Infamy: The Incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans in WWII

Play Ep. 7: “Ohio v. Incarceration” HERE

The Japanese American incarceration during World War II is a policy decision that will live in infamy. Alex analyzes why did FDR and the American government forcible remove 120,000 Japanese Americans to 10 camps across the American West? We speak with three experts about this complicated and fateful decision that remains a stain on US history.

We sit down with Shirley Ann Higuchi, the Chair of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation. Heart Mountain was one of the 10 camps and where we spend the majority of our time in this episode. You can visit them online at Shirley’s family was confined to the Heart Mountain Relocation Center during the War and she tells the story in her excellent new book, Setsuko’s Secret: Heart Mountain and the Legacy of Japanese American Incarceration (2020). You can buy the book here.

Author and journalist Bradford Pearson joins the show to discuss why this decision was made, what were the consequences for the incarcerees and the legacy of Japanese American incarceration. Brad’s hit new book from Simon & Schuster, The Eagles of Heart Mountain: A True Story of Football, Incarceration and Resistance in World War II America (2021). We discuss the war time hysteria that gripped the nation following the Pearl Harbor attack, Executive Order 9066 and the resistance to this treatment by Japanese Americans. And how does football play such a big role in the Heart Mountain story? Buy Brad’s great book here:

We check in with Karen Robertson of the Ohio History Connection about the connection to the Buckeye State in this episode. She tells us the tragic story of Mae and Kingo Takasugi, a young married couple in Alliance, Ohio that is wrongly incarcerated at the Tule Lake camp in California. Karen is the author of the fun book, Little Ohio, about 100 small towns in Ohio. Check it out here.

Don’t forget to visit Ohio v. the World at For all of our past episodes and other great history podcasts from our friends at the Evergreen Podcast Network. Please rate/review the show and you can reach out to us at

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