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 (218)
Economic losses (547)


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547 items
Evacuation claims settlement sheet (ddr-densho-25-65)
doc Evacuation claims settlement sheet (ddr-densho-25-65)
Under the Japanese American Evacuation Claims Act, Matahichi Iseri claimed $246 in damages from losses due to World War II. In 1952, the Justice Department awarded him a compromise settlement of $226. He was fortunate to receive an amount so close to his original claim, since many Japanese Americans received much less.
Application for relocation assistance (ddr-densho-25-58)
doc Application for relocation assistance (ddr-densho-25-58)
This application for relocation assistance was filled out on February 15, 1946, by Mae Iseri, under her married name of Mae Yamada. The application lists herself and her two sons. They wished to relocate to Kent, Washington, and were granted $25.
Japantown after mass removal (ddr-densho-36-51)
img Japantown after mass removal (ddr-densho-36-51)
Japanese Americans were given little time to take care of their personal and business affairs once the exclusion orders were posted. Many businesses were either permanently closed or boarded-up for the duration of World War II. Shown here is 602 to 612 Jackson Street in Seattle's Nihonmachi, or Japantown.
Letter from Min Tamesa to Adam Beller (ddr-densho-333-27)
img Letter from Min Tamesa to Adam Beller (ddr-densho-333-27)
Letter regarding seeking financial restitution for highway being put across Tamesa property