image d’illustration : Still from here were you stood (2017), © Kondō Aisuke
Cet entretien a été mené par Catherine Nesci avec Jessica Nakamura après la parution de son ouvrage Transgenerational Remembrance: Performance and the Asia-Pacific War in Contemporary Japan (Evanston, Illinois, US, Northwestern UP, 2020). Mémoires en jeu n’avait encore jamais abordé la question de la transmission dans le cadre mémoriel du Japon et de la très lourde histoire de domination de cet ancien empire sur l’Asie.
Jessica Nakamura enseigne le théâtre asiatique, les arts de la performance et les cultures visuelles à l’Université de Californie (campus de Santa Barbara). Elle a publié dans des revues telles que Modern Drama, Theatre Journal, Performance Research et Trans Asia Photography Review.
Catherine Nesci enseigne la littérature française et comparée à l’Université de Californie (campus de Santa Barbara). Spécialiste des littératures modernes et contemporaines, elle poursuit aussi ses recherches dans le domaine des études mémorielles, du handicap en littérature et des humanités médicales. Elle codirige la collection « Culture and Conflict » chez l’éditeur De Gruyter (Berlin/Boston).
Catherine Nesci: In the postwar period in Japan (1945-1989), the Pardon of Hirohito and the taboo forbidding of any criticism against the imperial family resulted in a situation of national amnesia that barred any acknowledgement of war aggression after the war. Even the “Greater East Asia War” became the “Pacific War”, according to the American occupation authorities, a renaming that erased the eight-year long China War. But the end of the Cold War, the death of the Emperor in 1989, and the new interdependent economies of Asia fostered the reappearance of ghosts. More generally, in the early 1990s a new global “memory matrix” prompted the return of long-frozen memories of atrocities perpetrated by Japanese soldiers (Gluck; Gi-wook Shin & Daniel Sneider). And yet, along with nationalist and revisionist narratives, the issue of missing or disputed archives and the di#culty of knowing the past created a paradoxical, and, for survivors, painful situation. In what ways does your own work remedy or address this aporia?
Jessica Nakamura: My book focuses on topics that were elided for decades during the postwar period, including Japanese military aggression, imperialism, and wartime atrocities. When thinking about these topics, the paradoxical memory matrix of the contemporary period that you describe exposes the limitations of traditional modes of documenting the past. When survivors testify about their experiences, conservative historical revisionists demand written records to verify them, documents that do not exist (either because of wartime record keeping practices or the mass destruction of wartime records immediately after surrender). I take as a given the impossibility of being able to fully access information about past events and instead look to performances as alternatives to engaging with the past that focus on listening to survivors and entering into dialogue with past events.
My book is interested in how people relate to the war regardless of their relationship to or knowledge of it. Given the fact that almost all Japanese citizens were mobilized for the war effort, as soldiers or civilians, at home or abroad, I insist that the issue of remembrance in contemporary Japan is one that everyone shares, one that performance can facilitate. In so doing, my approach undoes the logic of historical revisionists that it is necessary to prove the events from the war. And I also aim to take stress off of survivors of atrocities to come forward and testify about their experiences, an act that we know may be not possible or desirable.
C.N. : Can you clarify the ceremonial and religious context that frames your inquiry, especially the relationship between remembrance and ghostliness in the commemoration of the war dead, for example in the Yasukuni Shrine for the fallen Japanese soldiers of the Asia-Pacific War (1931-45), which, as you mentioned, has strengthened since the end of the twentieth century?
J.N. : In thinking about ceremonial and religious contexts, it is important to note that during the war, the state promoted a particular mode of remembering the war dead, enacted, in part, by the Yasukuni Shinto Shrine. In State Shinto, the state-sponsored belief system that supported the nation and emperor, war dead return to Japan to Yasukuni, where they were apotheosized as gods of the nation. Termed eirei, these spirits of the nation were for all Japanese to mourn and honor. While Yasukuni’s ties to the state were severed in the postwar period, the shrine still exists as a major place to remember the war in contemporary Japan.
