The Power of Words: Changes seen in the Incarceration Terminology

By: Marissa Kitazawa

The Power of Words is a grassroots campaign to identify, discuss and implement a plan within the organization of the Japanese American Citizens League  (JACL) to identify euphemisms and misnomers and encourage the use of more accurate terminology as it relates to the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese and Japanese Americans during World War II.  The goal of this campaign was see beyond the old wartime euphemism. These euphemisms, popularized by government agencies, misrepresents the situation and was designed to obscure the mistreatment of Japanese American.

It is exciting to how this campaign has launched and see changes happening in our own communities. At UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center, they have discontinued the use of “interment” when referring to the WRA camps to . Check out the article in Nichi Bei.

Also Densho revisted their section on terminology and in the Densho/Seattle Times insert.

What are your thoughts on the Power of Words? How do you feel about the movement to discontinue the use of the word “internment?” Should we be able to redefine the way we educate people our the Japanese American experience?