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Occidental College Library: Digital Archive: Japanese American Relocation Collection: Chronology of Events
The Chronology of Events is compiled from different sources (see end of table) to integrate the activities reflected by the corrrespondence of Remsen Bird with national, local and regional events. The research is offered as an aid in using the collection. [June 7, 2005]
Year Date National Events Student Relocation: Higher Education / Secondary Education Occidental College / Remsen Bird
1941 November A U.S. Intelligence report known as the "Munson Report" commissioned by President Roosevelt concludes that the great majority of Japanese Americans are loyal to the U.S. and do not pose a threat to national security in the event of war with Japan. (Densho)    
1941 December 7 Japan bombs U.S. ships and planes at the Pearl Harbor military base in Hawaii. Over 3,500 servicemen are wounded or killed. Martial law is declared in Hawaii. (Densho)    
1941 December 7 The FBI begins arresting Japanese immigrants identified as community leaders: priests, Japanese language teachers, newspaper publishers, and heads of organizations. Within 48 hours, 1,291 are arrested. Most of these men would be incarcerated for the duration of the war, separated from their families. (Densho)    
1941 December 8 A declaration of war against Japan is brought by the President and passed by Congress. (Densho)   Eleanor Roosevelt campus speaker
1941 December The FBI searches thousands of Japanese American homes on the West Coast for contraband. Short wave radios, cameras, heirloom swords, and explosives used for clearing stumps in agriculture are among the items confiscated. (Densho)    
1941 December 11 The Western Defense Command is established with Lt. Gen. John L. DeWitt as the commander. (Densho)   Japanese American student Sinpachi Kanow writes to Morgan Odell of mistreatment of his brother and his plans to drop out
1941 December 15 Without any evidence of sabotage, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox announces to the press, "I think the most effective Fifth Column work of the entire war was done in Hawaii..." (Densho)    
1941 December 30     Bird writes to the mayor of Los Angeles concerning the internment of a former Occidental College student (Tanaka).
1942 January 9 U.S. Attorney General Francis Biddle issues first of a series of orders establishing limited strategic areas on Pacific Coast and requiring removal of all enemy aliens from such areas.    
1942 January 22     An article in The Daily Optimist praises Akira Shiraishi and announces his receipt of the Occidental Scholarship.
1942 February 3   Bird writes to Thurston Davies, President of Colorado College, about the possibility of a student exchange.  
1942 February 13 West Coast congressional delegation writes President Roosevelt urging "immediate evacuation of all persons of Japanese lineage…aliens and citizens alike" from "entire strategic area" of California, Oregon, and Washington.    
1942 February 14 General John L. DeWitt, commanding Western Defense Command, sends memorandum to Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson advocating evacuation of "Japanese and other subversive persons" from West Coast area.    
1942 February 19 President Roosevelt signs Executive Order No. 9066 authorizing Secretary of War or any military commander designated by the Secretary to establish "military areas" and to exclude from them "any or all persons."    
1942 February 20 Stimson designates DeWitt as military commander authorized to carry out evacuation under Executive Order No. 9066.    
1942 February 25 The U.S. Navy orders all Japanese Americans living on Terminal Island in the Port of Los Angeles--some 500 families--to leave within 48 hours. As the first group to be removed en masse, they incur especially heavy losses. (Densho)   Ted Tajima writes an editorial entitled "The Double Column of What it's all About" regarding the Japanese American relocation.
1942 March 2 DeWitt's Public Proclamation No. 1 sets up western half of three West Coast states and southern third of Arizona as military area, from which all persons of Japanese blood are eventually removed.    
1942 March The Wartime Civil Control Administration opens 16 "Assembly Centers" to detain approximately 92,000 men, women, and children until the permanent incarceration camps are completed. (Densho)    
1942 March 5 The State of California "releases" 34 Japanese American civil servants from their jobs. (Densho)    
1942 March 11 DeWitt creates Wartime Civil Control Administration to handle evacuation program; names Colonel Karl R. Bendetsen as Director.    
1942 March 18 Roosevelt's Executive Order No. 9102 establishes the War Relocation Authority to aid people evacuated under Executive Order No. 9066; names Milton S. Eisenhower as director.    
