Archival Science

, Volume 11, Issue 1–2, pp 25–46 | Cite as

“No longer a silent victim of history:” repurposing the documents of Japanese American internment

  • Emiko HastingsEmail author
Original paper


During World War II, the US government detained over 120,000 Japanese American men, women, and children in internment camps. Two-thirds were American citizens, yet they were treated as enemies of the American people. After the war, historians and activists used archival records created during internment to prove that it had been unjustified by military necessity. They succeeded in overturning Supreme Court rulings and achieved redress for former internees. By relying on the documentary record created during internment and preserved in archives, it was later possible to hold the American government accountable for the violation of people’s rights. The very documents that were originally used to control the Japanese American population became the documents that enabled recognition of injustice and led to the conclusion of the redress movement.


Japanese American internment Collective memory Social justice 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.William L. Clements LibraryUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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