John Rademaker

Name John A. Rademaker
Born August 26 1905
Died November 11 1985
Birth Location Tacoma, Washington

John A. Rademaker was a sociologist and the first community analyst at Amache , June 1943 to June 1944.

Early Career and Publications

John Adrian Rademaker (1905–85) was born in Tacoma, Washington, the second of three children born to Dutch immigrant parents. After graduating from the College of Puget Sound in 1930, he studied law at the University of Washington but left after a year, after which he supported himself by doing farm work, painting houses, and teaching. In 1933, he landed a position as a research assistant for the Washington Emergency Relief Committee, then a teaching fellowship at the University of Washington's Department of Sociology, where he finished his M.A. in 1935 and his Ph.D in 1939. Among his colleagues at the university were Forrest LaViolette and S. Frank Miyamoto , both of whom shared an interest in Japanese Americans and both of whom would join Rademaker as staff of either the War Relocation Authority or the Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study in the wartime concentration camps. Rademaker's interest in the local Japanese American community manifested itself in his publishing several articles on Japanese Americans starting in 1934 and becoming "possibly the first Caucasian" to join the Japanese American Citizens League in mid 1930s. After finishing his dissertation—titled "The Ecological Position of the Japanese Farmers in the State of Washington"—he got married to Elizabeth Dewey Spencer and traveled across the country to Lewiston, Maine, where he took a teaching position at Bates University. [1]

Community Analyst at Amache

After four years, he left Bates to become the first community analyst at Amache, arriving in June 1943. Rademaker remained at Amache for one year. Rademaker wrote that his main role at Amache was to explain administrative rules and regulations to Nikkei, and to explain Nikkei reactions to administrators.

Rademaker's most notable contribution to Nikkei-administration relations at Amache was in relation to the crisis over the draft, beginning in February 1944 until he left Amache in June of the same year. He first tried to explain Issei objections to the draft and their complaints over the continued segregation of Nisei in combat units of the Army. First among Issei complaints were the broken promised made to Issei veterans during and after World War I. Issei were not given citizenship in exchange for their wartime service as promised. It required years of lobbying and a special act of Congress in 1935 (the Nye-Lea Bill) before veterans were granted the citizenship they had been promised. Issei argued that Nisei should have their full citizenship rights restored before being drafted into the military. Next Rademaker interpreted Nisei responses. He characterized Nisei as split between those who favored resistance and those who responded with what he called "excessive patriotic zeal." Nisei were particularly critical of the segregated nature of the military and were alarmed by the high casualty rates the 442nd suffered over the summer of 1943.

As a community analyst Rademaker was sympathetic to Issei and Nisei concerns and complaints, but he worked with administrators and the community council in an effort to dissuade Nisei from resisting the draft directly. He wrote that even though opponents of the draft were "probably justified," he warned that bad publicity might make resettlement efforts more difficult for all Nikkei after the war. He encouraged community leaders to use what he called the "shock treatment" to break down the defense mechanisms of would-be resisters and to persuade them to reconsider their actions. He told administrators that persuasion along with positive reinforcement for Nisei willing to accept the draft would limit the numbers of resisters.

Postwar Career

After a year at Amache, Rademaker accepted a faculty position at the University of Hawai'i (UH), leaving in the summer of 1944. He was later joined on the UH faculty by former Community Analysis Section (CAS) colleagues John Fee Embree and Katharine Luomala . In Honolulu, he once again built ties with the Japanese American community and authored articles on that community for the sociology department's journal, Social Process in Hawaii and other publications as well as a 1947 article in Applied Anthropology in which he compared the work of the CAS with that of the University of Hawai'i's War Research Laboratory. Struck by the persistence in the continental U.S. of rumors that Japanese Americans in Hawai'i had committed acts of sabotage on December 7, 1941, he decided to write a book on the wartime contributions of Hawai'i Nikkei . With the financial backing of the Emergency Service Committee —the $11,000 contributed by the group towards the book's publication marked the final act of the wartime organization before dissolving—Pacific Books published These Are Americans: The Japanese Americans in Hawaii in World War II in 1951, a lavishly illustrated volume on local Nikkei contributions to the war effort. He also became active in a multi-racial political organization, the Hawaii Association for Civic Unity, being elected its vice-president in 1947. [2]

After three years at UH, Rademaker left in the fall of 1947 for Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. He became the chairman on the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and remained at Willamette for the rest of his academic career, becoming emeritus in 1970, though he published no further writings on Japanese Americans. He passed away in Multnomah, Oregon, on November 11, 1985. [3]

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho and Cherstin M. Lyon , California State University, San Bernardino

For More Information

John Adrian Rademaker Papers Finding Aid. Archives & Manuscripts Department, University of Hawaii at Manoa Library, April, 2006. .

