Why were some people in Hawai‘i interned, yet some weren’t?
As early as 1937, detailed lists of leaders of the Japanese community were being created, including Buddhist and Shinto priests, Japanese language school staff, Japanese language newspaper staff, consular agents, and kibei [American citizens sent to Japan to be educated]. On December 7, 1941, even before martial law was declared, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and military began to pick up several hundred people on the custodial detention list. Arrests continued throughout the war, keeping the Japanese community on edge.

Where were the camps in Hawai‘i located?
Maps and descriptions of the internment camps in Hawai‘i are available on JCCH's website, "The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i." 

What was life in camp like for these internees from Hawai‘i?
More detailed information about the life of the internees is available on JCCH's website, "The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i."

I thought cameras weren’t allowed in camp. Where did these pictures come from?
Most of the formal photos on this site were taken inside the internment camp in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Internee Yasutaro Soga noted that only one photographer from the town of Santa Fe was allowed into the camp to take the photos. The photographer charged the internees one dollar for each reprint—a price Mr. Soga remembers with much consternation. Nonetheless, internees wanted photos to commemorate events or various groups. Internees from Hawai‘i often requested photos in the snow.

What do the internee group numbers signify?
Internees were sent from Hawai‘i to mainland internment camps in groups, so the group numbers became important as frames of reference. Groups tended to be made of up internees predominantly from one of the islands. Because the internees were moved around in these groups, they got to know each other well.

What did the internment in Hawai‘i and on the West Coast have in common?
Issei leaders of the community were first to be arrested, questioned, and imprisoned by the FBI and military. No charges were ever filed against any person of Japanese ancestry. There were no acts of sabotage or espionage committed by a person of Japanese ancestry. Both—the selective internment in Hawai‘i and mass incarceration on the mainland—were based on race.

How can I find out more about a photo, artifact, or transcript that is found on is this directory? How do I license an image or oral history found on this site?
For more information, please contact the Tokioka Heritage Resource Center by emailing Resource.Center@jcch.com or calling (808) 945-7633 Ext. 42.