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Internment of San Francisco Japanese

Photo of San Francisco News page promoting its 'Diary of the War' 1942The San Francisco News, for the first six months of 1942, carried almost daily reports of FBI and police sweeps, and the various proclamations, plans - and restrictions to civil liberties - issued by Lieutenant-General John L. DeWitt at the Presidio of San Francisco. A road was named for him, by the Army, near the former Letterman Army General Hospital, to honor his contributions during World War II.

At the same time, San Francisco business and government leaders began planning to physically clear the Japanese community from the Western Addition by declaring it a "slum area." This planning began one month before the last Japanese residents were forced from the so-called "Little Tokio," or Japantown, district.

When reading these articles it must be understood that they reflect their time; words and ideas repugnant and appalling to us today are used, and discussed, freely, in the News' columns. It should also be noted that some news articles were approved by military censors before publication. In addition, every newspaper editor was excessively careful about printing information of potential use to the enemy.

These San Francisco News articles have far greater meaning if the Museum's 1942 San Francisco War Events timeline is read to give the news reports political context. The War Relocation Authority's 1943 publication "Relocation of Japanese Americans" should also be read to understand what the general American public was told about the internment camps.

Excerpts from Gen. DeWitt's Final Report on the Evacuation of the Japanese are also available online for study.

The evacuation concluded May 20, 1942, and this San Francisco Chronicle article, "S.F. Clear of all But 6 Sick Japanese," details a brief history of Japanese immigration to San Francisco, and the final forced exodus of internees from the city.


San Francisco News Articles - March 1942

Week of Monday, March 2

Concentration Camps for Japanese Wanted by Western Governors - March 2, 1942
"Behind the News"; Negro-Japanese Fifth Column Possible - March 2, 1942
General DeWitt Announces Military Exclusion Zones - March 3, 1942
Greatest Forced Migration in American History to Begin - March 4, 1942
Japanese Ban to Force Farm Adjustments - March 4, 1942
Radio Tokio Denounces Japanese Internment - March 5, 1942
Manzanar May House Interned Japanese - March 5, 1942
Owens Valley Haunted by Hopes that Failed - March 5, 1942
Alien Order Hits U.C. Staff - March 5, 1942
Editorial: Their Best Way to Show Loyalty - March 6, 1942
Gov. Olson Wants All Japanese Removed - March 6, 1942
"All Packed Up and Ready to Go," S.F. News Editorial Cartoon - March 6, 1942
Gen. DeWitt Gives Assurances to Aliens - March 7, 1942


Week of Monday, March 9, 1942

Tolan Group Due to Report Alien Plans - March 9, 1942
"War Hits the Farm Lands," by John G. Brucato - March 9, 1942
Federal Reserve Bank to Aid Aliens - March 10, 1942
To the Editor: "Replace the Okies with Japanese" - March 10, 1942
Plea Made for `Loyal' Aliens - March 13, 1942


Week of Monday, March 16, 1942

Alien Order Removal Offices Set Up - March 16, 1942
Two Steps Speed Japanese Evacuation - March 17, 1942
FBI Rounds Up More Japanese - March 18, 1942
First Japanese Ready to Leave Coast - March 19, 1942


Week of Monday, March 23, 1942

Manzanar Arrival Soon for Interned L.A. Japanese - March 23, 1942
First Los Angeles Japanese Internees Go to Manzanar - March 24, 1942
New Curfew Rules for Enemy Aliens - March 24, 1942
Aliens Get One More Night Out - March 25, 1942
Aliens Must Go by Sunday or Army Will Freeze Them - March 26, 1942
New FBI Raids on Enemy Aliens - March 26, 1942
Calif. Japanese Send Funds to Aid Nippon War Chest - March 26, 1942
Bay Area Japanese Leaving Coast in Final Rush - March 27, 1942
Writer Guilty as Japanese Agent - March 27, 1942
Japanese Eviction Brings Threat of Crop Losses - March 28, 1942


Week of Monday, March 30, 1942

Dangerous Japanese Aliens Sent to Sharp Park Internment Camp - March 31, 1942
FBI Rounds Up Black Dragon Society Members - March 31, 1942
Editorial: Evacuations Show Loyalty - March 31, 1942