I explore how the physical plant of Yasukuni demonstrates the continued presence of wartime attitudes in the contemporary period. While the shrine is no longer state sponsored, its physical site remains in Tokyo, and spirits of the war dead are still honored in regular ceremonies. I read the shrine layout and architecture, asserting that they position visitors to honor war dead, rehearsing their own eventual journey to the shrine as fallen soldiers in future wars. Eirei, the conception of ghostliness at Yasukuni, is predicated on a particular idea of the war dead: young, male, and willing to serve. I consider examples of when people dress up like soldiers at Yasukuni on special memorial occasions, in particular the anniversary of the war’s end on August 15. As I explore, their embodied presence starts to undo Yasukuni’s idealized image of the war dead, which leads me to explore the ways in which Yasukuni’s ghostliness depends on the fact that the spirits of the dead are not visible or embodied. In later chapters, I contrast the work of embodiment and presence in performance against the disembodied eirei of Yasukuni.
C.N. : How do you conceptualize performance and its reception by a younger generation audience in relation to the revenants of the past war? Why does performance make “memories matter”, as you state?
J.N. : The field of Performance Studies has long explored the ways in which performance serves as a vehicle for remembrance. I work from scholars including Richard Schechner, Diana Taylor and Rebecca Schneider, who consider performance as an act of transfer (Taylor) or as evoking that which remains (Schneider). Many of the scholars in Performance Studies focus on what performance transmits from the past to the present. Based in Japan’s contemporary historiographical debates, however, I focus on performance in relationship to the unknowns of the past to consider performance as an alternative mode of creating dialogue with the past. The performances I explore engage with the elided past in multiple ways: someone like Shimada Yoshiko brings back forgotten subject matter in her representation of Japanese “comfort women” ; some like Imai Masayuki’s recurring productions of Winds of God model repeated inquiry into the past for audience members; and others like Yamashiro Chikako’s Inheritance Series insist that past events may not be so easily accessible outside the places they occurred. These performances all make “memories matter” through qualities of performance, including liveness and co-presence, repetition, and embodiment. In their approaches, the performances manifest attributes of past events in front of audience members, whether on the theater stage or in the gallery space. They physicalize elements of the past for their audiences or, in the case of Hirata Oriza’s Seoul Shimin play series, call attention to what does not appear.
C.N. : Your exploration of transgenerational hauntings is tied to your own personal history. Do you want to comment on your own transnational family “phantoms”?
J.N. : Growing up in Hawaii, I knew one story about the war: my great-grandfather was one of the few Japanese immigrants from Hawaii to be incarcerated in an internment camp in the mainland US. It was not until I was an adult that I learned his incarceration was related to the wartime activities of his brother, a general in the Japanese army. Learning about my great-granduncle’s war involvement was shocking, and I was also surprised by my emotional response to discovering this part of my family history: at the time, I felt horrible to be linked to someone so key in Japanese war aggression. This experience highlighted the emotional effects that the war still has and the very impossibility of fully knowing my own family’s “phantoms”. My family’s history came in the form of scattered details in conversations with my father. My grandmother, who also lived through the war as a young adult on Oahu, had passed away at that point, so I was getting the story third hand, and my father could only answer so many questions. Many other details were simply lost.
My experiences shaped my investigation into the reemergence of war atrocities in Japan—the shock at learning them and the impossibility of knowing them—and lead me to ask what we do with an inaccessible past. I learned about others in Japan who similarly discovered their family member’s wartime histories decades after the war’s end. At least one of the artists in my study, Kondō Aisuke, like me, was an adult when he learned about his great-grandfather’s incarceration in a US internment camp. One of the central issues that Kondō’s work explores is connecting to this past, one that is irretrievable—for instance, in one of his videos, here where you stood, he visits the site of the Topaz internment camp, where his great-grandfather was held, but his video shows empty fields, focused on what is not there today.
C.N. : You differentiate your own approach of transgenerational remembrance from the concept of “postmemory” that was developed by Marianne Hirsch, which you consider too much dependent on Western trauma theory. However, other scholars working on the Asia-Pacific war have done it. Can you explain your reluctance for doing so?
J.N. : My book focuses on aspects of the Asia-Pacific War that were elided in the postwar period and that reemerged after the death of Hirohito and end of the cold war in 1989. These long-term erasures in collective remembrance happened in public discourses on a number of levels, including at war museums and in textbooks. To engage with the complexities of these multiple and longstanding omissions, I distinguish my own approach of “transgenerational remembrance” as more broad than Hirsch’s “postmemory”, focused on the lingering memories (however ghostly) and acts of recuperation. I use transgenerational remembrance to emphasize the crossing of memories after the major mnemonic ruptures of the postwar, in which transgenerational remembrance may be erratic and messy, may not involve living survivors, and may not even be possible. And I explore several performances that insist on the dangers of recall or the impossibility of remembrance.
