Ethnic Conflict during World War II

This paper discusses problems faced by Japanese-Americans during World War II.

This is an investigation of different theories on ethnic conflict. Using the book, “No No Boy” by John Okado, a story about the treatment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, the author illustrates how the the main character’s ethnicity was used against him and his family. It is an example of how being different can cause discrimination and hatred among the general population. Differences in religion and race are often the two most common forms of ethnic conflict and many people who are not ethnically the same as everyone else, find themselves caught between two worlds, in this case, Japan and America.
The ethnic conflict theories of Connor are also important. They focus not on what is the basis of the conflict, for example race, religion or language. Instead the focus is on identity, where the conflict is between groups having different concepts of identity. It is this that leads to the basic us-them syndrome. (Connor) This is also one of the major themes of the No-No Boy. The story told focuses on the struggle of Ichiro to find his identity. It is not finding his identity as either a Japanese or an American, it is simply finding the identity that the environment requires. In the end of the story it appears that he has found his identity, where in fact he has only given up his identity and taken that of the environment. The fact that the only identity available is the American identity is also shown when we consider Ichiro’s family. Ichiro is not even able to identify with those like him. His mother holds onto the Japanese culture and considers herself Japanese, she goes as far as saying, it is she who is dead because she did not conduct herself as a Japanese and, no longer being Japanese, she is dead. (Okada, 41) The end result for her is suicide.