George Takei Wants People to Stop Using the Phrase “Japanese Internment Camp”

George Takei Wants People to Stop Using the Phrase “Japanese Internment Camp”

-You have sort of asked people to stop referring to it
as Japanese internment camps, which is certainly
how I had learned it. Don’t you think it’s a misnomer?
-Well, you speak English. Well, Japanese internment camp, according to grammar,
would lead you to think that they were run
by the Japanese government. We were American citizens
of Japanese ancestry ordered by the President
of the United States to be imprisoned
in the United States — in our case, Arkansas — and guarded over
by the US military. They were American
concentration camps for Americans
of Japanese ancestry. We were in Japanese-American
internment camps, but the press always,
for the last 75 years, have been referring
to those camps as “Japanese internment camps,” and it drove me up the wall
every time I hear that. -And, uh, you know, it’s hard not to draw a parallel
to what’s happening now. How hard is it for you to see what’s happening to families
at the border right now, thinking that maybe what had
happened to you was part of American history
as opposed to American present? -It is a parallel,
but it’s a new low, because we as children were always together
with our parents. We were never separated, and our parents protected us from the reality
that was surrounding us. What we have
on the Southern borders now is a grotesque new low. Children being torn away
from their parents. Infants torn away, put in filthy,
disgusting cages with human waste in it. I mean, children — and to really underscore
the evil in this — some of them are scattered
to the far reaches of the United States
from the Southern border — Minnesota, Wisconsin,
New Jersey. I mean, intentional cruelty —
evil. And when the courts order them to bring the children
and the parents together, they are so incompetent that they can’t find the right
child or the right parents to put them together. It is an American tragedy
and an American disgrace. -Well, uh, there’s not much more
to say about it than what you’ve said, but, it
does — to see what you’ve gone through and to see where
you are now is — in a time where it’s often hard to find things to be hopeful
and optimistic about, that is something
I will look to. Thank you so much for being here
and speaking to us. Congratulations on the show. [ Cheers and applause ] George Takei, everybody.

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About the Author: Sam Caldwell


  1. when they say they can't tell exactly where each child is, I think starting to dish out hard time for the officials for each case would improve the system's memory remarkably quickly. I don't believe for a second that they don't know, it's just a convenient excuse to avoid taking any responsibility for the horrors they're carrying out. they know full well what they've done, and now everyone is trying to keep their head down by feigning ignorance.

  2. Do you realize you titled your other George Takei video "George Takei was sent to a Japanese-American Internment Camp" …yikes!

  3. I never once thought for a second that they were being run by the Japanese or that they occupants weren't Americans/Canadians. That's ridiculous.

  4. I'm a Vietnam Vet and this country SUCKS !!! If I'm ever in a situation where the national anthem is being played, I will stay seated and anyone who has a problem with that can go fly a fucking kite !!!!!!

  5. Sneak attack by a force with no honor,I pray we would do the same thing again.Better to be safe than sorry.I'd expect the same if Ireland attacked us.

  6. I'm so ashamed of my country, and it just keeps getting worse and worse. I really hope people turn out to vote in 2020, like numbers we've never seen before. It's not enough to just vote Trump out of office. It needs to be a landslide to show the world we're better than this.

  7. My only concern with calling them concentration camps comes from the fact that we as a society generally think of a concentration camp as a place meant for human extermination, and nothing less. The border camps, while absolutely atrocious and a horrible violation of human rights, are not designed for extermination.

    Why this matters is because we are dealing with an administration that has weaponized the concept of "fake news". Trump uses it to not only deflect any sort of criticism, but also to rile up his base and get them on his side. Trump supporters don't only love Trump, they love bashing on CNN, MSNBC, or anyone who calls him out. Toss them a legitimate error made by CNN, and his supporters go into a self-congratulatory frenzy about how this error, no matter how slight, proves them right all along.

