1790: The U.S. Congress, in the Act of March 26, 1790 states: "any alien, being a free white person who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for a term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof." (In other words, no blacks, no Native Americans and no Orientals could become citizens.)
1841, June 27th: Five shipwrecked Japanese sailors are found and taken to Honolulu. Four return to Japan, one chooses to remain on ship. He later attends school in New England then later returns to Japan where he serves as interpreter for Commodore Perry in 1853.
1851: More shipwrecked Japanese are found and taken to San Francisco. One learns English and is baptized and in 1858 becomes the first Japanese born person to gain U.S. citizenship through naturalization.
1853: Commodore Perry sails into Japanese harbor with gunboats, demanding Japan open itself to foreign trade.
1868: Japan authorizes emigration of laborers to Hawaii, but revokes its permission a year later after finding out how they were mistreated. The agreement is not restored until 1885.
1869: First group of Japanese immigrants establish the Wakamatsu Colony at Gold Hill in California.
1870: 12 Japanese are admitted to the U.S. Naval Academy. There are 56 Japanese in the U.S.
1873: The Act of 1790 is amended to include the phrase "persons of African nativity or descent", meaning blacks could now become citizens. Still no Asians allowed, though.
1882, May 6: Chinese Exclusion Act bars further immigration of Chinese. Chinese are also prohibited from being citizens. It was enforced from 1882 to 1892.
1885: Japanese laborers start arriving in Hawaii. They were recruited by plantation owners to work the sugarcane fields.
1891: Japanese immigrants arrive on mainland U.S. for use as agricultural laborers.
1893: San Francisco Board of Education orders segregation of all Japanese children to a Chinese school. Japan protests and the order is withdrawn.
1894, June 27: A U.S. district court rules that the Japanese immigrants are not allowed to become citizens since they are not "free white persons" under the Act of 1790.
1898: Hawaii is taken over and annexed by the U.S., ending its status as a free country. The Japanese living there are now allowed to go to the mainland U.S. without passports.
1900: Beginning of major phase of Japanese immigration to U.S. On May 7th of 1900, the first large-scale anti-Japanese protest is held in California, organized by various labor groups.
1904: The National Convention of the American Federation of Labor votes to exclude Japanese, Chinese and Koreans from membership. Russian-Japanese war which Japan wins.
1905: The Asiatic Exclusion League is formed in San Francisco by 67 organizations, thus becoming the first specific organization of an anti-Japanese movement. San Francisco Chronicle runs an anti-Japanese series for a year and a half. California legislature asks U.S. Congress to limit Japanese immigration.
1906, Oct. 11: The San Francisco school board orders the segregation of 93 Japanese American students, placing with Chinese and Korean students. Japan does not take kindly to this measure at all when the information is published in Japan; in the U.S. it was a minor news item if that.
1907: President Theodore Roosevelt orders the San Francisco School Board to rescind the segregation order. In May and October there are anti-Japanese riots in San Francisco in May and October.. Congress passes an immigration bill which prohibits Japanese laborers from entering the U.S. via Hawaii, Mexico or Canada.
1908: The Asiatic Exclusion League reports 231 organizations affiliated, 195 of them labor unions. Gentleman's Agreement formulated wherein Japan agrees not to issue visas to laborers wanting to emigrate to the U.S.
1909: Anti-Japanese riots in Berkeley.
1910: 27 anti-Japanese proposals are introduced in the California legislature.
1913: Alien Land Law is passed which prohibits "all aliens ineligible for citizenship" the right to own land in California. This includes all persons of Oriental ancestry (except for people from the Philippines since it was a U.S. territory. The aliens could also not lease land for any more than 3 years. Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Minnesota pass similar laws.
1915: The Hearst newspapers intensifies its "Yellow Peril" campaign, fueling anti-Japanese hostility.
1918: California's Alien Land Law is modified to prohibit Issei from buying land in the name of their Nisei children.
1920: A more restrictive Alien Land Law is passed.1921: Under pressure from the U.S. Japan stops issuing passports to the "picture brides."
1922: U.S. Supreme Court rules in Takeo Ozawa vs. U.S. that naturalization is limited to "free white persons and aliens of African nativity", thus staying strictly with the Act of 1790. Thus, no Asians can become citizens and this stays in effect for the next three decades. Congress also passes the Cable Act, which states "any woman who marries an alien ineligible for citizenship shall cease to be an American citizen."
