Korematsu Day Educator Resources

Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution

January 30: Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution in New Jersey

Fred Korematsu was an American civil rights activist who challenged the federal government for the illegal incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. January 30th is Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution in New Jersey, a day to recognize the contributions of Fred Korematsu, who spent his lifetime fighting against racial injustice and inequality, and reflect on the broader issues of basic rights, civil liberties, and justice for all. 

Teach Asian American Stories has curated a list of educator resources. Please reach out if you have any questions or would like support bringing this to life in your classroom: roslyne@teachasianamericanstories.org

Learning Institutions

Fred T. Korematsu Institute
Learn more about Fred Korematsu and Korematsu Day at their website. Educators may request access to their digital Educational Toolkit by emailing info@korematsuinstitute.org. Elementary school lesson plans may be found here.

California State Library: Internment Experience
Focus on Japanese American Internment featuring ‘choose your own’ digital experience with primary documents and rich photography.

Densho Learning Center
Densho documents the testimonies of Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated during World War II before their memories are extinguished. Densho offers educator resources geared towards high school classrooms, including lesson plans, films, primary sources, and recommended guides.

Japanese American National Museum
JANM offers educational resources including lesson plans, printable curriculum, primary source documents, and more.

The Smithsonian’s History Explorer offers a variety of educator guides, including:

JACL: Japanese American Citizens League
The JACL offers Curriculum Guides and Resources, including PDFs to primary source documents such as Executive Order 9066, Exclusion Poster, Loyalty Questionnaire, and Presidential Apology for Incarceration.

New York Times Teaching
Japanese-American Internment Using Primary Resources

Activities and Books

MISSION US: Prisoner in My Homeland
MISSION US is a series of historical games developed by The WNET Group with accompanying educational materials developed by Yuri Education Project. MISSION US: Prisoner in My Homeland is an interactive game that turns to World War II-era Japanese American incarceration through the eyes of a teenager, Henry Tanaka. Educator resources include classroom activities, classroom videos, primary sources and resources, and more.

We Hereby Refuse by Frank Abe and Tamiko Nimura
We Hereby Refuse is a graphic novel (middle school – high school) about Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration. Resources created in partnership with Yuri Education Project include:

They Called Us Enemy
They Called Us Enemy is a graphic memoir (middle school – high schools) from actor/author/activist George Takei featuring his firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the terrors and small joys of childhood in the shadow of legalized racism, his mother’s hard choices, his father’s tested faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future.

  • Educator Guide created in partnership with the Japanese American National Museum.

Fred Korematsu Speaks Up
Fred Korematsu Speaks Up (upper elementary school – middle school) is a biography about Fred Korematsu’s fight against discrimination. The story explores the life of one courageous person who made the United States a fairer place for all Americans, and it encourages all of us to speak up for justice. Read Social Justice Books’ review here.