I also want to clearly distinguish between the inability to know the past brought by systematic and institutional erasure in postwar Japan and the incomprehensibility of trauma. Key to thinking about the Asia-Pacific War in contemporary Japan is considering how to respond to a past full of gaps, where information about what happened might not be accessible. Trauma theory and transgenerational remembrance as I define it, are not mutually exclusive, and certainly, events in the war resulted in lasting trauma for many people. I also reference trauma theorists, including Nicholas Torok and Maria Abraham’s idea of the “phantom”. With transgenerational remembrance, however, I shift my focus to the ethical question of how people relate to their country’s dark past despite not being able to fully know about it. Moving away from trauma theory also shifts my attention from the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which became a site of collective national trauma in the postwar period, and as scholars like Lisa Yoneyama have asserted, the remembrance of these traumatic events contributed to a postwar narrative of the war that elided Japanese war atrocities (Yoneyama).
C.N. : You address several dimensions of war (“historical, epistemological, and affective levels”) and you mention that war memories are “the burden of young generations” (p. xvi). Why, and how, should the younger generation relate to all three levels of the war past? Shouldn’t there be a balance between forgetting and remembering the crimes and experiences of the generation of their grandparents?
J.N. : I understand the need for a balance between forgetting and remembering, but the systematic and institutional erasure of acts of Japanese aggression and imperialism during the postwar period means that younger generations were already burdened by issues of war remembrance in the contemporary period. When survivors reemerged in the early 1990s to testify about their experiences and topics re-entered public discourses, younger generations were confronted with the war past. Some of these confrontations were intensely affective and personal, like the one I described about my own family history. Some confrontations were more historiographical and epistemological, resulting in shock at discovering aspects of the Japan’s war history that a person never knew. For instance, one of the artists I discuss, Shimada Yoshiko, learned about the Japanese military “comfort women” system in the early 1990s. Her shock at the existence of this system that institutionalized sexual violence prompted her to create work that contrasts the “comfort women” system with the complicity of Japanese women’s domestic activities that supported the nation’s militarism. This issue is further complicated by efforts by the conservative historical revisionist movement to remove topics from textbooks, including the “comfort women”. As I discuss, the remembrance of younger generations at the levels of the historiographical, epistemological, and affective has deep ethical stakes: given active and ongoing efforts to erase information about Japanese war atrocities, the burden is further placed on younger generations to not only relate to the war, but to inquire into it, despite apparent gaps in the historical record.
C.N. : Can we speak a little more about the model Japanese philosopher Takahashi Tetsuya (whose inspiration is Derrida’s reflection on the spectral) uses to develop the concept of “response-ability” tying both “response” and “possibility” in Japanese? What is the relevance of the ethical for your own inquiry?
J.N. : This is related to your question about the burden of younger generations: Takahashi helps make the distinction conbetween being responsible for specific actions during the war, which he terms “wartime responsibility”, and a more general sense of responsibility to the war past, which he terms “postwar responsibility”. While “wartime responsibility” has been addressed in legal realms, “postwar responsibility” applies to all Japanese—a critical distinction given the fact that legal avenues that addressed wartime responsibility, in particular the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, limited legal action to a handful of Japanese military officials. In thinking about the “postwar responsibility” of responding to survivor testimonies, Takahashi develops the term “response-ability”, one that insists that everyone is obligated to respond to those who divulge their experiences. Working from Takahashi, I consider that the ethical is central to war remembrance in contemporary Japan. I apply “response-ability” not only in the need to respond to survivor testimonies, but given the erasure about information regarding the Asia-Pacific war, to think about responding to what we don’t know. Throughout, I identify the ways in which performances activate “response-ability” for younger generations, whether through modeling a response, situating audiences in a position to respond, or attempting to elicit an audience response to the past.
C.N. : Although older generations constitute the main audience of the Noh Theater, you still use this traditional form of performance to analyze various forms of visual performances in contemporary Japan. Why does the Noh offer such a powerful lens to you?