1924: Congress passes the Immigration Exclusion Act, barring further immigration of Japanese. In Japan, July 1st is declared a "Day of Humiliation" in response.
1937: Japan invades China. U.S. breaks off commercial relations with Japan.
1941: Aug. 14. Rep. John Dingell writes FDR suggesting 10,000 Hawaiian Japanese-Americans be incarcerated to be used as hostages to ensure "good behavior" on the part of Japan.
1941: Nov. 7: Report by Curtis Munson submitted to the President and others. It says the Japanese Americans possess an "extraordinary degree" of loyalty to the U.S. Further, this goes along with surveillance by the FBI and Naval Intelligence. He says they do not pose a threat to the U.S.
1941, Nov. 12: 15 Japanese-American businessmen and community leaders in Los Angeles are picked up in an FBI raid. Records relating to the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and the Central Japanese Association are seized.
1941, Dec. 7: Pearl Harbor is attacked. Martial law is declared in Hawaii. The FBI begins arresting Japanese immigrants that have been identified as community leaders, priests, Japanese language teachers, newspaper publishers and heads of organizations. 1,291 are arrested within two days and are held for the duration of the war and kept separate from their families.
1941, Dec. 8: Congress declares war on Japan. 736 Japanese resident aliens (Issei) are arrested on the mainland and on Hawaii.
1941, December, 1942, January: The FBI searches thousands of Japanese American homes looking for "contraband" such as cameras, weapons, radios, etc. 2,000 more Issei who are teachers, priests, officers of organizations, etc, are arrested and imprisoned.
1942, Jan. 5: The War Department classifies Japanese American men of draft age as 4-C, or "enemy aliens," a status unchanged until June 16, 1946.
1942, Jan. 26: Ringle report argues against mass interment.
1942, Jan. 29: First order issued by Attorney General Biddle establishing prohibited and restricted zones along West Coast and regulating the movement of enemy aliens within.
1942, Feb. 12: Letter to the President from the Pacific Coast congressional delegation recommending the evacuation from strategic areas of all persons of Japanese ancestry, and others, both aliens and citizens, whose presence might jeopardize or hinder the Nation's war effort.
1942, Feb. 19: FDR signs Executive Order 9066, giving the Secretary of War power to designate certain areas as military exclusion zones where certain people can be kept out of.
1942, Feb. 21: Tolan committee in San Francisco starts hearings on disposition of Japanese Americans. Earl Warren argues that since no sabotage has been committed by the Issei or Nisei, it proves that they will commit sabotage in the future. (Somewhat odd logic, to say the least.)
1942, Feb.27: Idaho governor Chase Clark testifying to Congress says the Japanese are welcome in Idaho only if they are kept in "concentration camps under military guard."
1942, March 2: Public Proclamation 1 issued by DeWitt, head of the Western Defense Command, specifies military zones 1 and 2. Zone 1 includes western halves of California, Washington and Oregon and 1/3rd of Arizona. Curfew is put into effect in those areas, from 8P.M. to 6 A.M. for all persons of Japanese ancestry.
1942, March 14: The Wartime Civil Control Administration established as an agency of the Western Defense Command to have direct supervision of the evacuation process. Also, proclamation designating Idaho., Montana, Nevada and Utah as military areas 3,4,5 and 6, respectively.
1942, March 16: Work starts on the construction of the Manzanar internment camp.
1942, March 18: FDR signs Executive Order 9102 establishing the War Relocation Authority. 16 assembly centers are opened, 13 in California, to detail 92,000 men, women and children until the more permanent camps are completed.
1942, March 19: Tolan Committee sends telegrams to determine the attitude of various states towards receiving Japanese evacuees; all but one of the replies is unfavorable.
1942, March 21: Enactment of Congressional legislation providing penalties for persons violating orders as to entering, remaining in, or leaving military areas.
1942, March 23: Movement of 1,000 volunteer evacuees from Los Angeles to Manzanar to help in its construction. Also, Civilian Exclusion Order No. 1, issued by DeWitt, directing all persons of Japanese ancestry both aliens and civilians to evacuate Bainsbridge Island near Seattle, Washington, on or before March 30.