    That's my concern. If they think we were wrong about the extermination camps, then maybe we were wrong about the appalling living conditions. Maybe we were wrong about the crime rates about immigrants. Maybe we were wrong about gun control, etc, etc. Again, these camps are an indefensible disgrace and can't be shut down soon enough, but it might not happen if we play into Trump's hands.

  8. Takei is amazing. As a Japanese descendant in America – facing the same injustices Koreans faced from Japan, he can truly understand what people who were enslaved and jailed in camps. Hopefully he will do a talk in Japan about recognizing and coping with despicable history. Never saw star trek (older ones) but I always liked Takei. So calm and collected, intelligent and has no enemies.

  9. Says "don't call it that thing"

    Looks at next video where title says "that thing"
    Me: "wtf Seth's internet dudes, dropped the ball on that one, way to be insinsitive"

    Watches vid, and he talks about naming a dog "blackie" with no remorse, and doesn't even reflect on how they shouldn't have named him that, while making other people rename stuff.

    Me now: *re enacting meme with Asian guy holding forehead in confusion and disbelief* "wtf was that??"

  10. Don't forget the modern-day corporations helping to build more concentration camps:

  11. I wouldn't call them Concentration Camps, because the Nazi's made that term synonymous with brutal torture, starvation, and death. But they were prison camps run by the American government and guarded by the US military, so they were definitely "American" internment camps. Those camps were a national disgrace, and what's happening today on the southern border is every bit as bad, if not worse. This is a very dark, disgraceful period in US history.

  12. How did the present U.S. government even set up a system like this? How can a pattern like that evolve nowadays in a country, that holds itself to be the role model for democracy? A country that is wealthy, powerful, and should be protecting human rights, no matter what!? This is ill-intentioned. It is evil and inhumane. It lacks basic respect and empathy for innocent, impressionable human beings. How can this exist in contradiction to what most citizens want, I am sure? I am sure most US. citizens with a heart don't what this at all. How does it still happen? It's frightening and infuriating. How can this be a democracy, that realizes the will of it's people? How can this happen in a system that calls itsself democratic? "Bringing democracy to other countries on the world stage?" How does the government operate sneakily on the side directly against the will of the people for over two years now? Where are the processes that would stop this? Why are there no "checks and balances"? Why do government officials and employees carry out these orders in a free (?) country, that is supposed to be humanitarian? Why aren't more Americans screaming, crying, howling in pain? Why isn't this the topic of a myriad of raging, page-filling newspaper articles, comments, of ongoing TV documentaries? Why is it – forgive Seth Myers, because it is o important and right of you to bring it up at all – why is it just a little segment in a satirical late night comedy show? Just a side note? Something os seriously and dangerously wrong in the U.S. at present. Let's hope it can be repaired.

  13. The silence in the room is so powerful. Mr Takei really hit a nerve with this interview. So happy Seth had him on. These things need to be said!!!!

  14. If there is one thing I’ve learned growing up is that there is no substitute for knowledge – however one comes by it.

  15. The immigration is illegal, period. You can try to appeal to emotions as much as you want. The United States isn't a dumping ground for foreigners to come in and pay a fraction of the taxes that true citizens pay.

  16. If you’d do the things that they are doing to the migrants now, during a war … you’d be in The Hague standing trial for crimes against humanity ……

  17. Obama never did build the FEMA Camps they apocalyptically feared,
    BUT Trump sure did, as his idiot cultists mocking Lady Liberty cheered.

  18. The one difference he is forgetting about in his parallel is that they were American citizens and it was wrong for the government to in prison American citizens without due cause without justification legal why do people forget the word citizenship when they start with this drama I’m not saying that it’s not inhumane or bad or things should be handled differently I’m just saying the difference is he was an American citizen wrongly imprisoned

  19. No comparison between Japanese Internment Camps, and what’s going on at the border. Absolute liberal nonsense.

  20. Not to mention the mabre theater when the kids are sent to deportation trials without a lawyer, or even an adult to represent them. Evil is the only word for it.

