American Public Media to Launch Podcast, Order 9066, Chronicling Japanese American Incarceration
PRESS RELEASE — January 30, 2018
St Paul MI, USA—American Public Media (APM) is collaborating with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History to produce a landmark podcast series on the Japanese American Incarceration during WWII and its legacy in America. Order 9066 will launch on February 19 – the anniversary of the executive order’s signing – which is also known as the Day of Remembrance.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 just months after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Roughly 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry were forced from their homes and sent to one of 10 “relocation centers” in the U.S., imprisoned behind barbed wire during the war. About two-thirds of them were American citizens. The podcast, Order 9066, chronicles the history of this incarceration through vivid, first-person accounts of those who lived through it.
“The upcoming Day of Remembrance is a particularly timely date to launch Order 9066, but the series’ themes of fear, intolerance and perseverance are important to reflect upon in today’s fractious political climate,” said series co-producer Stephen Smith. “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.”
Order 9066 will span eight episodes through July, and will culminate in three, hour-long national radio specials. Sab Shimono and Pat Suzuki – veteran actors and stage performers who were both incarcerated at Tule Lake and the Amache camp in Colorado – will narrate the episodes. The series will cover the racist atmosphere of the time, the camps’ makeshift living quarters and the extraordinary ways incarcerated people adapted; the fierce patriotism many Japanese Americans continued to feel, the 33,000 who served in uniform in the U.S. military, and the ways incarcerees were divided against each other as they were forced to answer questions of loyalty. It will also cover the movement for redress that eventually led to a formal apology from the U.S. government, and much more.
By hearing archival audio, historical context, and first-person narratives, listeners will experience a nuanced and memorable account of a dark chapter in the country’s past, and they will be able to consider what their own actions might have been at the time.
“For more than 30 years, the National Museum of American History has collected and presented the history of Japanese Americans’ incarceration,” said Jennifer Jones, chair of the Museum’s Armed Forces History Division and curator of the exhibition, Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II. Our most recent exhibition, which opened on the 75th anniversary of the signing of the Executive Order, allows visitors to trace how citizen action moved the U.S. government to apologize and make financial restitution. Through this podcast, listeners can hear – in the words of those who lived through this experience – why the study of history helps audiences make more informed decisions for our collective future.”
Order 9066 draws its inspiration from key exhibitions at the National Museum of American History that tell the history of the Japanese American Incarceration, including Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II, which displays a replica of the executive order signed by Roosevelt. As part of their collaboration, APM Reports and the Museum have crowdsourced other objects that connect people to the history. These objects, and the stories behind them, can be found on the website.
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