Kenji

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Ariel Dejos
English 101, sec OL
12/3/10
Final Draft (REWRITE)

“Kenji” by Fort Minor

In the song “Kenji”, Mike Shinoda, of Fort Minor, describes the difficulties his family and others experienced, being Japanese, in the United States during World War II, a sad and often marginalized time in American history. The main character in the song, Kenji, awakens one day to the news of Pearl Harbor. His family is whisked away and thrown into internment camps with other Japanese-Americans for years during the war. Between 110,000 and 120,000 Japanese-Americans on the pacific coast were relocated to these War Relocation Camps (Manzanar). When they are released after the atomic bombings, they return home, to a site that has been ravished by police, mobs, and vandals. This was often the case for Japanese-Americans returning home from the camps.

Wanting a better life for himself, Kenji immigrates to America when he is 15, and works until he is able to purchase and build a store, raising a family in the process. “They called him Immigrant…” even though he is successful in his pursuit of the American Dream, he is still sometimes a victim of racism.

“The evil Japanese in our home country will be locked away,” following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese-Americans are ordered into internment camps where they live under the harshest conditions. Inside the camps, prisoners were provided with very little food, shelter, or sanitation utilities, not to mention overcrowding. The Heart Mountain War Relocation Center in Wyoming “was a barbed-wire-surrounded enclave with unpartitioned toilets, cots for beds, and a budget of 45 cents daily per capita for food rations” (Myer). Outside of joining the military, there was little hope amongst the prisoners of ever leaving the camps. Even in atrocious living conditions, Kenji remains hopeful that one day they’ll return to their normal lives, “cause someday we'll get out, someday, someday.”

Security was on high, the...
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