Economic losses

The economic and emotional toll associated with the uprooting of Japanese Americans from their homes and businesses was enormous. The cost was especially high for the issei (first-generation immigrants), who had worked most of their lives to establish financial security for themselves and their children. Many Japanese Americans bitterly recall being forced to sell property, personal belongings, and business equipment for a fraction of their value to opportunistic scavengers. Evacuees could take only what they could carry. They left behind heirlooms, cherished toys, and family pets. Farmers continued to work for a harvest they would never see, told it would be "disloyal" to stop. The bustling Nihonmachis (Japantowns) of the West Coast closed down and never fully recovered, even after the war ended.

World War II (66)
Economic losses (235)

235 items
Issei preparing farm for mass removal (ddr-densho-151-270)
img Issei preparing farm for mass removal (ddr-densho-151-270)
Original caption: Woodland, California. This mother of Japanese ancestry is ready with her family of ten, to leave their farm the following morning in compliance with Civilian Exclusion Order. The figure in the background is a Negro laborer employed by the new tenants who have taken over the farm and are now operating it.
img "Evacuation sale" at store run by Japanese Americans (ddr-densho-151-138)
Original caption: San Francisco, California. A close-out sale- prior to evacuation- at store operated by proprietor of Japanese ancestry on Grant Avenue in Chinatown. The evacuees of Japanese descent will be housed in War Relocation Authority centers for the duration.
Signs advertising household goods (ddr-densho-151-319)
img Signs advertising household goods (ddr-densho-151-319)
Original caption: Sacramento, California. Evidence of evacuation is seen in the Japanese quarter two days prior to evacuation of residents of Japanese ancestry from this city.
Issei farmer discussing lease with Chinese businessman (ddr-densho-151-285)
img Issei farmer discussing lease with Chinese businessman (ddr-densho-151-285)
Original caption: Hayward, California. Negi family, operators of a forty-acre leased truck farm, complete arrangements with a Chinese business man who is taking over this farm and equipment at the time of the family's voluntary evacuation to Colorado, prior to Civilian Exclusion Orders.
img "Evacuation sale" at shop run by Japanese Americans (ddr-densho-151-139)
Original caption: San Francisco, California. A close-out sale- prior to evacuation- at store operated by proprietor of Japanese ancestry on Grant Avenue in Chinatown. The evacuees of Japanese descent will be housed in War Relocation Authority centers for the duration.
Closing barn on day of mass removal (ddr-densho-151-194)
img Closing barn on day of mass removal (ddr-densho-151-194)
Original caption: Centerville, California. Nailing the hayloft door on the morning of evacuation. Farmers and other evacuees of Japanese ancestry will be given opportunities to follow their callings at War Relocation Authority centers where they will spend the duration.
House for rent in Japantown (ddr-densho-151-317)
img House for rent in Japantown (ddr-densho-151-317)
Original caption: Sacramento, California. Rooming House in the Japanese section of town. Photograph taken two days before evacuation.
Farmer closing his greenhouse prior to mass removal (ddr-densho-151-128)
img Farmer closing his greenhouse prior to mass removal (ddr-densho-151-128)
Original caption: Mission San Jose, California. Ready to close the doors of greenhouse on strawberry truck farm in Santa Clara County. Evacuees of Japanese descent will be housed in War Relocation Authority center for the duration.
Yugoslavian man taking over Japanese-operated farm (ddr-densho-151-122)
img Yugoslavian man taking over Japanese-operated farm (ddr-densho-151-122)
Original caption: Centerville, California. Yugoslavian farmer is taking over berry farm formerly operated by residents of Japanese ancestry, who are being sent to assembly points and later to be housed in War Relocation Authority centers for the duration.
People shopping at
img People shopping at "evacuation sale" (ddr-densho-151-213)
Original caption: San Francisco, California. At a close-out sale these patrons were buying merchandise to take with them when they are evacuated. Evacuees of Japanese ancestry will be housed in War Relocation Authority centers for the duration.
Restaurant vacated by Japanese American owner (ddr-densho-151-85)
img Restaurant vacated by Japanese American owner (ddr-densho-151-85)
