain have been torn as have other college students by the internal conflict of whether to enlist or whether they could serve their country better by finishing their education. Those that remain at their studies are loyal and are willing to prove their loyalty by combating subversive activities and cooperating with the war effort as the Fuyo Kai girls are doing now in connection with Red Cross work. They are willing to do this because in growing up with us, going to our schools they have become thoroughly Americanized. We have taught them and they have believed us that American democracy is worth living under and fighting for. We have told them that we are tolerant of minority races and peoples and that every individual has an equal opportunity and they have believed us.
But I urge this committee to consider if we can even remotely demand or expect that these American citizens will remain loyal if instead of tolerance, we give them intolerance, mass hysteria and blanket condemnation? Can we ask them to believe in democracy if democracy does not believe in them? Our institutions, beliefs and platitudes are being tested today and the harvest that we reap will be of our own sowing. Do we want to continue to graduate from the university each year young Japanese-Americans who, I remind you, as the future leaders of Japanese communitites will love and respect American democracy? Or, do we want to destroy their confidence and respect in us by forcing them to evacuate to areas where they are not known, have no friends, and are likely to be misunderstood? I earnestly urge that Japanese students be allowed to continue their education here at the university where they are known and have many friends, that they be allowed to prove their loyalty by being given the opportunity to participate in the war effort and above all that their belief in America and democracy shall not be destroyed at a time when this belief is being put to its first real test.
Statement by Miss Hildur Coon, Senior, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash. [p. 11590-11591]
Alien Evacuation from the Seattle Area
As a student of the University of Washington I wish to say a few words on behalf of the alien students on our campus. Through the International Club, campus committee work, and classes I have come to know many of them very well, and wish to point out how pro-American they are. It has been said that these people are as dangerous to our country as if they had grown up in Japan. I do not believe this to be true, for they have learned our way of life and have grown up thinking of America as their country. They have learned our mores, often teaching their parents, our traditions and customs. Even those who have visited Japan, just as many of us have visited the homes of our ancestors in England or Norway, have returned saying they could not agree with the Japanese philosophy of life, and were proud that America was their country.
These students who have grown up loving America, unless ruthlessly treated, so that their ideals and faiths are considerably shaken, are not likely to change a life-time philosophy in the course of a few months. They are the first generation of Japanese-Americans born in this area, and the first really to learn our customs and language. They have learned more in school than book knowledge; they have learned the American way of doing things, and have taken it back to their parents. This assimilation process has been taking place for 20 years, and the new generation--the third-generation Japanese-Americans--is just beginning in the Seattle area. Must we spoil that long process now by prejudice and isolation? If they are not among us, and do not feel that we want them with us and trust them, are they not being put to a sorer task than ever?
The intellectuals and the educated are the ones who will lead the rest of their people; help rehabilitate them if they must move; help them keep to the American way of life wherever they are. They are the ones who must be prepared to help us plan a just world when this war is over. Thus we students hope that we can allow those who believe in Americanism and its traditions, and who have proved themselves loyal, to continue their education.
Testimony of Miss Hildur Coon, 4706 Twentieth Avenue, Northeast Seattle, and Curtis Aller, 5012 Twenty-Second Avenue, Northeast Seattle [p. 11591-11595]
Mr. Arnold. Now, speak up, if you will, for about 5 minutes.
Miss Coon. I would like to speak up for the Japanese students on the campus, and also for the German students on the campus. For the past 4 years, and also in high school, I have known them and worked with them. I think they are as loyal and certainly as good a part of our student body as any of the first generation from other countries.
The Fuyo Kai, which is a Japanese sorority on the campus, sent a telegram to the President immediately on the outbreak of the war, stating their wish to be loyal to this country. Other campus organizations, such as the Japanese Student Club, the Japanese mens' club, did a similar thing. And in each case, they not only told the organizations on the campus, but then sent back to the officials in Washington, their statement of loyalty.
Japanese Children Americanize Parents
Also, it has been brought up that they have gone to the Japanse schools after their school here. They were asked to learn the language, but as Professor Steiner could have testified, very few of them, I think can speak Japanese. No students that I know can speak Japanese. They have done a great deal in Americanizing their families, as to our customs. They are really the first generation here. Their parents, many of them were Japanese citizens and were considered as such. They have been the ones who have brought the customs and language to their parents and have helped Americanize them. If we now isolate them again, they are going to lose, in that they will not have the continual contact with us. I feel that we would lose more that way than we would be keeping them with us. The majority of them are very loyal.
Then, also, it has been said that many of them have gone abroad to Japan. Many of us have returned to the homes of our ancestors in Norway and England and France. Certainly I don't feel that we would be indoctrinated by such a visit, and I don't think that they have been.