1942 March 21   Bird writes to Guy Snavely of the Association of American Colleges expressing concern for Japanese American students and proposing student exchanges.  
1942 March 22 First big contingent of Japanese, aliens and citizens, moved from Los Angeles to Manzanar Assembly Center.    
1942 March 23 DeWitt's Civilian Exclusion Order No. 1 calls for all people of Japanese descent living on Bainbridge Island, Puget Sound, to be removed to the Puyallup Assembly Center.    
1942 March 27 DeWitt's Public Proclamation No. 4 halts all voluntary migration of Japanese from the military areas.    
1942 March 28 Minoru Yasui walks into a Portland police station to surrender himself for arrest in order to test the curfew regulations in court. (Densho)    
1942 April   The State Department holds the Conference of Advisors of Foreign Students in Cleveland. Attended educators are presented the dilemma facing Nisei students and the matter of possible relocation of these students.  
1942 April 1   Remsen Bird, E. R. Hedrick (vice president of U.C. and chairman of the Committee on American-born Japanese and Aliens, Western College Association, and others (?) meet with Governor Culbert Olson to discuss issues related to the student relocation. Bird writes to Guy Snavely (president of the Association of American Colleges) urging Snavely to work with Western College Association on the relocation issue.
1942 April 2   Recommendations regarding the Re-education of children and youth in internment camps published by the State of California Department of Education: copy sent to Bird Dr. Bird writes to Francis Hutchins, President of Berea College, thanking him for arranging the transfer of Occidental student Mary Kariya to the college.
1942 April 4   Hedrick writes to invite Bird to become a member of the Committee on American-born Japanese and Aliens. Bird accepts the invitation four days later.  
1942 April 5     Helen Matsunaga sends Dr. Bird a list of "some of the most outstanding leaders in this American-Japanese community."
1942 April 6     J. L. McCorison, President of Yankton College in South Dakota, writes to Remsen Bird, stating that Yankton College would be happy to admit any American-born Japanese student. [This is the first letter of its kind to be received by Bird.]
1942 April 7 Governors and other officials from ten western states confer at Salt Lake City with Colonel Bendetsen and WRA Director Eisenhower. Most officials strongly protest unrestricted resettlement of Japanese in their states. Bird writes to E. Fay Campbell (board of Christian education) regarding formation of an organization to care for Japanese American students and their education. / Bird writes to Rev. Gordon Chapman asking about relocation efforts. Bird writes to Charles Wishart, President of the College of Wooster, expressing concerns of Japanese American student relocation and recommending Ted Tajima for transfer.
1942 April 9     Bird writes to Dr. Harry Cotton of the Presbyterian Theological Seminary recommending Oxy student Russell Nakata.
1942 April 10   Dr. Bird initiates a correspondence with Jitsuio Morikawa regarding student relocation in which he states that any help by Morikawa would be appreciated. George Day, Oxy Professor of Sociology, gives an account of his visit & activities in Little Tokyo.
1942 April 13   Guy Snavely writes to Charles Fitts (Pomona College) relaying information about the Western College Association, and correspondences with J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI.  
1942 April 14     Dr. Bird writes a recommendation of Iko Tanzawa.
1942 April 15   Mary Engberg writes Eleanor Roosevelt expressing concern for the Japanese American relocation and discussing problems with it.  
1942 April 16     Charles Wishart writes Bird stating that he cannot accept all Japanese American students but is tentatively committed to Ted Tajima.
1942 April 17   Jerry Voorhis (CA Representative to US Congress) writes Bird in support of efforts to relocate Japanese American students.  
1942 April 18     Francis Hutchins writes Dr. Bird acknowledging Mary Kariya's arrival at and adjustment to Berea College.
1942 April 21     Bird writes Carter Davidson, President of Knox College, regarding John Nishiyama's interest in attending the college.
1942 April 23   Bird writes Lt. General John DeWitt expressing interest in assisting with the efforts of relocating Japanese American college students.  
1942 April 23   Hedrick writes Bird regarding secondary education at reception centers  
1942 April 27   Tom Clark, Wartime Civil control acknowledges receipt of Bird letters with plan to help in relocating students.  
