On February 19th, American Public Media will release Order 9066, a podcast documenting and discussing Japanese American incarceration in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Episodes will be released through July and played as three separate hour-long radio episodes.
The podcasts’s title and release date are in reference to President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing Executive Order 9066 on February 19th, 1942, the order that forced anyone of Japanese descent into “relocation centers.” February 19th is also called Remembrance Day, in honor of those who had to live through the atrocities mandated by Executive Order 9066.
Order 9066 will chronicle Japanese American incarceration through the lens of its survivors. An American Public Media press release explains:
Sab Shimono and Pat Suzuki – veteran actors and stage performers who were both incarcerated at Tule Lake and the Amache camp in Colorado – will narrate the episodes. The series will cover the racist atmosphere of the time, the camps’ makeshift living quarters and the extraordinary ways incarcerated people adapted; the fierce patriotism many Japanese Americans continued to feel, the 33,000 who served in uniform in the U.S. military, and the ways incarcerees were divided against each other as they were forced to answer questions of loyalty. It will also cover the movement for redress that eventually led to a formal apology from the U.S. government, and much more.
Of course, not only is the timing of the podcast’s release date relevant. In times of sociopolitical turmoil and other notable, uncomfortable similar executive orders still circling the air, Japanese American incarceration has been something for many to reflect on, though perhaps still not as much as the situation merits. On the “the series’ themes of fear, intolerance and perseverance,” co-producer Stephen Smith said, “The tragic events surrounding Order 9066 pose a major historical lesson about how America should, and should not, respond when the nation’s founding principles are under attack.”
More information on Order 9066, including photographs of objects from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History’s Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II, can be found on the podcast’s website.