Mine Okubo

Citizen 13660

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Citizen 13660 Summary & Study Guide

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. This 27-page guide for “Citizen 13660” by Mine Okubo includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis. Featured content includes commentary on major characters, 25 important quotes, essay topics, and key themes like The Wartime Erosion of Individual Identity, Family, and Social Life and The Connection Between US Racial Dynamics and Policy.

Miné Okubo’s Citizen 13660 is a graphic memoir about the Japanese American author’s experience in Japanese internment camps during World War II. First published in 1946, Citizen 13660 is told from Okubo’s first-person narrator experience, although the author draws herself in third-person in nearly every scene.

Plot Overview

After Okubo’s mother’s passing, she lived with her brother in Berkeley, California until the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. In response, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 that authorized the internment of all Japanese people residing in the US. Okubo and her brother were sent to Tanforan Assembly Center, a former racetrack in San Bruno, California that was converted into an internment camp. They were forced to sign away their property to the US government. Okubo began sketching what she saw of internment life at Tanforan Assembly Center, which consisted of living with her brother in barracks or former horse stalls and other deplorable living conditions.

After the Wartime Civil Control Administration assessed the poor living conditions of Tanforan Assembly Center, they decided to relocate the internees to camp Topaz in Utah. When Okubo arrived at Topaz, she observed that while conditions were only slightly improved, the harsh open terrain made the winter and following spring difficult. Still, she also noted the ways in which internees made the best of life in the camp, which included modifications to living arrangements for better comfort, developing new forms of entertainment, and forming new communal bonds with one another.

Tensions arose when camp administration decided to issue loyalty tests as part of registering internees. The administration expected internees to swear allegiance to the US and disavow any remaining loyalty to Japan. Those who did not submit were sent to a separate camp while those who professed allegiance to the US were permitted to reenter civilian life. Okubo’s brother left the camp first, and then she herself left after finishing her drawings.

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