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Ida Takagishi Inouye is helped with her cap and gown in May 2013 as she is about to receive an honorary degree at Pacific’s Commencement. Inouye and six other former Pacific students were forced to leave Pacific because of internment resulting from Executive Order 9066.

Ida Takagishi Inouye is helped with her cap and gown in May 2013 as she is about to receive an honorary degree at Pacific’s Commencement. Inouye and six other former Pacific students were forced to leave Pacific because of internment resulting from Executive Order 9066.

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Pacific News

Order forcing 120,000 to internment camps remembered

Feb 16, 2018

Day of Remembrance marks the Feb. 19, 1942, signing of Executive Order 9066 forcing the relocation and incarceration of nearly 120,000 people of Japanese descent - most of them U.S. citizens - who lived on the West Coast. We remember that period of prejudice in U.S. history each Feb. 19.

Pacific is home to one of the most significant collections of letters, photos and oral histories from Japanese-Americans interned during World War II, especially those who had lived in San Joaquin County. The collection is held in the Holt-Atherton Special Collections.

Shortly after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, racial prejudice spurred rumors of a plot by Japanese-Americans to sabotage the U.S. war effort. That led to pressure on the Roosevelt administration to relocate people of Japanese ancestry. That pressure ultimately resulted in President Roosevelt signing Executive Order 9066.

The displaced people - of which two-thirds were citizens - were placed in one of 10 military-controlled War Relocation Centers, also known as "internment camps," despite never having shown disloyalty. Some families were separated and placed in different camps and some detainees died because of emotional distress and a lack of medical care.

In 1943, internees 17 and older were asked if they were willing to serve in the armed forces and willing to swear allegiance to the United States. A segregated military unit was formed to fight in the European theater and became the most highly decorated of World War II.

Some Japanese-Americans were allowed to return to the West Coast beginning in 1945 before the last camp was closed in 1946. By then, most had lost their homes and property.

During the Reagan administration, the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 was passed apologizing for displacing Japanese-Americans and permanent residents of Japanese ancestry and paid restitution to those who had been interned.

In May 2013, Pacific gave honorary degrees to seven Japanese-American former students who were forced to leave Pacific in 1942. Ida Takagishi Inouye, 91, was studying religious studies at Pacific and was on hand for the ceremonies. The other six were issued posthumously.

"The University is proud to pay tribute to these important members of the Pacific family," Pacific President Pamela A. Eibeck said at the time the honorary degrees were given. "It is time we acknowledge and apologize for the discrimination our students suffered more than 70 years ago, and also honor the incredible lives they built despite this obstacle. University of the Pacific is proud to call these students alumni."

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