1942 April 28   Gertrude Laws writes to Lt. General John DeWitt regarding camp education and recreation. Remsen Bird and Gertrude Laws, Pasadena City Schools,  visit Santa Anita Assembly Center
1942 April 29   Gertrude Laws writes to Super of pub instruction et al re camp conditions, cc's to Bird John Badgley describes students departure from school, especially John Nishiyama in THE OCCIDENTAL.
1942 April 30   Lucy Adams (Commissioner of Indian Affairs) writes Dr. Bird regarding the education of Japanese American evacuees and educational facilities within the relocation centers. / Bird writes Claude Reeves (Superintendent of Education in L.A.) with hopes to help provide materials for recreation and study.  
1942 May The incarcerees begin transfer to permanent WRA incarceration facilities or "camps." They total ten: Manzanar, Poston, Gila River, Topaz, Granada, Heart Mountain, Minidoka, Tule Lake, Jerome, and Rohwer. (Densho)   Mary Engberg, Polytechnic HS, Pasadena, sends camp publications with Roosevelt-Johnson ltrs.
1942 May 1      
1942 May 3     Marguerite Prince requests Bird's help for Noel Tsuneishi.
1942 May 4   Bird writes Ishida, JACL explaining Western Assoc of Colleges committee for student relocation. Bird writes a letter of encouragement to  Russell Nakata.
1942 May 5   Assistant Secretary of War John H. McCloy asks Clarence Pickett, executive secretary of the American Friends Service Committee, to undertake with other organizations the relocation of over 1,000 Japanese American students. / Bird writes Snavely with encouragement and hope for the National Student Federation.  
1942 May 6     Charles Adamec, Dean of Knox College, writes to Dr. Bird stating that the student council is in support of allowing Japanese American students into Knox.
1942 May 8 First evacuees reach Poston for Gila River Relocation Center.    
1942 May 12   C.L. Reeves invites Dr. Bird to attend a meeting on the continuing education of Japanese evacuees.  
1942 May 15     Bird requests a list of Japanese American students who left Occidental or are planning to attend Occidental from Dr. Fitch, Professor of Philosophy at Occidental.
1942 May 16 University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi turns himself in to the authorities with a four-page statement explaining why he would not submit to the imprisonment on Constitutional grounds. (Densho) Dr. Bird writes a detailed letter to Guy Snavely about student relocation in which he mentions meetings "on the Japanese-American situation." / W. Q. Mendenhal writes Earl Hedrick (UCLA Provost) describing two committees for student relocation and calling for speedy action.  
1942 May 18 Franklin Roosevelt writes to Culbert Olson, Governor of California, addressing the issue of Japanese American students. Bird notifies Snavely that he will not be able to attend the May 29th meeting, and advises Snavely to contact Clarence Pickett (AFSC) to attend. Bird also writes Pickett about this matter. Remsen Bird writes to Charles Fitts, secretary of the Committee on American-born Japanese and Aliens, stating "I believe this Committee is doing something of great historical significance."
1942 May 25     Bird sends Arthur Gould (L..A. Board of Education) a two-page list of supplies compiled by Mary Engberg.
1942 May 27 First evacuees reach Tule Lake Relocation Center in Northern California.   Robert Fitch sends list of student status to President Bird. / Sophie Toriumi writes Dr. Bird thanking him for his kindness to her family and mentioning Ted Tajima's correspondence.
1942 May 28   Charles Fitts writes the members of committee on Japanese American students describing a large meeting of educators nationwide regarding Japanese American students and their continuing education. John Nishiyama writes Dr. Bird describing his life at Oberlin College.
1942 May 29   Meeting to establish the Japanese American Student Relocation Council is held in Chicago. 46 individuals representing the government, institutions of higher education, the Japanese American Citizens League, and other organizations attended the meeting. Occidental College did not send a representative.[Bird could not attend] / Bird writes C.C. Trillingham (L.A. schools) commending his plans concerning Japanese American evacuees and his proceeding with the commencement exercises.  
1942 June 1 Manzanar Assembly Center transferred from Army's Jurisdiction to that of WRA, becomes Manzanar Relocation Center.   A photo essay from La Encina, the Oxy yearbook, mentions the Japanese American relocation: "The evacuation…of our Japanese students and the strange realization that they, our friends, were of a different race."