  21. It never occurred to me how the phrase "Japanese interment camps" really impacts the way americans view that injustice. I'm glad Takei had the opportunity to educate the rest of us.

  22. I have been instinctively using the correct term all of my life. People have always argued and tried to tell me that I was wrong, or being hyperbolic…

    American Concentration Camps are another national sin that must be confronted openly and honestly. To say otherwise deprives the victims of their dignity and the rest of us, our humanity.

  23. I'd like to see more about how the Jews were blocked from seeking asylum in America. Really terrible what we did to George Takei, but even worse for the wannabe immigrants who DIED because of our racism.

  24. I always looked at Japanese Internment Camp as sounding worse, as long as you know history it sounds more racist against one group of people. If we screw up (and we will as we are human) make it sound as bad as possible, own it so you don’t make the same sins later.

  25. No, no hope for the future. He expressly told Meyers that the current concentration camps are at another level of depravity without the protection of their parents.

  26. I watched George Takei who played Mr. Sulu on the only Star Trek I will watch talk about why he supports the Arizona legislation which will prohibit gays from being served food by Christians.

    Mr Sulu said he was selling his home and leaving Arizona as he felt the citizens of that state had a right to be upset with some of the activities of his gay men friends, especially when it came to sodomy.

    In an interview on MSNBC he said that since being gay is basically about sodomy he couldn't blame restaurants for refusing to seat gays who might still have some left over sodomy on their hands.

    After all we don't allow dogs in our restaurant unless they are server dogs on a leash for health reasons, why should we allow gays, unless they too are server gays on a leash said Takei.

    The first thing to realize about anal sex: cleanliness is next to Godliness i.e. hygiene… and sanitation!

  27. He’s absolutely right! There is no way to prevent repeating history when you tame it in one way or another. Right now in some parts of the country children’s history textbooks are stating some slaves were treated well and that just BLOWS MY MIND.

  28. Our current border crisis wouldn't be as bad (as bad as it is) , if this was all is was …but WE helped make their home countries unlivable …that's why these poor folks have tried to find ASYLUM here and that's not illegal to do so . the gangs they were fleeing were organised & hardened in our own prison system , then we delivered them to central america where they have taken over .

  29. When a victim of America's cruel history says that what the government is doing now is WORSE than what they endured, you know a new low has been hit…

  30. True. It's a horrific thought when you think about what countries are. A country basically means there are uniformed people with guns who will probably kill other uniformed people with guns because of fanatic idealism (or at least that's how a soldier is motivated). Objectively the point being, preservation of resources in a massively hooligan like manner, and that's being nice. That's the only reason why politics exist. Public relations to cover up how psychopathic it is to preserve resources for an economy. As soon as you hear the words conflict with x nation, be prepared to see your rights go out the window. In America we have always done this. Japanese weren't the last either. The border is a distraction honestly. It was happening under Bush, and Obama as far as I've read as well, maybe a little worse with Ttump but those children aren't American right? If you want a real story look up Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki. He was an American. He went to school in America. He was shot and killed by a drone strike, under Obama's administration, not even in these "crazy times" we live in with the Hamburglar in office. The point is a hooligan psychopath paranoid man in charge will look at a 16 year old kid and say, "we don't know if he is dangerous or not, do it". American or otherwise, and they'll call it something foreign just so you know why an American teenager had to die by a flying murder machine. That's history for you. When we go to war with Iran or North Korea or Russia… you better believe the military will come after anyone with those ancestries even today. We haven't changed, we just happen to be the biggest bullies in the neighborhood and that works. See? I can say it because I'm not a public figure.

  31. My teachers always just called them 'Internment Camps' and stressed the fact that they were American citizens. I think I lucked out in all my teachers. They went heavy on the treatment of Native American & Reservations too. Our government is very messed up.

