BIJAC History - Glossary
  • An — sweet bean paste usually made from azuki beans and often found in the center of mochi.
  • Alien land law — laws enacted by various Western states that prevented Asian immigrants from purchasing, owning, and, in some cases, leasing land.
  • Assembly center — a term used by the U.S. government to describe a temporary camp that incarcerated Japanese Americans and legal residents to Japanese ancestry during World War II. Assembly centers were generally situated on fairgrounds in cities along the West Coast and were surrounded by fences, watchtowers, and armed guards. In many of these assembly centers, internees were forced to live in cramped, unsanitary, and degrading conditions, where livestock stalls were hastily converted to house internees. These assembly centers were holding facilities until the more permanent War Relocation Centers were ready for the internees.
  • Bento — a single-–portion take–out or home–packed meal common in Japanese cuisine.
  • Camp — a place where people are temporarily lodged or sheltered. Camp is the term many Japanese Americans and legal residents of Japanese ancestry use to describe the WRA assembly centers and relocation centers.
  • Civil Rights — the freedoms and rights that a person has as a member of a given state or country.
  • Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (U.S. CWRIC) — a congressional commission charged with studying the internment and incarceration of Japanese Americans and legal residents of Japanese ancestry during World War II. This commission made formal recommendations for an appropriate remedy.
  • Concentration camp — a place where prisoners of war, enemy aliens, and political prisoners are placed under armed guards. On occasion, officials of the U.S. government used the term "concentration camp" to describe the places where Nikkei were incarcerated during World War II.
  • Constitutional rights — the freedoms and rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution to everyone living in the United States, citizen or non–citizen.
  • Detainees — a word used to describe Japanese Americans and legal resident aliens of Japanese ancestry who were incarcerated during World War II.
  • Detention — the act or state of keeping in custody or confining, especially during a period of temporary custody while awaiting trial.
  • Enemy alien — a national living in a country at war with that personís country. In the context of the internment and incarceration of Japanese Americans and legal residents of Japanese ancestry during World War II, all Issei were classified as enemy aliens, regardless of age, sex, or how long they had lived in the United States. Issei were prevented from becoming naturalized U.S. citizens under the Naturalization Acts of 1790 and 1922. In 1952, the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act, also called the McCarren–Walter Act, allowed Issei to become U.S. citizens.
  • Evacuation — the act or state of withdrawing, departing, or vacating any place or area, especially a threatened area. During World War II, the U.S. government forcibly removed Japanese Americans and legal residents of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast and forbid their return until 1945; the government used the term "evacuation" for this process. In scholarly historical analyses, the term "evacuation" and its derivative "evacuee" are considered euphemisms for the government's treatment of Nikkei during World War II.
  • Evacuees — a word used by the War Relocation Authority to describe Japanese Americans and legal resident aliens of Japanese ancestry who were incarcerated during World War II.
  • Exclusion — the act or state of preventing or keeping from entering a place; rejecting, barring, or putting out.
  • Exclusion Zone — a zone established by the Western Defense Command from which Japanese Americans and legal residents of Japanese ancestry were excluded. This zone encompassed Military Areas #1 (western halves of Washington, Oregon, California, and southern half of Arizona) and Military Area #2 (the remainder of California).
  • Executive Order — a regulation having the force of law issued by the President of the United States to the Executive branch of the federal government.
  • Gaman — translated: patience, tolerance, stick it out, don't rock the boat
  • Haji o kakanai yoni — translated: do not bring disgrace to the family
  • Hakujin — Caucasians or white people.
  • Incarceration — the act or state of being confined, shut in, or put in prison.
  • Incarceration camp — a term used to describe the WRA Centers, where Japanese Americans and legal residents of Japanese ancestry were forcibly confined during World War II.
  • Internee — a person who is interned, especially during wartime. This term has been used to define Japanese Americans and legal residents of Japanese ancestry who were interned and incarcerated during World War II. Legally, this term refers to the imprisonment of civilian enemy aliens during wartime.
  • Internment — the act or state of being detained or confined. A term referring to the imprisonment of civilian enemy aliens during wartime.
  • Internment camp — a camp where civilian enemy aliens are confined during wartime. Camps administered by the Justice Department.
  • Issei — the generation of people who were born in Japan and immigrated to the United States primarily between 1885-1924. During World War II, the majority of Issei were legal resident aliens. Direct translation is "first generation."