1942 June 2 DeWitt's Public Proclamation No. 6 halts voluntary migration of Japanese from eastern half of California; announces that they will be removed to WRA Centers. Mary Engberg describes her visit to Santa Anita and her impressions of the center.  
1942 June 3-6 The Allies victory at the Battle of Midway is significant, thus turning the advantage in the war to the United States. (Densho)    
1942 June 4     Dr. Bird writes George Seno encouraging him and stating plans to visit Santa Anita. He also writes recommendations for Seno and Inafuku. / Oxy alum Jack Harmon writes Bird expressing disgust over Japanese American internment and the racial discrimination.
1942 June 15     Dr Bird writes Howard Hanson of the Eastman School of Music recommending George Seno. He also sends a recommendation from Maurice Blair, principal of Seno's high school.
1942 June 17 Dillon S. Myer succeeds Milton Eisenhower (resigned) as Director, WRA.    
1942 June 19   Aubrey Douglas writes Irene Heinemen discussing the difficulty of finding schoolbooks and toys for Japanese American students in the assembly centers.  
1942 July 12 Mitsuye Endo's attorney files a writ of habeas corpus on her behalf. The case wouldn't be decided upon until December 1944, but its ruling would signal the end of the incarceration camps. (Densho)    
1942 July 27 Two men are shot to death by a camp guard while allegedly trying to escape from the Lordsburg, New Mexico internment camp. Both men had been too ill to walk from the train station to the camp gate prior to being shot. (Densho)    
1942 August 7 DeWitt announces that 110,000 people of Japanese blood have been removed from their homes.    
1942 August 10   Dr. Bird writes to Norman Littell, Assistant Attorney General, expressing concern over Japanese American relocation and suggesting that poor conditions in camps may breed hostility.  
1942 August 18     Dr. Bird asks Elizabeth McCloy, College Librarian, to keep a record of all documents relating to the Japanese American struggle, as he considers it an important event of the day.
1942 September 18     Dr. Bird writes to John Gault (Assistant U.S. Attorney) in support of Kinjiro Shiraisihi and asking advice for proper action in regards to Shiraishi.
1942 October 1     Dr. Bird writes Sinpachi Kanow thanking him for the copy of The Pacemaker, noting his visit to Santa Anita, and sends words of encouragement.
1942 October 13     Robert O'Brien, director of the National Student Relocation Council, writes to Bird, seeking permission to "borrow" George Day (Professor of Sociology) to serve on the JASRC. Two days later, Bird writes back to grant permission.
1942 November 3 Final contingent of evacuees from Fresno Assembly Center arrives at Jerome (Arkansas) Relocation Center. This completes transfer of control from Army to WRA.    
1942 November 9   Harunko Matsushita writes to Mary Engberg with many questions relating to his secondary school education.  
1942 November 14 Trouble begins with demonstration in Gila River Center protesting arrest of two evacuees charged with beating a third.    
1942 November 23 Trouble at Poston Center settled by an agreement.    
1942 December 6 Military Police temporarily take over control of Manzanar Center to stop demonstrations.    
1943 January The War Department announces the formation of a segregated unit of Japanese American soldiers, and calls for volunteers in Hawaii (where Japanese Americans were not incarcerated) and from among the men incarcerated in the camps. (Densho)    
1943 January 14     Dr. Bird writes to David Walden, commending him on his project to write a historical novel on Japanese evacuation and suggesting individuals to contact in this endeavor.
1943 January 28 Stimson reveals plan to organize a Japanese American Army Combat Team.    
1943 February 8 "Loyalty" registration both for Army enlistment and leave clearance begins in WRA Centers.    
1943 March 10,000 Japanese American men volunteer for the armed services from Hawaii. 1,200 volunteer out of the camps. (Densho) All West Coast Relocation Offices are closed and the entire student relocation program moved to a centralized office in Philadelphia. The National Student Relocation Council is re-named the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council.  
1943 March 11 Director Myer writes Stimson urging relaxation of West Coast exclusion orders against Japanese. (Stimson rejects this on May 10.)    
