Views from Within: The Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study, 1820-Present (1989)

Editor: Yuji Ichioka

Paperback: $15.00
ISBN-11: 0-9340521-23
ISBN-13: 9-7809340-5212-2

Product Details: 294 pgs, 6 x 9 x 1 in

Categories: Asian American Studies; Human Rights; Internment; Japanese; War & Peace Issues


This anthology provides a look at the controversial Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study (JERS). JERS gathered data on the migration, confinement and resettlement of Japanese Americans as a result of Executive Order 9066 during World War II.


In 1987 I organized and directed a two-day conference titled "VIEWS FROM WITHIN: The Japanese-American Wartime Internment Experience” held on September 1920 at the University of California at Berkeley. The first day, which coincided with national and local events commemorating the bicentennial of the American Constitution, was devoted to the constitutional issues raised by the wartime internment of Japanese-Americans. The ensuing second day was devoted to a reassessment of the Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study (JERS), a special wartime research project which studied the mass internment of Japanese-Americans. The California Council for the Humanities funded the first-day program; the Columbia Foundation of San Francisco funded the second-day program. The second-day participants included former JERS staff members and researchers interested in JERS.

Most of the essays in this anthology originated as papers presented on the second day of this two-day conference. Some essays are on specialized JERS topics; others are reminiscences by former JERS staff members. All of the essays reassess, directly or indirectly, one aspect or another of JERS. As editor of the anthology, I refrained from imposing my views on he contributors in keeping with the original purpose of the conference, which was to reassess JERS from as many angles as possible. Thus, for example, I did not insist upon a common, uniform language to describe the Japanese-American wartime internment experience. Some contributors use "relocation centers" and other terms originally coined by the American government, while I, following my own personal preference, employ "American-style concentration camps” and other alternative terminology.

(From the "Preface")

Table of Contents

JERS REVISITED: Introduction Yuji Ichioka

  • Dorothy Swaine Thomas as Director of JERS: Some Personal Observations (S. Frank Miyamoto)
  • The "Credible" Witness: The Central Role of Richard S. Nishimoto in JERS (Lane Ryo Hirabayashi and James Hirabayashi)
  • For the Sake of Inter-University Comity: The Attempted Suppression by the University of California of Morton Grozins' Americans Betrayed (Peter T. Suzuki)


  • Resentment, Distrust, and Insecurity at Tule Lake (S. Frank Miyamoto)
  • Reminiscences (S. Frank Miyamoto)
  • Gila in Retrospect (Robert F. Spencer)


  • Through the JERS Looking Glass: A Personal View from Within (Charles Kikuchi)
  • Life History Analysis and JERS: Re-evaluating the Works of Charles Kikuchi (Dana Y. Takagi)


  • Reminiscences of a Participant Observer (James M. Sakoda)
  • The "Residue": The Unresettled Minidokans, 1943-1945 (James M. Sakoda)

Notes on Contributors


"Views From Within offers a remarkable variety of insights into one of the most controversial social science projects in American history. The Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study placed a group of involuntary exiles - some 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry confined for up to four years in desolate concentration camps - under the scrutiny of University of California social scientists. Their work raised serious professional and ethical issues that remain alive. The greatest virtue of this book is the wide range of perspectives from both participants in the project and subjects it provides."- Peter Irons, author, Justice at War

"By its very name the Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study (JERS) signaled acceptance of the official lie that the great uprooting and the mass imprisonment had been a mild 'Evacuation' followed by a helpful 'Resettlement.' In the field and in their postwar publications, Dorothy Swaine Thomas and her JERS researchers set the pattern for academic acceptance of the core lie by tucking the reality away beneath the supposedly value-free language of the social sciences. From the outset Thomas and her team brought little or no historical understanding to bear on the wartime experiences of Japanese Americans, treated them not as subjects but as objects of study... At all events, a systematic reassessment of JERS is long overdue and this ably edited collection of essays is a good beginning." - Richard Drinnon, author, Keeper of Concentration Camps

Related Center Press Publications

Amerasia Journal 13:2 Japanese Americans in the 1930s and 1940s (1986-7).
Amerasia Journal 19:1 Japanese American Internment: Fiftieth Anniversary Commemorative Issue (1993).
Herzig-Yoshinaga, Aiko & Lee, Marjorie (2011). Speaking Out for Personal Justice: Site Summaries of Testimonies and Witnesses Registry from the U.S. Commission on Wartime Relocation & Internment of Civilians Hearings (CWRIC), 1981.
Higa, Karin (Ed.) (1992). The View from Within: The Japanese American Art from the Internment Camp, 1942-1945.
Ichioka, Yuji et al. (1974). A Buried Past: An Annotated Bibliography of the Japanese American Research Project Collection
Ichioka, Yuji & Aizuma, Eiichiro (1999). A Buried Past II: A Sequel to the Annotated Bibliography of the Japanese American Research Project Collection, 1973-1998 (1999).
Kochiyama, Yuri (2004). Passing It On: A Memoir.
Sakata, Yasuo (1992). Fading Footsteps of the Issei: An Annotated Checklist of the Manuscript Holdings of the Japanese American Research Project Collection.