First-Hand Accounts of Japanese American Internment Camps in ‘Order 9066’ Podcast

Tae Hong
Jan 31,2018
Oakland, California, March 1942. The store was closed following orders to persons of Japanese descent to evacuate from certain West Coast areas.
 (Library of Congress)Oakland, California, March 1942. The store was closed following orders to persons of Japanese descent to evacuate from certain West Coast areas. (Library of Congress)

A podcast detailing the experiences of 120,000 Japanese Americans incarcerated in camps during World War II will debut on Feb. 19, on the 76th anniversary of the executive order that sent them there.

“Order 9066,” by American Public Media in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, “chronicles the history of this incarceration through vivid, first-person accounts of those who lived through it,” according to APM.

Veteran performers Sab Shimono and Pat Suzuki will narrate the eight-episode podcast series.

Order 9066, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942, placed those of Japanese descent in the West Coast, two-thirds of them American citizens, into internment camps. Meanwhile, an estimated 33,000 Japanese Americans served in the military during the war.

“The [podcast] series’ themes of fear, intolerance and perseverance are important to reflect upon in today’s fractious political climate,” Stephen Smith, the series’ co-producer, said in a statement. “The tragic events surrounding ‘Order 9066’ pose a major historical lesson about how America should, and should not, respond when the nation’s founding principles are under attack.”

The museum hosted an exhibition last year that allowed visitors to follow the history of the executive order and its aftermath on those incarcerated, and is currently working with APM to crowdsource objects from the era, as well as the stories behind them, into an online archive.

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