The World War II Was An Extremely Confusing Stretch Of Time For The American West Coast

1134 Words Oct 28th, 2016 5 Pages
The period leading up to World War II was an extremely confusing stretch of time for the thousands of Nisei living on the American West Coast. Nisei, defined by Merriam-Webster as “a son or daughter of Japanese immigrants who is born and educated in America,” were often at the center of this tumult. At the beginning of the decade, tensions between Japan and the United States were at an all-time high. Even though the Nisei were full American citizens, they were often treated as aliens due to their Japanese heritage. Monica Stone, a Nisei herself, shares her story and views in her 1953 memoir Nisei Daughter. Despite great pain and suffering during the war at the internment camps, Sone grasped firmly in her devotion to democratic ideals in the United States. Growing up, Monica Sone, born Kazuko Itoi, believed herself to be completely American. “I had always thought I was a Yankee, because after all I had been born on Occidental and Main Street” (18-19). So, as one may guess, it came as quite a shock to Kazuko to find out that she was also part Japanese. This discovery led to much confusion, forcing her to live two completely separate lives. “At Bailey Gatzert School I was a jumping, screaming, roustabout Yankee, but at the stroke of three when the school bell rang and doors burst open, I suddenly became a modest, faltering, earnest little Japanese girl with a small, timid voice” (22). Kazuko went through an identity crisis—unfortunately, she did not understand how…

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