STANFORD HISTORY EDUCATION GROUP sheg.stanford.edu
Japanese American Incarceration Timeline
1853-54 U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry sailed gunships into Tokyo Bay and
demanded Japan’s government end its centuries-old isolationist foreign
policy, throwing Japan into political, and later, economic turmoil.
1880s Laws excluding Chinese immigrants from the U.S. were enacted, causing a
labor shortage in Western states. Railroad companies recruited Japanese
laborers, and a wave of Japanese immigration to the U.S. began.
1898 The U.S. annexed Hawaii, which had a large Japanese population.
1906 San Francisco passed a resolution that required all Japanese and Korean
students to join Chinese students at a segregated school.
1907 The U.S. agreed not to restrict Japanese immigration, and Japan agreed
to stop further emigration to the U.S. through the Gentlemen’s Agreement.
1913 California passed the Alien Land Law, forbidding "all aliens ineligible for
citizenship" from owning land. Though the law affected all Asian
immigrants, it was mostly directed at Japanese.
1924 Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1924, effectively ending
Japanese immigration to the U.S.
11/7/1941 Munson Report released (Document B).
12/7/1941 Japan bombed the U.S. Pearl Harbor military base in Hawaii.
2/19/1942 President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorizing military
authorities to exclude civilians from any area without trial or hearing.
12/18/1944 The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066 in
Korematsu v. United States (Document D).
3/20/1946 The last War Relocation Authority facility, the Tule Lake Segregation
Late 1960s The Asian American Movement began.
Late 1970s Japanese American activists started the Redress Movement to get
compensation and an apology from the U.S. government for the mass
removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.
1980 The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians was
established. In 1983 it issued its report, Personal Justice Denied
8/10/1988 President Ronald Reagan signed HR 442 into law. It acknowledged that
the incarceration of more than 110,000 individuals of Japanese descent
was unjust and offered an apology and reparation payments of $20,000 to
each person incarcerated.