San Francisco News Articles - April 1942

San Francisco Japanese to be Interned at Manzanar - April 2, 1942
State of California Suspends Japanese Employees - April 3, 1942
Tanforan Becomes Japanese Internment Center - April 3, 1942
Transfer of Japanese Farm Lands Continues - April 3, 1942
Tanforan New Japanese Assembly Center - April 4, 1942


Week of Monday, April 6, 1942

700 S.F. Japanese to Go Santa Anita Internment Camp - April 6, 1942
S.F. Japanese Exodus Starts - April 7, 1942
Goodbye! Write Soon! - April 7, 1942
"Behind the News"; Praise for the Army and Gen. DeWitt for Evacuation - April 7, 1942
Editorial: "Japanese Co-operate" - April 8, 1942
Editorial: "Well Done"; in Praise of Gen. DeWitt and the Army - April 10, 1942
1924 Warning on Japanese Infiltration Suppressed - April 11, 1942
Confabs Held on Future of `Little Tokio' - April 11, 1942


Week of Monday, April 13, 1942

Slum Danger in Japantown Under Study - April 13, 1942
Conditions at Alien Centers are Defended - April 13, 1942
To the Editor: Japanese Have Faith, by George Ishida - April 13, 1942
Japantown Slum Drive Growing - April 14, 1942
Japanese to Occupy Tract in Arizona - April 16, 1942
FBI Picks Up Three `Dangerous Aliens' - April 17, 1942
U.S. Aid Urged on "Little Tokio" - April 17, 1942
3000 More Japanese Go to Manzanar - April 18, 1942
"Behind the News"; Plight of Filipino-Japanese Women - April 18, 1942


Week of Monday, April 20, 1942

Evacuation Plan for L.A. Speeded - April 20, 1942
"Manzanar Nice Place – It Better Than Hollywood," by United Press – April 21, 1942
City to Clear Japantown Slums - April 21, 1942
"Food for Victory" from Seized Japanese Farms - April 21, 1942
"Behind the News"; Aliens Should Dispose of Contraband - April 24, 1942
Japantown Liquor Curb Urged - April 24, 1942
S.F. Japanese Register for Evacuation - April 24, 1942


Week of Monday, April 27, 1942

S.F. Japanese Register for Tanforan Camp - April 27, 1942
FBI Conducts New Raids on Enemy Aliens - April 28, 1942
San Francisco Japanese Sent to Tanforan Internment Camp - April 28, 1942
Japanese Evacuation from San Francisco Speeded Up - April 29, 1942
"Behind the News"; Japanese Won't be Welcomed Back - April 29, 1942
New Japanese Evacuation Order - April 30, 1942


Other Museum Resources

PowerPoint Presentations showing the evacuation of San Francisco, the Tanforan Assembly Center and the Manzanar Relocation Center are available from the Museum. The San Francisco Evacuation presentation contains 20 photographs, with original WRA captions, taken by famed photographer Dorothea Lange in early 1942. Another presentation, about the infamous Tanforan Assembly Center, closely examines the horse stalls used to house San Francisco internees - as well as the primitive living conditions.

Also available are 20 views of the infamous Manzanar Relocation Center in California's High Desert. These photographs include arrival at the camp, internees moving in, and general views of this desolate, dusty, inhumane, location. WRA photographers Clem Albers and Dorothea Lange shot the photographs between April and July 1942.

The Decision to Evacuate the Japanese from the Pacific Coast, by Stetson Conn
"S.F. Clear of all But 6 Sick Japanese" from the San Francisco Chronicle, May 21, 1942.
Chronology of Japanese Internment - 1942
Instructions to All Persons of Japanese Ancestry - April 1, 1942
Chronology of San Francisco War Events
Dorothea Lange's Photographs of the San Francisco Japanese Evacuation - 1942
Gila River Relocation Camp - 1942
"San Francisco Faces West, The City in Wartime," by John Dos Passos - 1944



Other Important Online Resources

Internment of San Francisco Italian-Americans
Redress for Japanese Internees, from the U.S. Department of Justice
Relocation of Japanese-Americans, by the War Relocation Authority - 1942
Gen. DeWitt's Final Report on the Evacuation of the Japanese
National Park Service's Manzanar National Historic Site Home Page
WCCA Rules for Japanese Internees at Assembly Centers, From the University of Washington
Documents Relating to Bainbridge Island Evacuees from the University of Washington
Diplomas for Interned Students – 1996


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