  32. Mr. Takei, please keep spreading this message, you are a human history book! It needs to be heard from those who don't watch these types of shows!

  33. Trump is a disgrace as an American president and this policy should have been aborted as soon as it was put into action. But let's not forget that this policy was first put into action under the Obama administration but didn't get much traction in the media until trump took office. Now that is a disgrace.

  34. Mr Taki is right america has sunk to a new low there separating children from there parents to the point where the parents can't find them which I think is part of Trumps plan take away there children scare the bejesus out of them no more illegal immigrants but what about the children that are here now I know your going to keep them in cages then put them in foster care where god forbid they don't end up molested the Trump will probably have them branded then when there eighteen years old throw them back to Mexico then it will be there problem. This is america the hood is off and so is humanity.

  35. the camps at border are from Obama…Trump's just trying to fix it but soros and crews funded this big migration of people we can't support….are you all that blind??? no you are all just barking what the guy next to you is barking……better do your research

  36. This show is just propaganda now. Obama had family separation, Trump ended it. The Democrats are going out of their way to prevent detention centers from having resources, that way if the immigrants suffer; they can blame the President for their mess. The facilities are clean, but Ali Oki makes baseless claims.

  37. With Epstein's death, those border camps are where the elite pedophiles get their new supply of kids. Fact, many children are still not located and reunited with their parents yet…You have to ask, "why?"

  38. American Concentration Camps is also a misnomer though. There are 23 countries in North America. US people please call yourself US people or Muricans, if you must.

  39. George Takei, just love this guy. What a long, interesting life and such a talent. Given the harshness of his life as a child, he has bounced back in true hero fashion to carve out his niche in life and to go on to be a voice for others who have need of one. All the very best to you and yours, Mr. Takei.

  40. I really wish we could just start militias and over run these places. It sucks just sitting back and having the watch all this horror without fighting back. I hate to say it but it’s time for a civil war and for the people to tear down this abhorrent corrupt government we have now. I’m tired of being a pawn, I’m tired of feeling so utterly powerless to these atrocities. To hell with raiding Area 51, we should raid these places and free the children, free their parents, and fight back against the darkness that consumes this country.

  41. The only people who would interpret that phrase as meaning that Japanese ran the camps would be someone who has never heard of WWII, or is new to the english language. The vast majority of people know it means that Japanese were interred there. Anybody with a half a brain knows that "internment camp" is just another term for concentration camp.

  42. There is no parallel war is quite different . They just bombed pearl harbour and there was a possible invasion by the Japanese . This actor doesn't understand the border crisis like every other actor . Change history all you want but Japan bombed the US unprovoked and no one was trusted . The hostility toward the Japanese Americans at the time was high . The president probably saved there lives but the idiot Seth doesn't understand diddly squat about ww2 just like every other stupid entertainer .

  43. Its so sad what happened to the Japanese Americans, And yet, America STILL has no idea what to do about African Americans from Americas horrid past when It came to slavery.

  44. Now SETH is going after president FDR . You people on here are freaks . Probably saved there lives the boys in the South Pacific were coming home from horrific conditions and there was hatred for the Japanese they would have been brutalized and killed by Americans . You all are judges and you know nothing of the pain of war and what it drives people to do when they want justice and vengeance . Idiots .

  45. If this happen to hem an American icon imagine call you an Indian wen you hare not from India but you hare the real NATIVE AMERICAN brown skins

  46. americans are so hesitant to associate america with anything negative; this is only just one example of its shameful failure to own up to the past

  47. My country, Australia, has been enacting the same cruelty against refugees for so long. There were mass protests years ago. It did nothing. Good luck with caring actually having an impact.

  48. There are far too little people left who can talk about something like this first hand. Those people should be brought to the White House with the entire fucking staff of Agent Orange and himself so they have to listen what these people have gone through. Hold the cameras onto them as well so that they can't say "Nobody talked to us about this,…".

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