The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) is saddened by the passing of Roger Daniels, the pre-eminent historian and scholar of his generation on the World War II Japanese American experience. He was 95 years old when he passed away on Dec. 9, 2022.
Daniels was the Charles Phelps Taft Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Cincinnati. Beginning with “The Politics of Prejudice: The Anti-Japanese Movement in California and the Struggle for Japanese Exclusion,” he wrote widely on Japanese American history and the history of immigration, including “Prisoners Without Trial: Japanese Americans in World War II” and “Guarding the Golden Door: American Immigration Policy and Immigrants Since 1882.”
He also served as a consultant to the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians from 1981 to 1983.
JANM collaborated with Daniels on several initiatives over the years. He was the keynote speaker at the 2009 Day of Remembrance at JANM and spoke at the museum’s 2013 National Conference, “Speaking Up! Democracy, Justice, Dignity,” in Seattle.
He also permitted JANM’s Discover Nikkei website to reprint his essay, “Words Do Matter: A Note on Inappropriate Terminology and the Incarceration of the Japanese Americans,” which was published in 2005. “Roger’s death marks the loss of an early and outstanding historian of immigration history and World War II Japanese American history,” said Ann Burroughs, president and CEO. “His books and writings are part of the field’s foundation. His historical perspective on American immigration and World War II incarceration helped inform current issues of immigration, racism, and terminology regarding the incarceration. We feel his loss not only in our community but across the nation. We will miss him deeply.”