1942, March 27: Effective date of curfew order covering German and Italian aliens and all persons of Japanese ancestry in Military Area No. 1, requiring them to be in their place of residence between 8 P.M. and 6 A.M., forbidding them possession of firearms, explosives, cameras, radio transmitting sets or shortwave receiving sets, and barring travel more than five miles from home without a permit.
1942, March 29: Further voluntary evacuation from Military Area No. 1 after this date is prohibited.
1942, March 30: 3000 persons of Japanese ancestry ordered to evacuate the Terminal Island area in Los Angeles by April 5 (?) and move to the Santa Anita Assembly Center.
1942, April 2: California fires all Japanese Americans who are in the state civil service. Also, announcement by Director Eisenhower of a five-point program for employment of evacuees.
1942, April 16: Construction started on Gila River Relocation Center.
1942, May: Evacuees begin transfer to the internment camps which will eventually number ten camps. On May 5th, Gordon Hirabayashi refuses to follow curfew and exclusion orders in order to test the constitutionality of the military orders. Fred Korematsu is arrested in Oakland, California for violating orders to report for detention.
1942, May 7: Organization of National Student Relocation Council, a non-government agency, initiated at the suggestion of the War Relocation Authority with approval from the War Department to assist in a program to help evacuee students continue their college educations outside the evacuated areas.
1942, May 8: Evacuation of Japanese in Arizona completed.
1942, May 16: Appointment of an Employment Officer of the War Relocation Authority to help evacuees find employment in a way that will benefit the national war effort. Also, the Atlantic Coast is declared a military area by the Eastern Defense Command.
1942, May 19: Civilian Restriction Order No. 1, issued by the Western Defense Command, establishing all assembly centers and relocation centers in the eight far western States as military areas and forbidding evacuee residents to leave these areas without the express approval of the Western Defense Command.
1942, May 21: Departure of first group of evacuees from Portland Assembly Center for agricultural work in Oregon.
1942, May 27: Tule Lake Center opens.
1942, June 1: Control of Manzanar passes from the Wartime Civil Control Administration to the War Relocation Authority.
1942, June 2: First step in evacuating people of Japanese ancestry from Military Area No. 2 (eastern part of California) with issuance of Proclamation No. 6 forbidding the people of Japanese descent from leaving this area.
1942, June 8 (?): Evacuation of 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry from their homes in Military Area No. 1 is completed.
1942, June 5: Incarceration of persons of Japanese ancestry is considered complete.
1942, June 17: Dillon Myer takes over the War Relocation Authority from Milton Eisenhower.
1942, June 26: Opening of trial at San Francisco on a suit brought by the Native Sons of the Golden West to bar Japanese-Americans from voting.
1942, June 29: 1,800 evacuees workers were needed from assembly and relocation centers to help relive an acute labor shortage in sugar-beet areas in Oregon, Utah, Idaho and Montana.
1942, July 1: Construction begins on Rohwer Relocation Center.
1942, July 9: Evacuation of 10,000 people of Japanese ancestry from Military Area No. 2 in California starts with people being moved directly to relocation centers rather than first to assembly centers.
1942, July 15: Construction starts on Jerome Relocation Center.
1942, July 20: Adoption of WRA policy under which American-born evacuees who had never visited Japan were permitted to leave relocation centers for private employment especially in the Middle Western States. Also, Gila River camp opens.
1942, August 4th: Search for contraband at Santa Anita Assembly Center results in a riot. Military police with tanks and machine guns end the incident.
1942, August 7th. Evacuation of about 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry from Military area #1 and #2 is completed.
1942, Aug. 10th: Minidoka relocation center gets first evacuees.
1942, Aug. 12th: Heart Mountain relocation center opens.
1942, Aug. 118th: The four relocation centers outside the Western Defense Command are declared military areas.
1942, September: The last of the assembly camps close.
1942: Sept.18: Rohwer receives its first inmates.
1942, Oct. 6: Jerome receives its first inmates.
1942: At a press conference, FDR refers to the relocation centers as "concentration camps."
1942, Nov. 17: A tenant farmer near the Jerome camp shoots at several Japanese Americans who are on a work detail, thinking they are trying to escape. Two are wounded.
1943, Jan. 28th: The War Department wants to start an all-Nisei combat team and calls for volunteers from Hawaii and from the camps.