Then, as to the German students, all of them have left Germany because they were persecuted by Hitler. We have seen terrible things happen there. Certainly they would be the best enemies of Hitler and to evacuate them would be unfair when they have traveled as far as they could from Hitler and his methods.
Also, many of them are very much older, and they would have to start again. This becomes very discouraging when again and again and again, as you get older, you have to begin your business over. The young Germans are anxious to do what they can to cooperate; but they feel that with their parents, many of whom are 55 or 60 or even 80, it would be too great a hardship on them, and a hardship which isn't really necessary.
Mr. Bender. You are talking about the Germans here, are you?
Miss Coon. Yes. I am talking about the German aliens here. Many of them are students on the campus. I know eight or nine of them.
Mr. Aller. If I may say just a few words here, I would like to break into Hildur's conversation. I want to testify, as Hildur has done, for the Japanese students, the Nisei at the University of Washington. There are about 250 of them going to school there this quarter, and I feel that I am at least partially qualified to speak fo them, because I have grown up with them. I came from the Yakima Valley where there are quite a few Japanese. I have gone to school with them. I have gone to the same parties with them. I have lived with them at the university in my own organization, the Student Cooperative, and I have visited their homes, so I feel that I am at least partially qualified to speak for them.
Americanism of Japanese Students
I suppose that this committee is primarily interested in finding out what these young Japanese-American students are like. I am convinced that the majority of the university students will agree with me when I say that they are Americans. That one word gives the answer to the question of what these young Japanese-Americans are like. They are American. Aside from superficial skin differences, color differences, they dress the same as we do; talk the same as we do; have the same standards of living as we do, despite what has been said in previous testimony; and, more important than that, they think and believe the same as we do. In other words, throughout the years, in going to the same schools with us and growing up with us and living with us, they have become thoroughly Americanized, until they think and believe the same way that we do. At the beginning, the outbreak of this war, both of these organizations, the Fuyo Kai, which the Japanese girls belong to, and the Japanese Student Club, composed of the Japanese boys, pledged their unqualified support to the United States war effort, and I would like to read for this committee a pledge that the Japanese Students' Club has in their house.
Now this is not the actual wording of the pledge, but it is as close as I can remember it.
Be it resolved, That the policy of the J.S.C. is as follows: We, the members of the Japanese Student Club, pledge full support to the President and the Nation toward the defense of our country and toward a successful prosecution of the war. We are in full support and in accordance with the resolution passed by the National Japanese-American Citizens League and presented to the President.
Now, I would like to testify that these Japanese-American students are willing to take this attitude because they are thoroughly Americanized. Through the years, we have told them that our country is based upon a policy of tolerance for minority races of giving every individual his opportunity on the basis of his ability, and they have believed us.
We have told them, and they have believed us, that the American democracy is worth living under, and worth fighting for, and for that reason they have pledged their unqualified support to the United States, and I would like to urge this committee to allow the Japanese-American students to remain at the University of Washington to allow this process of Americanization to go on. I question whether we can even remotely expect or ask these Japanese-Americans to remain loyal to this country, if, instead of tolerance, we give them intolerance and mass hysteria.
And I feel that if you are going to have this policy of Americanization, that we have been working on for the past 20 or 25 years, continue and bear fruit, you are going to have to allow it to go through its first real test of allowing the Japanese-Americans the full equality of participation in American defense and war effort.
Mr. Bender. Do you think that it is fair to take a young man out of the home when his country is at war? Do you think it is fair to him to suspend all these benefits that we Americans have enjoyed because our county is at war with---
Mr. Aller (interposing). I suppose you are referring to the draft there?
Mr. Bender. Yes; I am referring to the draft.
Drafting of Japanese-American Youth
Mr. Aller. Well, I think that regardless of considerations of fairness or not, that is the only way that you can fight a war, by drafting your Army. I would suggest here that you have taken about 7,500 young Japanese-Americans into the Army. Most of them have gone willingly. Many of them, like Frank Suzuki, from Brooklyn Co-op out at the university, have gone to fight for this country. They have gone willlingly, just as willing as any of the rest of the college students have gone; and those that remain have been torn by more or less of an internal conflict of whether to enlist in the armed forces of this country, or whether they could best serve their country by remaining and finishing their education so that they could go out and be real American leaders in their Japanese communities.
Miss Coon. I would also like to add that some of them have tried to enlist, and have been rejected. I would also like to say that regardless of what is done, they are going to cooperate. Many of them have said to us that, regardless of what happens, they want to help our Government, because they feel a loyalty toward it.
