28 October 2006

Japanese-American Veteran Pics

Shot and edited the newest batch of pics below yesterday afternoon.

They depict a Japanese-American veteran of the Second World War on his way home after being demobilised in late 1945.

Out of the various sorts of American veterans coming home from World War Two in late 1945-early 1946, perhaps the Japanese-American veterans, who, along with their families, had been interned and otherwise displaced(except for the Hawaiian vets and their kin, who were too large in number for the American government to intern)from their homes along the Pacific Coast and in the interior of the American West during the war, came the closest in experience, especially in the uncertainity of what they would find when they returned home, to those faced by many European and Asian World War Two veterans.

In many cases, returning internees and veterans were met with various forms of hostility by their neighbours, of all backgrounds, some of whom had profited by their deportation and seizure or forced sale of their properties, and some were even beaten and killed by those same neighbours.

Others were able to re-settle into their old homes, or start new ones elsewhere.

But, the trauma of being interned, forced to take sides or be deported to Japan, the hardships of life in the internment camps, and, for those who fought, the experience of combat, took their tolls on many in the Japanese-American community.

It wouldn't be until nearly 30 years after the deportations happened that the American government and public would begin to acknowledge the deportations and why they were made, and it would be over 40 years until the former officially apologised to those who'd been deported and compensated them for their losses.

In the meantime, the pressure within the Japanese-American community not to speak of, or acknowledge in any way, what had happened to it was intensely strong, and, if anything, the Americanisation process, already well underway amongst the Nisei(second-generation Japanese Americans), when the deportations took place, was intensified to an even greater degree by in the mid-1940s through early 1960s.

It's only been with the emergence of the Sansei(Third-Generation Japanese Americans), Yonsei(Fourth Generation) and Gosei(Fifth Generation) generations within the Japanese-American community that some sort of balance between that community's Japanese and American identities has begun to appear.

It needn't have happened, Folks, but it did, just as it did with the German-American community during the First World War, and more's the pity.

Hope you like the pics.

1 comment:

Joe T. said...

Don, nice pictures. Incidentally, I didn't know until I Googled your blog's name, that "A Fistful of Teeth" is also a song title by an 80's and early 90's DC-based punk rock band called GWAR. Some of their album titles, by the way, are intersting: "We Kill Everything", "This Toilet Earth", "America Must Be Destroyed", and "Scumdogs of the Universe".