1943 April 1     Akira Shiraishi writes to Dr. Bird thanking him for his help in the release of his father and desrcibing his life at the camp in Wyoming.
1943 April 2     Kinjiro Shiraishi writes to Mr. and Mrs. Engberg thanking them for their help and describing his journey home.
1943 April 6     Dr. Bird responds to Akira Shiraishi's letter and encloses a letter of recommendation.
1943 April 8 U.S. Senator A. B. Chandler of Kentucky, who has been head of a subcommittee investigating WRA, writes to Director Myer recommending that "disloyal" evacuees be segregated from other residents of the Centers.    
1943 April 29   Dr. Bird writes Mary Engberg thanking her for Japanese American materials. He mentions letters received from the Shiraishis.  
1943 May 4     Elizabeth McCloy sends Dr. Bird a summary report of the project which Dr. Bird requested (documents relating to Japanese American evacuation). She requests his help in this endeavor.
1943 June The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the curfew order in Hirabayashi v. U.S. and Yasui v. U.S. (Densho)    
1943 June 15   Dr. Bird writes Francis Biddle (Attorney General) decrying attacks on the Japanese American minority.  
1943 June 25 Director Myer writes Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy on plans for a segregation program and selection of Tule Lake as the segregation center.    
1943 September From the results of the "loyalty questionnaire," "loyal" incarcerees from Tule Lake begin to depart to other camps and "disloyal" incarcerees from other camps begin to arrive at Tule Lake. (Densho)    
1943 September 16     Minister Gordon Chapman writes Dr. Bird recommending Sinpachi Kanow and describing his past academic history, as well as requesting information regarding his Oxy career.
1943 October 11 Final contingent of "disloyal" evacuees reaches Tule Lake.    
1943 October 17   Afton Dill Nance writes Dr. Bird describing the situation facing Paul Kusada, a Japanese American student denied acceptance to the University of Chicago because of time spent in a relocation center. Nance asks for advice in this case.  
1943 October 21   Bird writes a letter to Imra [?] stating that all Japanese-Americans should be treated fairly and not persecuted due to their blood.  
1943 November 1 Tule Lake's troubles begin with mass demonstration.    
1943 November 4 Riots at Tule Lake. Army takes over control of Center.    
1943 November 30     Dr. Bird writes Myrtle Fetzer, assistant director of USO, recommending Helen Matsunaga to the USO.
1943 December 7     Helen Matsunaga writes to Dr. Bird describing her life at Rockford college, relating news of her family, and with reflections on 12/7/41.
1944 January 14 Military control ends at Tule Lake.    
1944 January 20 Stimston announces Japanese Americans hereafter will be drafted for military service.    
1944 May 10 63 Heart Mountain draft resisters are indicted by a federal grand jury. On June 26th the 63 are found guilty and sentenced to jail terms. The 63 were pardoned on December 24, 1947 by President Truman. (Densho)    
1944 April 5     Dr. Bird responds to C.V. Hibbard's (director of NJASRC) March 28 letter. He requests material for the library and expresses concern about racial issues and the postwar situation.
1944 Summer   The National Japanese American Student Relocation Council select 13 Nisei college students who, during summer vacation, return to their "Home Project" to promote the advantages and values of student relocation.  
1944 June 30 Jerome Relocation Center, last to open, is the first to close, with 5,000 remaining residents transferred to other centers.    
1944 July 1 Roosevelt signs Public Law 405 (Seventy-Eighth Congress) permitting American citizens to renounce citizenship in time of war.    
1944 December 17 War Department announces that, effective on January 2, 1945, the West Coast exclusion orders against Japanese will be revoked.    
1944 December 18 Director Myer announces closing of all Centers before the end of 1945 and liquidation of entire WRA program by June 30, 1946. His decision follows U.S. Supreme Court rulings.    
1944 December 25     Helen Matsunaga sends a Christmas card to the Bird family with greetings and reflections on "peace and goodness."
1945 January 2 The War Department announces that the exclusion orders are rescinded after the Supreme Court rules in the Endo case that "loyal" citizens could not be lawfully detained. (Densho)    
1945 January 8 Returnees' many troubles begin with attempt to burn and dynamite packing shed of a Japanese in Placer County, California.    
