“Deemed Inadvisable”: The University’s Wartime Japanese American Ban and the South Side Nikkei Community

Presentation Time: March 7, 2019, 3 p.m.

Location: The Joseph Regenstein Library, Room 122A, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL

Presenter: Eric Langowski, Japanese American Citizens League; Harris School of Public Policy student, CAPP ’20

Panelists: Hannah Hogan, former Woodlawn/Hyde Park resident; Mariko Ventura, former Hyde Park resident; Ross Harano, Hyde Park High School alumnus

Cost: Free. RSVP is required at deemedinadvisable.eventbrite.com.

A Japanese language instructor sits and talks with soldiers

A Japanese-American language instructor at the University of Chicago talks with soldiers. February 12, 1944. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf3-02838, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Description from event organizers: In June 1942, University of Chicago President Robert M. Hutchins found that it was “deemed inadvisable” to admit Japanese Americans as it might threaten the university’s war contracts. Over the protests of faculty and community members such as Professor McKeon, the university denied admission to dozens of Japanese Americans throughout the war, just as thousands of Japanese American refugees moved to Chicago, many to Hyde Park and the South Side. These refugees, neither white or black, confounded Chicago’s institutionalized segregation creating semi-integrated communities.

Presenting this forgotten history of exclusion alongside a panel of South Side Japanese Americans sharing their lived experiences, this event explores the legacy of the university’s exclusion utilizing the Library’s archival collections and cultivates the Chicago Japanese American story.

This event is sponsored by the University of Chicago Library and the Committee on Japanese Studies at the Center for East Asian Studies; and is partially funded by a community engagement grant from the Office of the Provost, the Office of Civic Engagement, the Mansueto Institute, and the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture.

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