Not all Japanese-Americans were interned - Japanese-Americans in Hawaii weren't interned. However, for areas where the US were systematically interning all Japanese-Americans, how effective were the US at identifying and detaining them?

I know that some tried to avoid it, such as Fred Korematsu, but don't know any statistics.

  • Subjective question. If the authorities at the time could not identify "Japanese" people, how do you expect to collect "statistics" on it? Also, only Japanese in certain areas, so-called "military zones", were imprisoned. These "military zones" were never really clarified so the question is even more subjective. Oct 18, 2015 at 4:28
  • @Tyler we have statistics of what proportion of Jews were captured and murdered by the nazis, so why can't there be statistics on this? motlc.wiesenthal.com/site/pp.asp?c=gvKVLcMVIuG&b=394663#5
    – Golden Cuy
    Oct 18, 2015 at 9:38

1 Answer 1


According to the 1940 census, there were 126,948 Japanese and Japanese Americans in the contiguous United States (so excluding Hawaii).

Geographically, the so-called evacuation orders only applied to California, Oregon, Washington and the southern portion of Arizona. The orders did not apply to Japanese in the other 44 states or other territories. However, most (112,354) Japanese in the contiguous states lived in California, Oregon and Washington.

So considering the base population affected to be 112,354, the main way people avoided being detained was to move eastward when (immediately after DeWitt's proclamation #1) people were free to do so.

As a specific example, I quote Japanese-American Junkoh Harui:

The government decreed that those who lived east of the Cascade Range did not have to go to camp because it was a non-military vital area. Most of the vital areas were all west of the Cascade Range. You know, the airports and the manufacturing, shipbuilding, etc., were all on the West Coast, so for instance, those people who lived in Spokane didn’t have to go to camp. So what happened was somebody found out about that and said, let’s move to Moses Lake, so 3 families from Bainbridge Island moved to Moses Lake prior to the date that was scheduled for evacuation to camps. And we missed it by 2 days. We left 2 days before they did.

So he moved within Washington state, away from the coast, and thereby avoided having to go to a camp.

Nonetheless, in total 111,155 people were taken to relocation centers, which is almost the full 112,354. (Of these 29,516 were allowed to move out of the camps prior to December 1944 to work or attend college).

Main source of above is BACKGROUND TO JAPANESE AMERICAN RELOCATION on the Central Washington University server.


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