Japanese American Relocation Camp Resources for Educators

November 2, 2020

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, the U.S. began making an enemy of its own people—people who looked like those who bombed them. Japanese Americans were consequently rounded up and relocated into camps in remote places, taking only what they could carry. Eleanor Roosevelt continually tried to appeal to her husband Franklin D. Roosevelt to reverse his Executive Orders on relocation. These resources for learners and educators alike allow for well-rounded learning through multimedia experiences that allow for student-centered exploratory learning.

Explore the camp sites

  • The WWII Japanese-American Internment Museum in McGehee, AK, operates two former relocation campsites in Rohwer and Jerome. One former intern George Takei, of Star Trek fame, co-wrote a graphic novel based on his experience at Rowher. The museum provides resources for educator workshops, videos and records. Learn More >
  • The Topaz Museum guides visitors to a wealth of resources on Topaz, including photos, a virtual tour and Utah State University’s collection of documents and periodicals. Learn More >
  • The National Park Service’s Manzanar site hosts audio and video oral histories, images and lesson plans for educators. Explore More >

Explore digitally

  • Non-profit Densho’s Japanese American Legacy Project hosts a vast multimedia collection, such as letters, interviews and a podcast. Explore More >
  • The Library of Congress web project “Behind Barbed Wire” takes the audience through a multimedia experience of maps, newspapers and images and provides resources for further exploration. Experience Now >
  • The Japanese American National Museum presents “The 21st Century Museum,” which shows artifacts from their collection and people’s personal perspectives around those artifacts. View Now >
  • The National World War II Museum also created a special exhibit on the Japanese American experience during WWII, including fact sheets, maps, camp high school yearbooks and lesson plans. Explore More >
  • The National Archives provide a repository for more resources, including photos, documents, newspapers and letters. Learn More >
  • The National Archives also provides resources for educators. Explore More >
  • The University of Houston’s College of Education created an online repository of resources for educators on Japanese American internment. Learn More >

Film

  • The video Japanese Relocation from the U.S. Office of War Information shows the propaganda given to the American public in support of the internment camps. Watch Now >
  • Another film, A Challenge to Democracy, from the U.S. War Relocation Authority shows aims to comfort White Americans that Japanese Americans in the camps are working hard and not lazily living off taxpayer money. Watch Now >
  • The Japanese American National Museum hosts a comprehensive collection of what occurred on American soil during World War II. You can watch the museum’s YouTube channel with videos that tour the exhibitions and interview people with their experiences. Watch Now >
  • The National World War II Museum in New Orleans has plenty of resources for educators and students alike. Their YouTube channel has multiple videos in their “Race and Ethnicity in World War II” playlist about the Japanese American experience. Educators can also take students on a digital field trip. Watch Now >
  • Robert A. Nakamura directed documentaries about the Japanese American experiences around WWII, including Toyo Miyatake. Watch Now >

Photography

  • In Manzanar, Toyo Miyatake smuggled in a lens and film holder and used what was available to him in the camp to build a camera and illegally took photos and developed the film. You can see some of his work from Manzanar on his website. View Now >
  • Visit Google Arts & Culture for an online exhibit about Hansel Meith and her photography, especially of Japanese American internment camps. View Now >
  • View what Manzanar looked like through the lens of Ansel Adams’ camera. View Now >
  • Watch an episode from KCET about two of these three photographers documenting the experience. Watch Now >
  • Note: Consider how outsiders might be capturing the experience differently than someone living inside.

You Might Also Be Interested In


    Skip to content