posts de décembre 2016

Life in the relocation center


During World War II, people of Japanese descent were incarcerated in the Relocation Center under the executive order of President Franklin Roosevelt. Residents were at the camp from 1942 to 1945, two months after the end of the war with Japan.

So that you understood better, I am going to present you the interview of George Takei:

Indeed, American soldiers came to the front door of their house to order them out. His mother crying and he will nerver forget. Thus, George was born and raised in L.A and simply because they happened to look like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor they were deported. The « relocation center » sounds very inocuous but there were machine guns, armed soldiers, barbed wire.. It was a big euphemism. It was a dark chapter in America story.


Furthermore, I am going to present you another Roger’s picture which is called American Infamy published in 2008.There is yellow or beige because the scene take place in a deserted landscape and because there isn’t life and the desert is sterile. After, we can see a white cloudy to represent the weather or the smoke created by the machine guns and the red sky could be the violence of the war. Try to imagine two guards in uniforme are constant watch on seattered families in the camp. The guards domineering the families. So, we can see barracks and the camp is fenced by barbed wire for nobody goes out. To finish, we can see a relocation center through a window and behind the guards, maybe because we are pure and simply spectators.

Pearl Harbor

pearl-harbor_0On december 7th 1941, the American naval base of Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese. The day after the bombardment, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan and Congress approved. Three days later, Japanese allies Germany and Italy also declared war on the United States, and again Congress reciprocated. More than two years into the conflict, America had finally joined World War II.

So that you understood better, I am going to present you an interview.

In this recording, we can hear a man with his daugther who speak about the attack of Pearl Harbor. The girl she can’t locate Pearl Harbor, indeed she doesn’t know because she is very young and she doesn’t know much about geography. She feels unconcerned about this attack but her parents aren’t Americans citizen yet, so, her father feels threatened and he anticipated trouble. He is worried and he feels they might be detained or even sent back to Japan. But, after speaking with his schoolteacher, she changes her mind. She feelts aware of her Japanese origins, she feelts threatened and nervous.

Roger Shimomura

Roger Shimomura is an American artist. He painted a lot of paints like « Remember Pearl Harbour » and « Not Pearl Harbour » in 2003


On the first paint, we can see an elderly American woman and a younger Japanese pilot. He has got yellow skin and slanting eyes. Indeed, the Japanese soldier is domineering thus threatening both the old lady and the viewer. The woman felt threatened and she’s looking upward. There is a contrast between the yellow and the dark to show the opposition with the good and the evil. The artist’s goal is to show the atmosphere at the time in the USA and to denounce the way Americans viewed the Japanese people as dangerous people.


On the second paint, there are Asians faces with enormous teeth, an exaggerated large smile, slanting and mean looking eyes. The artist illustrates in a comic-book style. The airplanes refer to World War II and the attack on Pearl Harbour. We can think that the artist wanted to bind this paint to the attack on the World Trade centre Twin Towers on September 11th, 2001 because the 3 characters look like Arabs. It is nevertheless necessary to understand that Roger is an artist who wants to cause and to make laugh in order to say something concrete.



Angel Island

From 1910-1940, Chinese immigrants were detained and interrogated at Angel Island immigration station in San Francisco Bay. U.S.  Men and women were separately and spent much of their time in the barracks. The immigrants expressed their fears through messages and poems written. Some immigrants were detained during years. Angel Island can be compared to Ellis Island. Both immigration stations were meant to regulate migratory flows towards America. The immigrants could be viewed with suspicion by some Americans. The immigrants were afraid of staying for a long time on this island or of being deported to their country.

For example: Don Lee narrates the Asian immigration in the USA in 1910 at 1940 during an interview for a radio report. Indeed, he relates hi arrival on Angel Island. He narrates his experience when he was 11 years old, when he left to join his father in America. Over these years, 1 million immigrants from 90 different countries went through a difficult ordeal. Eventually, he landed in Angel Island.

Historic photo of im mmigrants on Angel Island Pier


The history of the Chinatown community


This mural was co-designed with artist Wen-ti Tsen, David Fichter and painted with many community and artist volunteers.

his mural is not only beautiful, but there is also a very interesting story to it. The path of the cloth from the top to the bottom of the mural traces out the progress made by immigrant women in Boston Chinatown. Wen-ti Tsen, David Fichter wanted to represent the different Chinese jobs result to their immigration.


At the end of the 19th century, a lot of Chinese  decided to run away from their country’s crysis. The life in china is very difficult at the time, because of the economic hardships. This people was in search of the American dream: going to the US and find jobs, find gold, becoming rich and being happy. They expected to become wealthy and they idealized life there. But when they arrived in America, they were accepted any kind of back-breaking job to survive. Europeans and white Americans looked down on Chinese. The 1882 Exclusion Act prevented them from owning land or marrying white people, or reuniting with their families in China. They were considered dangerous and different, often referred to as “yellow peril”.

What you need to know

An Asian-American is an American of Asian descent. It’s a person of Asian ancestry or has immigrated. This term emerged in the 1960s to replace the term « Orientral » considered pejorative.




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