This week we learned about issues relating Japanese interment and watched a video on HR 442 pertaining to Japanese redress. A few testimonies involved Congressmen Lungren and Stratton, as well as senator Matsunaga. Congressman Stratton’s testimony took me back a little and was a little hard to watch because of how dismissive he was towards Japanese Americans and the experiences they had during their time in the internment camps. Saying that they did not live through the war because they did not serve in the military or were too young, struck me as very ignorant because World War 2 was a multifaceted war that affected everyone everywhere. Supporting my point, Congressmen Mineta and Matsui’s early life was directly impacted by the war even though they were too young to be involved directly. Senator Matsunaga was very smooth when he was giving his testimony and I was pleased hearing that he called out congressman Stratton’s ignorance calling him “misguided” as well. Matsunaga was very well prepared for anything Stratton would attack him on and shot down all of his points and even pointed out that he served in the united states army as an officer. Along with this he also mentions the story of the kid who was shot by guard in a watchtower as well as a soldier who committed suicide. He told the committee that certain government officials were opposed to the idea of internment, he described how Japanese government officials were treated in light of pearl harbor and how well they were treated, he finally mentioned the Oriental Exclusion Act of 1924 and how much Japanese citizens wanted to become naturalized American citizens. Overall, I was satisfied with Matsunaga testimony given the racial state of the united states at the time. One thing that I found interesting throughout the video was how often the constitution was brought up to demonstrate how unconstitutional the idea and process of interment due to racial identity.
I was also struck by how callous Stratton’s testimony was. He was quick to dismiss the lived experiences of the Japanese during internment and often justified the practice based on the actions of the Japanese Empire. Each time he brought up the attack on Pearl Harbor, I questioned how that was relevant to the actions of the broader Japanese-American population. It seemed that he justified the equation of the two by alleging that Japanese spies in Hawaii divulged critical intel to the Japanese Empire, making the attack possible.
Not thorough. This is a repeated problem. No credit.