Historical Timeline: 1941
Arthur S. Komori and Richard M. Sakakida are recruited as undercover agents for the US Army Counter Intelligence Corps. Their mission: surveillance of the Japanese community in Manila in the Philippines.
December 7, 1941
7:53 am (Hawai’i time) Japan bombs the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawai’i.
9:45 am The air raid ends. Some 2,400 servicemen and about 50 civilians are killed, with about 1,140 others wounded. The deaths include that of 1,177 sailors and Marines aboard the USS Arizona battleship.1
10 am Hawai’i’s territorial governor Joseph B. Poindexter mobilizes the Hawai’i Territorial Guard (HTG), made up primarily of Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadets at the University of Hawai’i and volunteers from Honolulu high schools.
4:25 pm Gov. Poindexter declares martial law. Commanding General Walter Short becomes Military Governor.
FBI agents, Army and Navy counterintelligence officials, and police begin arresting Japanese American community leaders in Hawaii and the mainland.
Within 48 hours after the attack, more than 1,200 Japanese aliens are arrested.2
Within one week, the Justice Department has more than 3,000 Japanese aliens in custody.
December 8, 1941
President Franklin D. Roosevelt gives his historic Pearl Harbor radio announcement, stating that December 7, 1941, was “a date that will live in infamy…[the] United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”
The US and Britain declare war on Japan.
The US closes its land borders to all enemy aliens and to all Japanese, regardless of citizenship status.3
Hawai’i National Guardsman David M. Akui captures the first Japanese prisoner of war, Kazuo Sakamaki, who had been commanding a Japanese mini-submarine.
Gero Iwai, Counterintelligence Detachment, Hawaiian Department, and Douglas T. Wada, Office of Naval Intelligence, together with the FBI, interrogate Sakamaki. Iwai and Wada also analyze a captured navigational chart of the Pearl Harbor attack, one of the first direct sources of counterintelligence information.
December 30, 1941
The US Attorney General gives authorization for officials to search the homes of people of Japanese descent without a warrant, if at least one resident is a Japanese national.6
- 1″Determining the Facts: Chart 1: December 7, 1941 Losses,” Remembering Pearl Harbor, US National Park Service, accessed January 27, 2015, www.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/18arizona/18charts1.htm, and “Pearl Harbor Casualties, Death by Location, Fort, and Ship,” Pearlharbor.org, accessed January 27, 2015, www.pearlharbor.org/history/casualties/pearl-harbor-casualties/.
- 2″FDR and Japanese American Internment,” Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, p. 2, accessed on January 27, 2015, www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/archives/pdfs/internment.pdf.
- 3″The War Relocation Authority and the Incarceration of Japanese-Americans during WWII,” Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, accessed on February 3, 2015, www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/japanese_internment/1941.htm.
- 4Brian Niiya, “History of the Internment in Hawaii,” World War II Internment in Hawaii, June 4, 2010, accessed January 27, 2015, www.hawaiiinternment.org/history-of-internment.
- 5James C. McNaughton, Nisei Linguists: Japanese Americans in the Military Intelligence Service during World War II (Washington, DC: Department of the Army, 2006), p. 48.
- 6″The War Relocation Authority.”