Date of Award:

5-1994

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Arts (MA)

Department:

Education

Committee Chair(s)

Richard S. Knight

Committee

Richard S. Knight

Committee

Barre Toelken

Committee

Daphia R. Pierce

Abstract

This project examines Japanese American youth in Topaz High School, a school set up in a War Relocation Center during 1942 to 1945. It looks at what students were taught there, as well as what they felt, thought, heard, and saw. Oral histories collected from Japanese American former internees constitute the main methodology. An oral history enables us to know the feelings and emotions involved in evacuation at the same time as it provides us with more human insight, such as human perspectives and personal reminiscences, which are not available in historical, social, or political accounts.

Findings of this project are both positive and negative personal recollections of Topaz High School and life in the War Relocation Center. Despite the adverse circumstances in the War Relocation Center, Japanese American youth maintained their morale and determination to do well in school. The research shows that an appropriate educational program was provided in Topaz High School in spite of an unusual school setting in a War Relocation Center, and Japanese cultural and traditional values in education facilitated the academic achievement of Japanese American youth.

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