Original caption: The full caption for this photograph reads: San Francisco, California. Entrance to a restaurant vacated by a proprietor of Japanese descent prior to evacuation. Evacuees of Japanese ancestry will be housed in War Relocation Authority centers where they will spend the duration.
img "Evacuation sale" at business run by Japanese Americans (ddr-densho-151-137)
Original caption: San Francisco, California. A study in contrast in Chinatown: The store on the right is operated by a proprietor of Japanese ancestry, and does a land office business as evacuation nears. Previously, many similar stores suffered losses of patronage because of boycott on Japanese products. Evacuees of Japanese descent will be housed in War ...
Farewell letter posted in Chinatown shop (ddr-densho-151-118)
img Farewell letter posted in Chinatown shop (ddr-densho-151-118)
Original caption: San Francisco, California. Letter of appreciation posted in window of Pacific Dry Goods Company, 434-440 Grant Avenue, in San Francisco's Chinatown. Evacuees of Japanese descent will be housed at War Relocation Authority centers for the duration.
Farmer preparing for mass removal (ddr-densho-151-269)
img Farmer preparing for mass removal (ddr-densho-151-269)
Original caption: Woodland, California. Tenant farmer of Japanese ancestry who has just completed settlement of their affairs and everything is packed ready for evacuation on the following morning to an assembly center.
Family transplanting tomato plants (ddr-densho-151-448)
img Family transplanting tomato plants (ddr-densho-151-448)
Original caption: San Leandro, California. Family labor transplanting young tomato plants under canvas about ten days prior to evacuation of residents of Japanese ancestry to Assembly Centers.
Japanese American farmers prior to mass removal (ddr-densho-151-124)
img Japanese American farmers prior to mass removal (ddr-densho-151-124)
Original caption: San Leandro, California. Family labor transplanting young tomato plants under canvas about ten days prior to evacuation of residents of Japanese ancestry to Assembly Centers.
img "Evacuation sale" at Japanese American store (ddr-densho-151-92)
Original caption: San Francisco, California. Customers buy merchandise in a store operated by a proprietor of Japanese ancestry during a pre-evacuation sale. Evacuees of Japanese ancestry will be housed in War Relocation Authority centers for the duration.
Tolan Committee representative meeting with Japanese American farmer (ddr-densho-151-216)
img Tolan Committee representative meeting with Japanese American farmer (ddr-densho-151-216)
Original caption: San Jose, California. John W. Abbott, chief field investigator for the Tolan Congressional Defense Committee on Migration, is shown speaking to a young celery grower, on March 27, 1942, who has just completed arrangements for leasing his farm during evacuation. He holds the lease document in his hand. He and his sisters were evacuated ...
Household goods waiting for storage (ddr-densho-151-287)
img Household goods waiting for storage (ddr-densho-151-287)
Original caption: Woodland, California. Household goods belonging to evacuees of Japanese ancestry, stacked for storage. The Federal Reserve Bank is assisting, in conjunction with the Wartime Civil Control Administration, in the final settlement of their affairs.
Exclusion orders posted in vacated restaurant (ddr-densho-151-127)
img Exclusion orders posted in vacated restaurant (ddr-densho-151-127)
Original caption: San Francisco, California. Civilian Exclusion Order Number 5, ordering evacuation of residents of Japanese ancestry, posted in a vacant store window on Grant Avenue in Chinatown. This establishment, like many others in Chinatown, was operated by proprietors of Japanese descent. Evacuees will be housed in War Relocation Authority centers for the duration.
Sign advertising household goods (ddr-densho-151-318)
img Sign advertising household goods (ddr-densho-151-318)
Original caption: Sacramento, California. Preparations are being made for evacuation two days hence of all residents of Japanese ancestry from this city.
Japantown store prior to mass removal (ddr-densho-151-325)
img Japantown store prior to mass removal (ddr-densho-151-325)
Original caption: Florin, California. View on main street of this little agriculture town in the center of the strawberry and grape-producing area occupied mostly by residents of Japanese ancestry. Evacuation is due in two days of people of Japanese descent from this community.
Close-out sale at nursery (ddr-densho-151-305)
img Close-out sale at nursery (ddr-densho-151-305)
Original caption: Berkeley, California. Residents of Japanese ancestry are closing out their businesses in preparation for the coming evacuation. They will be moved into War Relocation Authority centers to spend the duration.
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