Lyon, Cherstin. Prisons and Patriots: Japanese American Wartime Citizenship, Civil Disobedience, and Historical Memory . Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2011.

McFarling, J. Ralph. Final Report: Community Analysis Section, Granada Porject, Amache Colorado. July 10, 1945. War Relocation Authority, Department of the Interior. The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. .

Publications on Japanese Americans by Rademaker

Rademaker, John A. "The Japanese of the Puget Sound Region." In Race and Culture Contacts . American Sociological Association. New York: McGraw Hill, 1934.

———. "The Japanese in the Social Organization of the Puget Sound Region." American Journal of Sociology 40.3 (Nov. 1934): 338–43.

———. "Japanese Americans." In Our Racial and National Minorities . Ed. Francis J. Brown and Joseph S. Roucek. New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1937.

———. "The Ecological Position of the Japanese Farmers in the State of Washington." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Washington, 1939.

———. "Hawaii Will Never Be Quite the Same Again: A Sociologist's View of the Island Situation." Pacific Citizen , Dec. 22, 1945, III-17, III-24. .

———. "Consequences of Evacuation of Japanese Americans from the Pacific Coast of the United States." Social Process in Hawaii 9–10 (July 1945): 98–102.

———. "Race Relations in Hawaii, 1946." Social Process in Hawaii 11 (May 1947): 29–46.

———. "Community Analysis in a Free Community in Peacetime: The Article Is a Report of the Work of the Anthropology War Research Laboratory." Applied Anthropology 6.3 (Summer 1947): 9–20.

———. These Are Americans: The Japanese Americans in Hawaii in World War II . Palo Alto, Calif.: Pacific Books, 1951.

Correspondence as Community Analyst

John A. Rademaker to Edward H. Spicer, February 16, 1944; John A. Rademaker to James O. Lindley, March 30, 1944; Rademaker to Donald E. Harbison, April 1, 1944. National Archives and Records Administration, RG 210, Field Basic Documentation, Community Analysis Reports, M 1342, Roll 15.


  1. John Adrian Rademaker Papers Finding Aid, Archives & Manuscripts Department, University of Hawaii at Manoa Library, April, 2006, ; The Bates Student , Oct. 6, 1939, 1 , all accessed on June 5, 2014; Bill Hosokawa, "From the Frying Pan," Pacific Citizen , May 19, 1951, 5, , accessed on Jan. 12, 2018.
  2. Rademaker Papers Finding Aid; letter, Mitsuyuki Kido to John Rademaker, Nov. 27, 1948; letter, John Rademaker to Mitsuyuki Kido and Ernest Murai, July 20, 1949, both in John Adrian Rademaker Papers, University of Hawai'i, Correspondence, Box 1; Pacific Citizen , Jan. 25, 1947, 3, accessed on Jan. 12, 2018 at .
  3. Rademaker Papers Finding Aid; Oregon Death Index,, accessed on June 5, 2014 at . In letters to Hawai'i friends, Rademaker suggests that he resigned from UH due to political pressure stemming from reaction to speeches he'd given in the community, including one on the army's role in the mass removal of Japanese Americans. See letters, Rademaker to Chieko Matsuda, Sept. 28, 1947 and to Mitsuyuki Kido and Ernest Murai, July 20, 1949, both both in John Adrian Rademaker Papers, University of Hawai'i, Correspondence, Box 1. On March 2, 1945, he told "a large gathering a the university" that the mass removal of Japanese Americans on the West Coast was largely driven by economic interests that sought to benefit. Pacific Citizen , April 21, 1945, p. 6, accessed on Jan. 12, 2018 at .

Last updated Aug. 24, 2020, 2:50 p.m..