Inclusion: How Hawaii Protected its Japanese Americans from Mass Incarceration after Pearl Harbor

Following Japanʻs attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States removed 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry from their homes on the West Coast and incarcerated them in remote camps. In Hawai`i, fewer than 2,000 people among the 160,000 were incarcerated. The question is, why not en masse? If people of Japanese ancestry were actually a security threat, as alleged, their large and concentrated numbers and proximity to strategic installations were a reason for removal from Hawai`i. Thus far, historians have only generalized that they made up over one-third of the population and were vital to the economy.
In his new book, Inclusion, How Hawai’i Protected Japanese Americans from Mass Internment, Transformed Itself, and Changed America, author Tom Coffman has written a meticulously researched history of the remarkable individuals from across ethnic groups and civilian, police, FBI and military institutions who came together to spare Hawai`iʻs Japanese community from mass removal and enable their sons to serve America heroically in World War II, inspired by American ideals of democracy and equality. The community, working from the ground up, won the battle for “inclusion” against the exclusionary policies of President Franklin Roosevelt, the U.S. Navy, various generals and the anti-Japanese elements of the press. With a post-war epilogue, it provides a window into the inclusive, multi-ethnic culture of todayʻs Hawai`i.
Tom Coffman
Author, Inclusion
In conversation with Robert Handa
Reporter, NBC Bay Area News
Welcome by Dr. Mary G.F. Bitterman
President, The Bernard Osher Foundation; Member of the Board of Governors, Commonwealth Club of California
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are currently hosting all of our live programming via YouTube live stream. This program was recorded via video conference on May 11th, 2022 by the Commonwealth Club of California.
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