J.N. : In thinking about all of the difficulties of transgenerational remembrance and the need for response-ability, I use the appearance of the Noh ghost as a lens to understand how performance facilitates responses to the past. In Noh plays featuring ghosts (approximately half of the current repertoire), plots typically follow a pattern: a travelling priest enters, stopping to rest partway through his journey; a ghost appears, first disguised in human form, and after the priest asks the ghost about its connection to the place, the ghost reveals its true identity, exits, and reenters in its true ghostly form to relive a moment from its life that is keeping it from moving on from this world.
The Noh ghost’s appearance helps me emphasize how performance provides alternative modes of remembrance. First, Noh places agency on the ghost: it is the ghost who appears to the living; it is the living who must ask the ghost questions. Because plots of Noh ghost plays are based on existing source material, don’t involve dramatic twists, and are familiar to their audience, Noh is not interested in what happened. Instead, Noh plots emphasize the dialogue between the living and the dead. Through the lens of the Noh ghost, I explore the ways in which contemporary performances deprivilege content (or information about the past) and instead highlight the need to engage the returning past in dialogue.
C.N. : Regarding one of your uses of the ancestral Noh Theater to consider alternative models of interaction between the living and the dead, you show that artists (one as playwright, the other as videast) undermine the consumption of the kamikaze figure in popular Japanese culture (p. 28-29). I am wondering about the de-familiarization process the artists enact. In what ways do they call the audience to the response-ability you are calling for?
J.N. : The defamiliarization of these artists, Imai Masayuki and Koizumi Meirō (videast), prompts audience response-ability through their use of repetition. I contextualize their works against the affective circulation of the kamikaze image in popular culture in the rise of kamikaze films after 2010. In these highly emotional films, the kamikaze pilot appears as a young man eager to sacrifice his life for the nation. And films like The Eternal Zero (2013), where two twenty-something siblings look into their grandfather’s life as a kamikaze, cast remembrance as passive in which younger generations receive information about the past, never questioning or engaging in dialogue with it. In conbetrast to recurring image of the kamikaze in film, Imai’s and Koizumi’s work use repetition to enact dialogue. I apply to the appearance of Noh ghost to consider repetition as efficacious: the ghost appears twice, once disguised and once in true form, and then repeats the story of the moment that has trapped it in this world. As I identify, repetition in Noh is not the same thing over and over again, but it is rather a process of deepening inquiry, eventual change, and, for the ghost, salvation.
I use this idea of repetition to consider the ways in which Imai’s and Koizumi’s pieces reevaluate the kamikaze figure with response-ability in mind. Versions of Imai’s play, Winds of God, about two comedians who are sent back to a kamikaze training camp at the end of WWII, appear multiple times on stage and as film and television adaptions from 1988 until 2015. Because each production is slightly different, Winds of God destabilizes the image of the kamikaze for audiences, making it, in Brechtian terms, appear strange to move away from passive acceptance of kamikaze. Instead, it is Imai as writer, main actor, and sometimes director of these productions who models inquiry into the past. Koizumi, in his video pieces, uses repetition as strategy to directly confront the image of the kamikaze that is created in popular culture. Portrait of a Young Samurai (2009) [fig. 2], for instance, shows multiple takes of a scene inspired by kamikaze films, in which a young man says goodbye to his family before heading off to a training camp. Off camera, Koizumi continually interrupts the actor, asking him to perform the scene again with more “samurai spirit”, eventually voicing the character’s mother, begging her son not to go. Through these repetitions, Portrait exposes the ways in which the popular culture image of the kamikaze is constructed and highly emotional, identifying audience response-ability in the very production of the kamikaze’s popular culture image.
C.N. : In all your examples from different visual media and embodied performance, you insist on the fact that younger Japanese and Japanese-American generations should question “the past again and again” (p. 47). In what ways are theatrical and visual performances able to foster critical acts of remembrance, and more so than historical inquiry or fiction (even manga or anime), for example?
J.N. : What is unique about the performances I discuss to “foster critical acts of remembrance” is the way in which they attend to their audiences. Performance, whether in theater or performance art in gallery spaces, is based on the live exchange between performer and audience member. This foregrounds questions of the ethical (following Emmanuel Levinas) in which audience members can come face-to-face with the other. With Noh in mind as a performance form that portrays an encounter with a ghost who returns and demands engagement with the living, I consider how performances can put its audiences in a face-to-face relationship with the past. This is even more critical when dealing with a past that cannot be known. All of the artists I write about consciously situate their audiences in relationship to the past. Their performances insist on inquiry and dialogue, but often it’s inquiry and dialogue into what is inaccessible or what we might not be informed about. Some artists, as in the case of Imai, rehearse such investigation into the past. Other artists, as in the case of Koizumi may directly challenge their audiences. Portrait of a Young Samurai is an example of how Koizumi considers audience complicity in perpetuating hegemonic narratives of the past. He occupies the same position as the viewer, so when he continually stops the actor, demanding that he up his emotional intensity, it becomes clear that Koizumi and the viewer share a part in constructing this kind of image: in other words, the creation of the affective kamikaze image in popular culture is for us, and by consuming it, we play a role in perpetuating it.