Mr. Bender. Irrespective of what action is taken?
Miss Coon. Irrespective of what action is taken.
Mr. Bender. They realize, of course, that it isn't done with the idea of hurting anyone; but because that in a war effort, in an emergency, these things of necessity occur.
Miss Coon. They feel two things: (1) That the older people probably cannot do anything harmful--here I am speaking of the aged and they should be allowed to remain, and; (2) the people that study at the university and those of them that are better educated will be the better leaders and will be the ones that will help rehabilitate them after the war, and they should be allowed to continue their learning for that reason.
Mr. Curtis. Do you think these people are, for the most part, very loyal?
Miss Coon. Yes, I do.
Mr. Aller. Unqualifiedly so.
Mr. Curtis. Now, suppose the Government of the United States comes to the conclusion that for military purposes and for the public safety, they should be moved. These people then that are loyal will receive it in a cooperative attitude and will comply with the request to move, will they?
Miss Coon. For military actions I can state "Yes," but for public safety, I cannot see why we should be safe from them any more than the people inland; that is, I feel that if they are dangerous, they would be no more dangerous to us than they would be to those people.
Mr. Curtis. You think, then, that they will question the decision.
Miss Coon. No, I don't think, the people will.
Mr. Curtis. I am talking about the Japanese. Will they question the wisdom of the decision, or will they comply with it?
Miss Coon. They will comply with it.
Mr. Aller. They will comply with it, but I think that you can conclude that, personally at least, they will feel that that is an erroneous conclusion, because throughout the years they have tried to remain loyal to this country. They have done everything possible, and they are just as much Americans as anybody--as any studets that we will find out there.
Of course, they will comply, because, after all, that is a part of their being American citizens.
Mr. Curtis. But many things will have to be done in war that cannot be construed as an individual indictment of every person involved.
Mr. Aller. That is true.
Mr. Curtis.And that they will try to grasp that viewpoint?
Mr. Aller. That is right.
Mr. Bender. You have heard the testimony of these good people from Yakima?
Mr. Aller.Yes, I am from Yakima, too.
Miss Coon. Yes.
Mr. Bender. I happen to come from an industrial community that recently had orders that many of the plants had to close down, which threw thousands of people out of work, because the Government ordered the automotive industry stopped, and they are waiting to be reemployed in some defensive activity. You can appreciate that during wartime these inconveniences will occur and reoccur?
Mr. Aller. That is true.
Mr. Bender. And this committee is here, along with other Government agencies, endeavoring to handle this matter as best we can, without discommoding or without creating a situation that will cause great hardship.
Miss Coon. We understand that, and we were urging that we have no evacuation unless it is necessary militarily. If it is necessary, we wanted to back up Dr. Jensen's statement that social workers and people that are qualified to know how to handle it be the ones that do it, and that it may be done as humanely as possible. That we want it done in an American way, and not in Hitler's way.
Mr. Aller. I aslo want to personally say that I am very happy that the United States Government has taken such a far-sighted policy in trying to make this evacuation, if it comes, as easy as possible, and not hurt so many people in an unnecessary way.
Mr. Arnold. Thank you very much for you appearance. [Applause.]
Now, before this committee closes its hearings, I want to say that we appreciate the attitude of all the people of Seattle, and of this area. Your conduct has been splendid.
There has been no disturbance of any kind, and many other interested persons have requested that they be heard in these proceedings. Unfortunately, the committee is unable to hear all people wishing to testify. However, we are anxious to have all points of view expressed. Our records will be open for a few days, and material for consideration may be submitted to our Seattle office, I should say by mail, addressed to the Tolan Committee, Henry Building, Seattle, and after they leave, mail will be forwarded on to Washington, and our records will be open for at least 10 days.
Of course, your statements should be as concise as is possible. Give us the meat of the situation.
Again we wish to express our consideration of the courtesy and the treatment we have received here, and I believe you will agree that in no other country, perhaps, that is at war, would a committee from the legislative body come out to the people and receive their ideas and make them a part of the record--which will be a permanent record of the Congress. We wish to thank all those who participated and helped out with this record.
(Whereupon, at 3:20 p.m., March 2, 1942, hearing closed.)
Exhibit 3--Statement by Robert W. O'Brien, Assistant to the Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Washington [p. 11598-11599]
(This report is made as an individual at the request of those interested in the problem as it relates to the college Nisei)
To testify before the Tolan committee on the problem of the college Nisei is both a responsibility and an obligation, as a number of important issues in national morale are involved in making decisions regarding evacuation.
