Hawaii's Forgotten Internment Camps

"After the war, there was a real silence and shame about this episode," says Brian Niiya of Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project. "You still get a little reluctance in people to want to talk about this."

Niiya is referring to the internment of Japanese-Americans and Japanese foreign nationals in Hawaii. While the Roosevelt administration's internment of Japanese-American citizens on the West coast is well-documented, the story of Hawaii's internment camps was buried for years.

"On the mainland, I think it was understood that you did nothing wrong. I mean, everybody who was of Japanese descent got thrown into camps," says Niiya. "[In Hawaii] it was just select families. And for many years, members of those familes didn't want to talk about it."

Because so much went unspoken for so many years, very little was known about the camps themselves... until now. That's largely because Jane Kurahara, a researcher at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, made it her personal mission to uncover as much as she could about Hawaii's mysterious internment camps. And, amazingly, Kurahara and the cultural center eventually discovered ruins of a long-forgotten camp on Oʻahu.

"Here was this very important part of history slipping away, very thinly documented, very few people knowing about it. And it was in danger of being lost," says Kurahara.

Reason TV spoke with Niiya and Kurahara about the history of Hawaii's internment camps and visited the newly discovered ruins, which will be open to the public soon. Watch the video above to learn more about the circumstances leading up to the internment of Hawaiians by the U.S. government.

Approximately 4:30 minutes.

Produced by Sharif Matar and Zach Weissmueller. Edited by Weissmueller. 

Scroll down for downloadable versions and subscribe to ReasonTV's YouTube Channel to receive notification when new material goes live.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Internment camps should be restricted only to those who post youtube videos offending certain religions.

  • creech||

    Like "The Ohio State University's" now-former president?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    No, Catholicism is fair game.

  • creech||

    Yeah, their leadership wears funny hats. Oh, wait......

  • VelmaCC||

    Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job Ive had. Last Monday I got a new Alfa Romeo from bringing in $7778. I started this 9 months ago and practically straight away started making more than $83 per hour. I work through this link, www.Mojo50.com

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Credit to Matar and Weissmueller, by the way. Reason TV videos like these are always interesting.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Silly glibertarians; the end justifies the means.

  • CrystalCity||

    German Americans and Italian Americans were also interned in the I ternment camps of the Islands!

  • Radioactive||

    Not to mention the chinese and korean comfort women or anything like that

  • Goldwyn Smith||

    We need another FDR! Except without the internment camps and receiving 90% of the vote from Southern States.

  • ToiletsonIce||

    And liberals still whorship FDR. *SMH*

    ("Whorship" was a typo, but I like it.)

  • ToiletsonIce||

    Maybe the bigger lesson here is to *keep the government the hell out of things*! Then you will have individual racists, who can't do a whole lot without being excoriated, shunned or (if guilty of violating the natural rights of another) thrown into prison, instead of institutionalized racism, where at gunpoint and sanction of the mob, you can ruin the lives of masses of people (as referencing the Reason story about the explicit racism of the war on pot, among many other shining examples).

  • Sevo||

    I have a theory that "Brown" was Warren's make-up for signing the internment order while he was CA Guv.

  • ToiletsonIce||

    Haha! And his parents were immigrants, too...just the right *kind* of immigrants, you know.

  • dinada||

    My grandparents were from Japan and living in Kahului, Maui with Dec 7 hit. A submarine surfaced in Kahului harbor and threw a few shells into the town.
    The local FBI agents came by and questioned my grandparents. One of the agents used the bathroom, poked around, found a heavily marked up book in Japanese, and took it. It was the family bible. It was mailed back anonymously after the war. My grandfather was a tailor and not a local/political leader.
    David Inada

  • ToiletsonIce||

    I'm honestly sorry that your grandparents went through that.

  • dikyfuqazoniA2||

    If you think Jimmy`s story is super,, a month back my cousins girlfriend brought in $7298 putting in 40 hours a month from home and the're roomate's mother-in-law`s neighbour has done this for 5 months and recieved a check for more than $7298 in there spare time at there pc. apply the information at this website..... Grand4.com
    (Go to site and open "Home" for details)

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