C.N. : In your chapter 3, you develop fully the theory of ghosting you adapt from the Noh theater, and you argue that, in the 4-play series, Seoul Shimin, the audience becomes the waki that listens to the ghost, in this case, it is a huge and repressed one, Japan’s Korea colony in the early twentieth century. The colony stays actually off or beyond the stage, hors champ/off-screen in some ways. Can you comment on the connection between home and empire in such a framing?
J.N. : In this chapter, I explore how the Noh waki, as the living being to whom the ghost appears, can serve as a model for transgenerational response-ability. In Noh plays, the waki, typically a priest, engages the ghost in conversation and takes action on the ghost’s behalf, often offering to pray for its salvation. Most waki do this despite not personally knowing the ghost, being multiple generations removed from the ghost. I apply the waki to consider how Seoul Shimin (1989-2011) prompts its audience to relate to Japan’s colonial past. Set during Japan’s colonization of the Korean peninsula, starting from 1909, the year before official annexation, the series moves each play ten years forward, from 1909 to 1939. Despite plays taking place during major moments in colonial history, these events stay offstage and are largely absent from character dialogue. Applying ghosting, an idea from Performance Studies, to understand how Seoul Shimin evokes associations about what is not directly staged, I assert that Seoul Shimin situates its audience as waki to inquire and take action into the colonial past.
Central to my analysis is Seoul Shimin’s use of its domestic setting: each of the four plays follows a day in the life of the Shinozakis, a family of stationery merchants living in Seoul. When Seoul Shimin evokes audience associations between the workings of home and empire, the series prompts inquiry into the nation’s imperial past and, moreover, shows audience complicity in its absence from current historical understandings. Historically, Japan enacted a policy of assimilation in Korea, and Seoul Shimin’s portrayal of the home highlights the ways in which domestic quotidian activities became acts of subjugation for colonial subjects. By following the Shinozaki family history, the home becomes a site that obscures Japan’s colonial history, with later plays ignoring or eliding ongoing major historical events and events that served as the backdrop of previous plays.
C.N. : In your chapter 4, you focus on the body as a “dialogic medium for conjuring missing figures” (71), and turn to the case of the “comfort women” from Japan who were forced to perform sexual labor in military brothels. As you mention, these women survivors do not call out to younger generations; and they are indeed missing as much as they have been elided from dominant historical narratives. In reading a durational street performance (Shimada’s recent Becoming a Statue of a Japanese Comfort Woman), you argue for another positive relationship of younger generations to the unclear, the absent, the unavailable. Can you comment on this relationality?
J.N. : Shimada’s Becoming a Statue of a Japanese Comfort Woman (2012) [fig. 3] durational performance stages a figure who has yet to come forward, the Japanese “comfort woman”. As I explore, her work calls attention to the elisions surrounding remembrance of the “comfort women” in general and that when “comfort women” came forward in the early 1990s, there were few of them who did so and even fewer still alive today. I explore how Shimada’s own embodied presence engages with those absent. Shimada’s performance triangulates between the missing Japanese “comfort woman” and The Peace Monument, the statue of a Korean “comfort woman” at the site of weekly demonstrations by the Korean Council for Women Drafted for Sexual Slavery by Japan across the street from the Japanese embassy in Seoul. As Elizabeth Son describes, The Peace Monument statue activates passersby, inviting them to put “our bodies on the line next to the statue” (Son, p. 158).
When Shimada takes the same pose as the statue, her live body adds supplementary levels of ambiguity that engage passersby into a relationship with something that is not entirely clear. Unlike the original statue, Shimada’s work is not designed within the framework of a protest (though her work is in solidarity with the Korean Council). Instead, I read her body as evoking multiple figures, including the Japanese “comfort woman” during the war and at other points in the postwar period. Seated in front of the embassy, she can also reference Japanese women supporting the war effort more generally. The potential for reading Shimada as multiple figures highlights the elusiveness of this figure and turns the question onto the person viewing her, asking from what position this person encounters the Japanese missing “comfort woman”.
