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Archive of Japanese Americans detained in internment camps is available online


During World War II, the United States rounded up more than 125,000 people of Japanese descent. The U.S. imprisoned those people inside what were called internment camps until the end of the war. Courts upheld that security measure at the time, though the United States much later apologized and paid compensation. The names of those interned have been published and searchable online through the Irei Project, which is dedicated to memorializing the internment.


And now it's also available on ancestry.com. The database includes photographs, newspaper archives and other information about life in the camps. The Irei Project's digital list also corrects a lot of errors.

DUNCAN RYUKEN WILLIAMS: Roughly about 28,000, perhaps even up to 30,000, names have some level of misspelling or error or discrepancy that we ended up correcting.

INSKEEP: Duncan Ryuken Williams is director of the Irei Project.

RYUKEN WILLIAMS: When there were errors in government rosters, we checked World War II draft records, prewar and postwar U.S. federal census records, in Ancestry's collections.

INSKEEP: The searchable data might include, for example, information about what year a person came to the United States or how much time they spent in Japan or what their parents did for work.

MARTIN: Ryuken Williams says he hopes it can help repair some of the harm to detainees and their families.

RYUKEN WILLIAMS: This kind of ability to acknowledge people, give their personhood and dignity back when the government took that away from them, is in itself an act of reparation.

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