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Bears in History

The Forgotten Impact of the Japanese American Internment at UC Berkeley

In 1942, months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Executive Order 9066 was issued, allowing the Secretary of War and xenophobic military commanders to prescribe military areas which vested them the power to exclude any and all people, specifically 120,000 Japanese Americans and have them sent to internment camps. Over two-thirds of them were U.S. citizens and many of them were children. None had committed any acts of sabotage throughout the war; they were imprisoned without trial simply because of long-standing racist views towards Japanese Americans and a desire to curb their growing economic influence.


Among those imprisoned were hundreds of UC Berkeley students, who were forced to withdraw from school and give up their education—sometimes permanently. Bears in History is a research project seeking to uncover the forgotten stories of three members of the UC Berkeley community: Yoshiko Uchida, Mine Okubo, and Monroe Deutsch.

Spread around the Berkeley campus are three life-size art installations representing these three figures and their contributions to the Berkeley community. Below, you can learn more about each of their lives via Adobe Spark projects which conducted primary source research.

JARDA- Yoshiko Uchida.jpg

Yoshiko Uchida

Yoshiko Uchida was an award-winning author and a senior at UC Berkeley when she was interned at the Topaz internment camp.

JARDA_Bancroft- Mine Okubo.jpg

Miné Okubo

Miné Okubo was a distinguished alumna of the UC Berkeley art department and an important woman artist.


Monroe Deutsch

Provost Monroe Deutsch was a remarkable champion of the Japanese American UC Berkeley community who faced intense public persecution and vilification.

Who Are We?

This project is brought to you by the students in CWR4B "Images of History". We have been awarded a Creative Discovery Grant for an installation project to raise awareness of the impact of the Japanese American Internment on UC Berkeley, where approximately 500 members of the Cal community were forcibly removed in violation of their constitutional rights. 

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