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[Detail] Warehouse, Manzanar Relocation Center

A study of Ansel Adams's Manzanar photographs can be enhanced by critical thinking projects rooted in the collection. Practice chronological thinking by tracing U.S.-Japanese relations, or use analysis and interpretation to examine Born Free and Equal. Explore the controversial nature of the evacuation of Japanese Americans through issue-analysis and research, and demonstrate your understanding of this complex subject in a creative writing project.

Chronological Thinking: Timeline of U.S.-Japanese Relations

Understanding U.S.-Japanese relations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is essential to understanding and evaluating the government's decision to evacuate Japanese Americans from the Pacific Coast during World War II. Use basic history textbooks to trace the development of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Japan. Begin your timeline with the Gentlemen's Agreement of 1907-8 and end it with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

  • What was the Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1907-8 intended to do? What was its actual impact?
  • On what grounds did the U.S. Supreme Court decide in its 1922 cases, Ozawa v. United States and Yamashita v. Hinkle, that Issei, or people born in Japan, were not eligible for naturalization in the U.S.?
  • How did the Immigration Act of 1924 affect U.S.-Japanese relations?
  • To what extent did Japanese immigration affect U.S.-Japanese relations? What other factors affected U.S.-Japanese relations?
  • What was the relationship between popular opinion in the U.S. and the country's official policy with Japan?