1945 April 30 Director Myer officially estimated that on June 30 the Centers will still hold 44,000 "relocatable" evacuees.    
1945 May 7 Germany surrenders, ending the war in Europe. (Densho)    
1945 May 14 Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickles strongly denounces the continuing West Coast terrorism against returnees.    
1945 June 13     Bird writes a letter to Helen Matsunaga, in which he mentions his decision to end his term as President of Occidental College.
1945 August 6 The U.S. drops the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Three days later, a second bomb is dropped on Nagasaki. Japan surrenders on August 14th. (Densho)    
1945 August Some 44,000 people still remain in the camps. Many have nowhere to go having lost their homes and jobs. Many are afraid of anti-Japanese hostility and refuse to leave. (Densho)    
1945 August 15 VJ Day.    
1945 September 4 Western Defense Command revokes all individual exclusion orders and all military restrictions against Japanese.    
1946 March 3     Bird writes to Elizabeth McCloy discussing the significance of the Japanese American collection: "How we have behaved towards these people should be known and carefully recorded for future reference."
1946 March 20 Tule Lake Segregation Center is officially closed.    
1946 April 15   Ann Graybill, director of the Council, calls for a final meeting to discuss the closing of Council operations.  
1946 June 1     Ted Tajima's portrait, on class page in the La Encina yearbook.
1946 June 30 War Relocation Authority program officially ends. The National Japanese American Student Relocation Council officially closes.  
1946 July 15 "You not only fought the enemy but you fought prejudice... and you won." These were the words of President Truman on the White House lawn as he received the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. (Densho)    
1946 September     McCloy describes Oxy's Japanese American Relocation Colletion in the California Library Association (CLA) Bulletin. (1946:22)
1948 1948 President Truman signs the Japanese American Evacuation Claims Act. Approximately $38 million was paid from this act, only a small fraction of the estimated loss in income and property. (Densho)    
1952 June The Senate and House override President Truman's veto and vote the Walter-McCarren Act into law. This bill grants Japan a token immigration quota and allows Japanese immigrants to become naturalized U.S. citizens. (Densho)    
1980 1980 The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians is established calling for a congressional committee to investigate the detention program and the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066. (Densho) Nisei Student Relocation Commemorative Fund launched by New England Nisei group in tribute to those who assisted them during WWII: "seeks to aid and uplift poor & underprivileged Pacific American racial minorities in the US by providing scholarships to attend univs, colleges, & training schools [Storied Lives: 143]  
1981 1981 The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians holds hearings in 10 locations. They hear testimony from over 750 witnesses. (Densho)
1983 1983 The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians issues its report, Personal Justice Denied, on February 24th and its Recommendations, on June 16th. The Recommendations call for a presidential apology and a $20,000 payment to each of the approximately 60,000 surviving persons excluded from their places of residence pursuant to Executive Order 9066. (Densho)    
  1983-1988 The wartime convictions of Gordon Hirabayashi, Minoru Yasui, and Fred Korematsu (the three men who protested the curfew and/or incarceration orders) are vacated ("nullified") on the basis of newly discovered evidence that the U.S. military lied to the Supreme Court in the original proceedings. (Densho)    
  August 10 President Ronald Reagan signs HR 442 into law. It acknowledges that the incarceration of more than 110,000 individuals of Japanese descent was unjust, and offers an apology and reparation payments of $20,000 to each person incarcerated. (Densho)    
  October 9 In a Washington D.C. ceremony, the first nine redress payments are made. (Densho)    
  Sources: Chronology of Events compiled from to integrate the activities reflected in the corrrespondence with national, local and regional events. The research is offered as a rough guide.  Created November 2004.  Digital Archive, Japanese American Collection, Special Collections, Occidental College Library. Los Angeles California.
Bosworth. America's Concentration Camps. Norton: NYC. 1967
Densho Legacy Project, [accessed 9.15.2004]
Ito. Afterword: Nisei Student Relocation Commemorative Fund. Storied Lives
Okihiro. Storied Lives. 1999
Papers of Remsen Bird: correspondence and NJASRC printed materials