Although my training in the last 12 years has been in the area of sociology concerned with minorities and their assimilation and usefulness to the total American pattern (1), my knowledge of the local Japanese-American community is limited to 3 years. During this time I have come in contact with second generation Nisei at the University of Washington as assistant to the dean and as advisor to the Japanese Students' Club.
In coming to the Pacific Northwest from California, I have noticed a marked difference as to the role of the Japanese in the total American community. On three aspects of this new idea I would like to comment.
Integration of the Nisei into the American Pattern
The second generation Japanese have made a good adjustment to the educational institutions in this area. At the University of Washington alone there are over 400 students from this group, and there are some 20 Nisei in the employ of the university. One, a veteran of the first World War, is an assistant professor; another is an instructor in nursing; one each are associates in Far Eastern studies and sociology; five others are teaching fellows; and the rest hold research and clerical positions. Students of Japanese ancestry hold offices in student organizations, and represent the university in athletic and nonathletic competition.
This opportunity to participate fully in campus life has resulted in the development of close ties between students of Japanese parentage and other undergraduates. When the Seattle public schools recently considered accepting the resignations of their Nisei employees, over a thousand university students of white parentage petitioned the board on behalf of the Americans of Japanese ancestry.
So integrated are many of the campus Nisei that they refuse to celebrate Japanese victories over China, and in a few cases American-Japanese even joined the boycott against shipping war supplies to Japan 2 years ago. There have been some incidents reported of Nisei turning in the names of their parents because they weren't actively loyal to the United States. American standards and the American way of life is so strong that a number of Nisei who have visited Japan were unwilling to stay there long.
Occupational Variability of the Nisei
Although many Nisei live on farms, and are well adapted to truck gardening, the large body of Japanese in Seattle are more experienced in other types of work. I believe that there would be a great loss in production if they were forced into farm labor. Details as to the occupational characteristics of the group will appear in later releases of the United States Census Bureau. At the University of Washington the Nisei major in a wide variety of subjects.1 This past year the Japanese Students Club was 1 of 6 out of a total of 40 men's groups to be awarded a scholarship prize by the dean of men's office by high scholastic achievement. These students are both able and versatile in their interests.
There is real merit in the suggestion that this ablity be channelized for the greatest production for defense.
Patriotism and Loyalty of the Nisei
Objective standards for measuring loyalty are virtually impossible to set up. However, there are a number of overt reactions of the Nisei at the University of Washington which can be recorded. As the official in charge of recommending draft deferment in the college of arts and science, I have had the opportunity to interview hundreds of men regarding Selective Service. Last spring (before Pearl Harbor) I had noticed that practically none of the Americans of Japanese ancestry asked either for deferment or "special" jobs. After the treacherous attack on Hawaii, over a dozen Nisei called in my office to find out how to volunteer to fight for the United States. In checking over the recent members of the Japanese Students Club, I find 83 who have either volunteered or are serving under Selective Service in the American Army. (See list below.)
Other evidence that would tend to point to the loyalty of the Nisei are: The purchase of $125 worth of Defense Bonds by the men, and the contract by the women to buy $150 worth of Defense Stamps per college year; the fact that 1 Nisei girl in 5 in the university is in first aid classes with the Red Cross.
I feel that the educational institutions have done a good job in building the loyalty of Americans of Japanese ancestry by giving them a chance to participate in school and college life.
- That we do not have mass evacuation of American-born Japanese, but that we trust our security to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Military Intelligence. Any evacuation of citizens should be selective.
- That we favorably consider the Steiner plan for evacuation of the enemy aliens from only selected defense areas and selected coast counties.
- That if general evacuation is ordered by the Army, we carry out an intelligent plan of resettlement so as to use all the productive ability of the Nisei as an asset in the defense of their country and ours.
- That the United States Employment Service and the Federal Security Administration organizations be used to assist in working out a program.
- That should evacuation take place, Federal funds for college student relocation in other areas be provided.
Partial List of Japanese Students Club Members and Alumni Who Have Either Volunteered or Have Joined the Army Under Selective Service, March 1, 1942
Shigeru (sic) Moncodi
(sic) Sexi Noro
Hirochi (sic) Sawda
1 Preference by numbers applying for specific courses are as follows: Economics and business, 71; engineering, 57; pharmacy, 24; chemistry, 22; premedical, 21; home economics, 20; premajors, 16; nursing, 14; sociology, 14; general studies, 11; oriental studies, 9; Law and prelaw, 8; English, 7; political sciences, 7; architecture, 6; music, 5; bacteriology, 5; fisheries, 4; advertising, 4; mining, 4; language, 4; physics, 4; pre-education, 4; art, 3; journalism, 2; botany, 2; library, 2; forestry, 2; history, 1; mathematics, 1.