Class Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department or Program


First Advisor

Carol Gayle

Second Advisor

Cynthia T. Hahn

Third Advisor

Virginia Stewart


This thesis examines three types of the Japanese American experience during World War II, based on the central premise that there was not, in fact, a single experience. The Japanese American community was not a homogenous group, and different groups in different locations had different experiences during the war. The three particular forms of the Japanese experience considered in this study are: the mass internment of Japanese Americans on the West Coast, Hawaii’s large Japanese population’s escape from mass internment, and the relative equality found by the Nisei while serving in military units during the war. The incarceration experience victimized people whose only crime was being of Japanese heritage, and is a dark chapter in American history that must be examined. This is an issue that we must understand, because understanding this can help us make sure that it never happens again.