  • Japanese — of or pertaining to Japan; an inhabitant or citizen of Japan.
  • Japanese Americans — American citizens of Japanese ancestry. Two thirds of those incarcerated during World War II were Japanese Americans. Sometimes Issei are referred to as Japanese Americans, since they were legally forbidden from becoming naturalized U.S. citizens but called the U.S. their home before, during, and after World War II.
  • Japanese legal resident aliens — Japanese citizens living legally in the United States. Japanese legal resident aliens did not have the right to become naturalized U.S. citizens until the passage of the McCarren–Walter Act in 1952.
  • Kibei — A Nisei who had spent a portion of his or her pre–World War II childhood and had gone to school in Japan, and who had then returned to the United States.
  • Kine — wooden mallet used to pound rice in mochi tsuki.
  • Kodomo no tame ni — translated: for the sake of the children.
  • Mochi — sweet rice steamed and pounded to a smooth glutinous consistency. Mochi is often made as part of a new year celebration to symbolize good health and fortune for the coming year.
  • Mochi tsuki — mochi making
  • Mochigome — sweet rice used to make mochi
  • Nagaya — the lower residential section in Nihonmachi (Japantown) consisting of a long narrow area of land mostly occupied by single men, at Port Blakely Mill, Bainbridge Island, WA.
  • Nihonmachi — translated as "Japantown", a place where most Japanese Americans and other people of Japanese ancestry lived.
  • Nikkei — people of Japanese ancestry, including first generation immigrants (Issei), their immediate descendents (Nisei), and all later generations. In the context of World War II, Nikkei generally refers to Japanese American citizens and legal resident aliens of Japanese ancestry during that time.
  • Nisei — the first generation of people of Japanese ancestry who were born in the United States. Direct translation is "second generation."
  • Non–aliens — The U.S. government sometimes referred to Nisei and Japanese Americans as non-aliens, as a way of evading the fact that they were U.S. citizens.
  • Prison — a place or condition of confinement or forcible restraint.
  • Prisoners — a person held in custody, captivity, or a condition of forcible restraint, especially while on trial or serving a prison sentence. One deprived of freedom or action or expression.
  • Racism — a social system in which a minority is privileged at the expense of others, always based on the fictitious idea that human beings are naturally divided into "races" with innate differences of ability and intelligence. The prejudice and discrimination that go along with such a system are also called "racism".
  • Redress – to remedy, rectify, or to amend for a wrong done. Redress was used to describe the process for remedy for the internment and incarceration of Nikkei during World War II.
  • Relocation — the act or state of being established in a new place. This was the term preferred by the U.S. government referring to the act or state of forcibly removing Japanese Americans and legal residents of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast and incarcerating them in WRA Centers. In scholarly historical analyses, the term "relocation" and its derivative "relocation center" are considered euphemisms for the government's treatment of Nikkei during World War II.
  • Relocation Center — the term used by the U.S. government to define the places administered by the War Relocation Authority where Japanese Americans and legal residents of Japanese ancestry were forcibly confined during World War II.
  • Resettlement — a term used by the War Relocation Authority to refer to the migration of Japanese Americans and legal resident aliens of Japanese ancestry from the War Relocation Centers to areas outside of the Exclusion Zone.
  • Sansei — the second generation of people of Japanese ancestry who were born in the United States. Direct translation is "third generation."
  • Shikata ga nai — translated: it can't be helped.
  • U.S. Department of Justice Camps — During World War II, over 7,000 Japanese Issei and Japanese from Latin America were held in internment camps run by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, part of the Department of Justice. There were twenty–seven U.S. Department of Justice Camps, eight of which (in Texas, Idaho, North Dakota, New Mexico, and Montana) held Japanese Americans. The camps were guarded by Border Patrol agents rather than military police, and were intended for non–citizens including Buddhist ministers, Japanese language instructors, newspaper workers, and other community leaders.
  • Usu — stone mortar used to hold steamed mochigome or sweet rice for pounding in mochi tsuki
  • War Relocation Authority (WRA) — the U.S. government agency charged with administering the War Relocation Centers and their internees.
  • Yama — the upper or hill section of Nihonmachi (Japan town) at Port Blakely Mill, Bainbridge Island, WA.
  • Yonsei — the third generation of people of Japanese ancestry who were born in the United States. Direct translation is "fourth generation."
Sources: BIJAC members, Minidoka Internment National Monument General Management Plan, Wikipedia.com

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