C.N. : Your last two examples, you recognize, are more pessimistic, as they focus on loss due to temporal distance and dislocation, and the impossible transfer back from the past into the present (p. 93-95). For example, in the artistic works you examine, you emphasize the inaccessibility of the testimony of Okinawans who were victims of Japanese nationalism and the difficulty of listening to video testimonies. What would you suggest is the ethical attitude in this case, for those who still want to listen and share?
J.N. : I turn to remembrance of the Battle of Okinawa and Japanese American internment to trouble how transgenerational remembrance operates. I contextualize memories of the Battle of Okinawa within Japan’s continued imperial relationship with Okinawa; annexed in the late 19th century, the prefecture experienced mass civilian casualties during the Asia-Pacific War and still bears the burden of these atrocities, while housing a majority of the US military bases in Japan.
I look at Yamashiro Chikako’s Inheritance Series as calling attention to the ways in which memories of the Battle of Okinawa must be situated within physical sites of atrocity. The Inheritance Series contrasts the video testimony format, where the speaker is often removed from a specific place, and the listener and viewer share the same role. Yamashiro’s pieces distinguish between her role as listener to survivors in Okinawa and the role of the viewer of her work, potentially outside the prefecture. In these photographs and videos, Yamashiro as listener takes the focus to show the difficult and often emotionally painful process that she undergoes. In her video, Your Voice Came Out Through My Throat (2009) [fig. 4], we see Yamashiro mouthing a testimony of a man who survived his family’s suicide during the Battle of Saipan. As we hear him speak, she has a clear emotional reaction to his story, pausing when the man talks about his family’s death, and then continuing on despite her apparent pain. Yamashiro’s Inheritance Series sets the parameters for an ethical attitude for those who still want to listen and share: this attitude must be situated within Okinawa, in which one must listen despite pain or potential for failure. I did not talk about this at length in my book, but Yamashiro’s Inheritance Series identifies pain as part of the experience of listening to testimony.
In my final chapter on Japanese American internment, artists show the ethical attitude of disruption. Unlike the other topics I discuss, the US Civil Liberties Act of 19881 resulted in legal redress for those incarcerated. The Japanese artists I analyze, however, highlight the ways in which the event is still unresolved. In here where you stood (2017) [fig. 5], Kondō’s ethical attitude can be considered as both summoning and exorcising the historical event. In the video piece, as he walks down a road at the former site of the Topaz internment camp, an image of his great-grandfather appears, specter-like over Kondō at the site. Towards the end of the video, Kondō takes his great-grandfather’s cane and swings it, as if to fight off the spirit of internment. I consider these moments as insisting that Japanese American incarceration is still an issue that must be addressed. ❚
Gluck, Carol, 2019, “Matrices of Memory: Revisiting the Wartime Past in Japan”, Mémoires en jeu/Memories at Stake, n° 9, summer-fall 2019, p. 127-31.
Schechner, Richard, 1985, Between Theater and Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania Press.
Schneider, Rebecca, 2011, Performing Remains: Art and War in Times of Theatrical Reenactment, Routledge.
Shin, Gi-wook & Daniel Sneider, 2016, Divergent Memories: Opinion Leaders and the Asia-Pacific War, Stanford UP.
Taylor, Diana, 2003, The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas, Duke University Press, 2003.
Son, Elizabeth, 2018, Embodied Reckonings: “Comfort Women”, Performance, and Transpacific Redress, University of Michigan Press.
Yoneyama, Lisa, 1999, Hiroshima Traces: Time, Space, and the Dialectics of Memory, University of California Press.
1 The federal act (Public Law 100-383) granted redress of S20,000 and a formal presidential apology to every surviving U.S. citizen or legal resident immigrant of Japanese ancestry incarcerated during World War II. First introduced in Congress as the Civil Liberties Act of 1987 (H.R. 442) and signed into law on August 10, 1988, by President Ronald Reagan, the act cited “racial prejudice, wartime hysteria and a lack of political leadership” as causes for the incarceration as a result of formal recommendations by the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC), a body appointed by Congress in 1980 to make findings on and suggest remedies for the incarceration. Densho Encyclopedia