The Power Of Words

Over the last year or so, the issue of the use of euphemistic language to describe America’s concentration camps where over 110,000 Japanese Americans were unjustly imprisoned during World War II has been the topic of considerable discussion.

On Thursday, September 3, 2009, the Nichibei Times published a story by Mako Nakagawa about this issue, calling for wider discussion of the use of euphemistic language as a starting point to eventually eliminate the use of language considered by many to be misleading and an attempt to soften or weaken the language used to describe the camps and the Japanese American Internment.

To read the story, click on: The Power of Words.

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3 thoughts on “The Power Of Words

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  1. I’m Sansei born in the 60s. Dad served in the Army while his brother’s, sisters and father were incarcerated!

    I didn’t know much about all this because dad never talked about it. That silence lead me to do research into family history and then the concentration camps of WWII (WRA) documents. It’s a shame this happened because I feel it split families apart, and I didn’t get to know my grandfather because he had returned to Japan after being in this country for fourty years. Aunts married in the camps, so they left with their husbands to other states, and an uncle went to other camps for work furloughs and later joined the Army as well. Every one was split apart. People died in these camps for lack of health care. One of my dads cousins died giving birth in the camp.

    Once story I heard past from my dad to my older brother was that when grandfather came home, all that was left was this anvil, and I remember seeing it as a kid, and my dad using it on the farm for iron work repairs.

    Many families came home years later with everything they worked for either liquidated or stolen! I’ve always used the term concentration camps because that’s what it is to me, I’m dumbfounded when I see other Japanese American’s using the term relocation camps…I suppose they don’t know any better, and should be educated on what happened. So it’s a nice thing for this issue to be addressed because words do have power, and it can be used to strengthen a group or continue to oppress a group for generations.

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