Archives in Context: Teachable Topics from the CSU Japanese American Digitization Project

Glossary in Context

Coram Nobis – A recourse in law or legal order/writ allowing a court to correct its original judgment upon discovery of a fundamental error that did not appear in the original proceedings and would have prevented the original judgment from being pronounced.

Habeas Corpus – A recourse in law or legal order/writ requiring that a person being detained or imprisoned be brought before a judge or into court to determine if their detention is lawful and, if not, to secure their release.

Incarceration – Preferred term for referring to the 120,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry in the War Relocation Authority camps who had no due process of law like those interned in Department of Justice or U.S. Army camps. This violation of civil and human rights was justified on the grounds of military necessity.

Internment – Discretionary power in wartime to detain foreign nationals who are not U.S. citizens guided by the Geneva Conventions, international standards governing conditions and treatment of the imprisoned. Best applied to WWII prisoners in Department of Justice or U.S. Army camps, not the WRA camps. These people were interned following a recognized legal procedure and the forms of law. They were citizens of a nation against which the United States was at war, seized for reasons supposedly based on their behavior, and entitled to an individual hearing before a board.

Japanese American ancestry - 
Loyal – Faithful in allegiance to one's lawful sovereign or government (see Merriam Webster Dictionary definition above for extended information).

Naturalization – The process by which U.S. citizenship is acquired and granted to a lawful permanent resident after meeting the requirements established by Congress.

No-Nos - Colloquial term for those who answered "no" to questions 27 and 28, the so-called "loyalty questions" on the Application for Leave Clearance form (aka the loyalty questionnaire.) As part of the segregation of the "loyal" and the "disloyal," the no-no group were moved to Tule Lake (Densho Encylopedia).

Renunciation – The action of the Nikkei who gave up their U.S. citizenship and were defined by the Department of Justice as “enemy Aliens.”

Segregation – Refers to the separation to Tuke Lake of those defined as “disloyal” by the U.S. government based on the loyalty questionnaire or a stated desire to return to Japan or renounce their U.S. citizenship and go to Japan. The term “resegregation” was used by Tule Lake incarcerees who planned to go to Japan after the war to separate themselves from the “loyal” people in the camp.

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