I don’t have a “why,” exactly, to explain the situation I wrote about here. There was a long history (many hundreds of years) of Japan’s proud and fierce warriors taking as much of China as they wanted — and Korea, too.
I wrote about Sun Yat Sen and Chiang Kai-shek recently. There is a grim incident that ties into the Japanese internments and Chiang Kai-shek that shaped the attitudes of millions for decades. It is STILL a sore spot in international relations.
It began when the Japanese decided to conquer large parts of China again in 1937, as they’d done many times. They assumed that this would be easy; experience had taught them that the Chinese put up little effective resistance. But there was a new opponent they had not counted on: Sun Yat Sen’s brilliant protegé, now a military commander of considerable ability.
This was a pretty shameful thing, though many considered it grimly necessary. The country rose up in outrage against its citizens when the country of their ethnic ancestry declared war. They were excluded from coastal areas, rounded up, transported to internment camps (also called concentration camps at the time) and their possessions were sold without compensation.
They were Italian. And German. And Japanese.
And then, following Canada’s lead, the American public (goaded by American press) pushed for President Franklin Roosevelt to do the same thing. He ultimately did.