Stripped of Their Rights, Injustices Unsettled: Japanese Latin

Stripped of Their Rights, Injustices Unsettled: Japanese Latin Americans Kidnapped and
Interned During World War II
Lisa E. Tanaka
Mentor: Professor Dorothy Fujita-Rony
During World War II, the United States government kidnapped 2,264 men, women, and
children of Japanese ancestry from Latin America. The Japanese Latin Americans were
placed into U.S. internment camps, for the purpose of exchanging them for American
soldiers (POWs) trapped in Japan. After the war, the Japanese Latin Americans did not
receive a thorough apology from the U.S. government and only were given a meager
$5,000 compensation. While Japanese Americans successfully fought for redress for their
experience during World War II, the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund had minimal
funds and many Japanese Latin Americans are still fighting for redress. My project
analyzes Japanese Latin American migration from Japan to Peru, incarceration and postWorld War II life, the role of the U.S. government, civil and human rights, national
identity and U.S. citizenship, and gender and generation. In particular, I focus on the life
of activist Grace Shimizu, the director of the Japanese Peruvian Oral History Project and
a leader in the “ampaign for Justice,” which fights for the rights and redress of the
Japanese Latin Americans. Without the effort and hard work of activists such as Shimizu,
the fight for redress and compensation would not be feasible. My research on Shimizu
documents her Japanese Peruvian family history, her life as an activist, the significance
of establishing the Japanese Peruvian Oral History project and the Campaign for Justice,
and the importance of understanding that mistakes throughout history should never be