1943, Feb. 5th: Wyoming State Legislature passes a law that denies American citizens at the Heart Mountain camp the right to vote. Similar laws in other states where there are camps are passed.
1943, February 8: The loyalty questionnaires re administered in the camps, leading to considerable trouble.
1943, March: 10,000 Nisei volunteer from Hawaii, 1,200 from the camps.
1943, April: The 442nd Regimental Combat Team is formed.
1943, April 13: DeWitt, head of the Western Defense Command, at a hearing before the House Naval Affairs Subcommittee, says "A Jap's a Jap. There is no way to determine their loyalty..This coast is too vulnerable. No Jap should come back to this coast except on a permit from my office."
1943, July 15: Tule Lake is designated as a segregated center.
1944, Jan. 20: Reinstatement of the draft for Japanese Americans included those who are incarcerated in the camps. A few hundred resist and are arrested, charged, tried and put into prisons.
March 1: 400 Nisei at Heart Mountain camp vote to resist draft move until their Constitutional rights are restored.
Jun3 26- 63 men from Heart Mountain camp are convicted for refusing induction and sentenced to three years in prison.
1944, June 30: Jerome closes, the inmates being transferred to Rohwer.
1944, Oct. 30: The 100th/442nd rescues the "Lost Battalion", including 184 killed in order to rescue 211 Texans.
1944, Dec.17th: The War Department revokes the West Coast exclusion order, effective Jan. 2, 1946, thinking they will lose a Supreme Court case the following day.
1944, Dec. 18th: The government actually wins the case in the Korematsu decision. In the Endo case, though, it declares the WRA cannot detain loyal citizens against their will. However almost 5000 are at Tule Lake under a "individual exclusion" law, so they would not be subject to this ruling.
1945, Jan. 2nd: Most restrictions on resettlement on the West Coast are removed ("exceptions do apply in come cases").
1945, March 9: 16 square miles of Tokyo are destroyed in a napalm firestorm.
1945, Aug. 6th: Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
1945, Aug. 9th: Atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki.
1945, Sept. 2nd: Japan formally surrenders.
1945, Sept. 4: Western Defense Command issues Public Proclamation 24, revoking all West Coast exclusion orders against persons of Japanese ancestry. 44,000 are still in the camps, some with no place to go and some afraid to return to their real homes.
1945, Nov. 30: Rohwer closes.
1946, March 20: The Tule Lake Segregation Center closes, and is the last of the ten major camps to close.
1946, July 15: President Truman at the White House receives the 44nd Regimental Combat Team and tells them "You not only fought the enemy but you fought prejudice..and you won."
1946, Dec. 12: President Truman pardons 267 Japanese American draft resisters.
1948, Jan. 19: U.S. Supreme Court invalidates the California alien land law.
1948, July 12: President Truman signs the "Evacuation Claims Act" which pays less than ten cents on the dollar for property the evacuees lost due to the evacuation.
1952, April 17: California Supreme Court rules that racially restrictive alien land laws are unenforceable.
1952, June 27: Warren-McCarran Immigration and Nationality Act passes, allowing Japanese and other Asian immigrants to become U.S. citizens.
1976: President Gerald Force rescinds Executive Order 9066.
1980: President Carter signs bill to create Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians to see if any wrongs were committed in the internment of the 120,000 Japanese Americans.
1981: The Committee holds its hearings. About 750 witnesses testify.
1983: The report of the committee, "Personal Justice Denied" is released. It says the incarcerations were not justified by military necessity, and that the decision was based on "race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership." It suggests a compensation of $20,000 be paid to the 60,000 surviving internment camp persons.1984, Feb. 19: California State Legislature proclaims February 19 of that year and future years as "A Day of Remembrance" relating to the internment camps.
1988: President Reagan signs the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, paying $20,000 to the evacuees that remain, apologizing to them, and setting up a $1.25 billion educational fund. The process of paying the money takes until 1999 to complete when the Office of Redress Administration closes on Feb. 5.
2000: President Clinton sends a memo to the Department of the Interior recommending some way be found to preserve the internment sites. He states "...the Japanese American Internment sites represent a tangible reminder of the grave injustice done to Japanese Americans.
2001, Jan. 9: Secretary of the Interior delivers "Report to the President: Japanese American Internment Sites Preservation."
2001, June: Grand opening of the National Japanese American Memorial.
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