William Hosokawa letter to Ham Fisher requesting he include a Japanese American soldier in his popular Joe Palooka comic to boost public perception of the Japanese community, January 9, 1942
AbstractHosokawa writes Ham Fisher, the cartoonist behind the Joe Palooka comic, asking him to include a Japanese American in his cartoon in recognition of the fact that many of them are also serving in the army. Hosokawa believes that a positive portrayal of a Japanese American soldier would go a long way in assuaging racial prejudices of outsiders and boosting the moral of the community. He states "Now we believe that it would be a great step toward national unity if Joe could meet one or two of these American-born Japanese in the Army so that the general public will realize that we of this group are doing our part in national defense. This meeting, and perhaps a a subsequent friendship, should not be difficult to arrange as these soldiers are serving in every part of the country. They are not segregated in their own units, and they are given the same opportunity of advancement and development of individual skills as soldiers of any other racial extraction. Some are in North Carolina and Georgia, some in the Mid-West, some in the deep South, many on the Pacific coast."
After Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States government began enacting a series of measures against those with Japanese ancestry. On February 19, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, authorizing military commanders to designate "military areas" at their discretion, "from which any or all persons may be excluded." On March 2, 1942, General John DeWitt signed Public Proclamation No. 1 establishing the Pacific coast and 100 miles inland as Military Area No. 1 and requiring that anyone with "enemy" ancestry evacuate. Through the spring of 1942, Japanese families began moving into temporary assembly centers, such as Camp Harmony in Puyallup, Washington, where they remained through the summer before moving to permanent internment camps.