The title is taken from the number of the executive order that called for the “relocation” of Japanese Americans to guarded camps inland. United States Executive Order 9066 was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942. This order officially declared areas of the United States—primarily on the West Coast—as “military areas” and authorized the Secretary of War and military commanders to remove “any or all persons” who presented an alleged threat to security. Japanese American residents and citizens were most affected by this order; nearly 120,000 were forcibly removed from their homes and sent to distant inland internment camps.


Discussion Questions

  1. 1.The protagonist refers to himself as “just a Nisei kid," but otherwise goes unidentified. Why do you think the creators decided not to name the hero of this story?

  2. 2.What difficulties, if any, do you think might have existed for a superhero of Asian descent in pre-WWII America even prior to December 7, 1941, the day that Pearl Harbor “changed everything”?

  3. 3.The “Nisei Kid” says he knows he can defeat the other heroes who come to “arrest” him, yet he refrains. Why do you think he surrenders to the authorities instead of fighting back?

  4. 4.Of the nearly 120,000 interned, more than 60% were nisei—second-generation Japanese Americans—or sansei, third-generation Japanese Americans. Why is this fact significant?

  5. 5.Compare and contrast the treatment of Japanese Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor to the treatment of Arab and Muslim Americans in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001.

IMAGES OF INTERNMENT


Top to Bottom: 1. The "Nisei Kid," in his high-flying days


2. The infamous announcement of the wartime relocation and incarceration of Japanese Americans


3. The Nisei Kid finds himself interned alongside
his fellow Japanese Americans

In one form or another, many of the stories in Section One of Secret Identities spring forth from the seminal event of 20th century American history: World War II. These stories use the prism of the superhero genre to explore the particular effect of the "War to End All Wars" on Americans of Asian descent. Spanning both the past and the present, they tackle topics that include the wartime incarceration of innocent Japanese Americans, the heroism of nisei (U.S.-born Japanese American) soldiers, the devastating atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the long legacy of Asian American soldiers of conscience.


9066, pg. 25

Story by: Jonathan Tsuei; Art by: Jerry Ma

In this short story, an unidentified superhero, referred to simply as the "Nisei Kid,” finds himself interned along with his fellow Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor is attacked. Despite his high-profile status as a costumed crusader and his proven commitment to truth, justice and the "American Way," he nevertheless finds himself singled out by his peers and imprisoned alongside tens of thousands of other innocent American citizens, solely because of his ethnicity. “9066” is a meditation on the fragility of civil rights and liberties in a time of fear and uncertainty, and the injustice of judging character based solely on race, ethnicity, national origin or ancestry.