After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the Select Committee Investigating National Defense Migration, chaired by Representative John H. Tolan of California, examined the potential issues of large-scale forcible removal and internment of Japanese Americans and immigrants living on the West Coast. In this letter, a Navy veteran living in Oakland, California, and likely a constituent of Chairman Tolan, contacted the committee to express his views that all “Japanese nationals in my opinion should be removed from this coast.” He continued, using racist language and repeating stereotypes common at the time to describe a Japanese man shopping at the same store as him: “He appeared arrogant & self important. A class of enemy aliens not to be trusted.”
Some 120,000 individuals of Japanese descent, including American citizens and Japanese citizens legally residing in the United States, were forcibly removed from and lost their homes, stripped of their businesses, and imprisoned without due process in internment camps. Some detainees remained in camps until 1946, despite the War Department’s rescission of the relocation order in 1944.