The Managed Casualty: The Japanese-American Family in World War II (book)

Title The Managed Casualty: The Japanese-American Family in World War II
Author Leonard Broom and John I. Kitsuse
Original Publisher University of California Press
Original Publication Date 1956
Pages 226
WorldCat Link

A sociological study of the impact of mass incarceration on the Japanese family unit examining ten representative cases that trace their experiences in America from their prewar life, pre-incarceration experiences, relocation, and postwar adjustment.

Background of Authors and Publication History

Nisei John Itsuro Kitsuse (1923–2003) was born in Imperial Valley, California, before moving to Los Angeles as a child. In 1942, Kitsuse was incarcerated at Manzanar but after one year moved to Massachusetts where he attended Boston University and earned a B.A. He later graduated with a M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). As a sociologist focusing on issues of deviance, criminology, and social problems, he was a professor at San Diego State University, the University of Washington, and Northwestern University where he taught for sixteen years before he moved to the University of California, Santa Cruz. His work brought him into contact with fellow sociologist Leonard Broom (1911–2009) who was also known as Bloom. In 1941, Broom was the second sociologist hired in UCLA's newly established department of sociology and anthropology and as a result of his research on the effects of the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, Broom was highly critical of government policies during World War II. This event would shape his interest in discrimination and social inequality against minorities. Broom would collaborate with Ruth Riemer in 1949 to write Removal and Return , which describes the socio-economic impact of the war on Japanese Americans. In 1956, Kitsuse and Broom wrote The Managed Casualty , which examines the effects of the impact of incarceration on Japanese American families. This book was later republished in 1976 by the University of California Press.

Overview and Significance

As one of the first sociological studies on the impact of incarceration on the Japanese American family unit, The Managed Casualty was one the few studies that was not associated with any of the wartime sociology projects such as the Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study (JERS) or Bureau of Sociological Research (BSR). Broom and Kitsuse included a representative swath in their research in the categories of education, urbanization, religion, occupation, age, degree of acculturation, and generation composition within the ten case studies that comprise the majority of the book.

The first chapter details the social and cultural background of the Japanese American population, focusing on economic and family adjustment as well as political and religious participation. The second chapter examines the administrative context of relocation and incarceration, noting the impact of the war on incarceration policies and the formation of the War Relocation Authority. The authors describe the organization of the incarceration centers including the registration and segregation of the Japanese American population, and finally the closure of these centers. In the third chapter, the authors focus on the complexities of the family decision-making process and the impact of administrative policies before analyzing these collective themes in the case studies. As Broom and Kitsuse note, the incarceration of the Japanese American population was based upon two irreconcilable approaches: "the logical orientation which regarded the movement of a civilian population . . . as if it were a military operation" and "a humanistic attitude which . . . was expressed in such decisions as the maintenance of the family unit and the ultimate objective of reintegrating the population into national life." [1] As the case studies would demonstrate, these two contradictory aims would impact Japanese American families in different ways.

The majority of the book is comprised of case studies of ten Japanese American families and the impact of their incarceration during World War II. The cases themselves extensively detail family data such as religion, holidays, diet, and even reading matter and are told in such an impartial manner that one reviewer commented that "the facts in each case are given so compactly that the cultural and emotional conflicts that must have lain behind them often do not come through very sharply." [2] The accompanying charts and maps that are part of each case do help to illustrate the fact that many of the participants spent much of their early life on the West Coast, particularly California, although some did travel between Hawai'i and Japan. Following their incarceration, a number of individuals moved to areas like the East Coast and Midwest as a result of their displacement. As Broom and Kitsuse note as a result of the war "original Japanese family forms . . . underwent change and all but the most conservative rural families lost authority" as the family became the scene of cultural conflict between generations that was exacerbated by war. [3] While some families were able to successfully adjust as a group, others came to comprise the large group of "unrelocatables" revealing how variations within the family structure, cohesiveness, and cultural characteristics affected adjustment to administrative policies. [4]

Although the individuals in the case studies are not specifically identified, contemporary authors such as Greg Robinson, John Howard, and Jere Takahashi have cited these case studies as they examine the transformative effect of incarceration on the Japanese American population in the postwar period. Broom and Kitsuse do not make any generalizations of the impact of incarceration on Japanese American families but rather "suggest the variety of individuals and families that passed through the experience of the evacuation." [5] This book serves to illustrate the multiplicity of experiences and impacting variables that influenced Japanese Americans families prior to, during, and after World War II.

Authored by Kelli Y. Nakamura , University of Hawai'i

Find in the Digital Library of Japanese American Incarceration

For More Information

"Broom Collection." National Library of Australia. .

Broom, Leonard and Ruth Riemer. Removal and Return: the Socio-Economic Effects of the War on Japanese Americans . Berkeley, University of California Press, 1949.

Leonard Broom, 1911–2009, Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara Independent , Nov. 23, 2009. .

McNulty, Jennifer. " Sociologist John Kitsuse, Internment Camp Survivor, Dies at 80." University of Santa Cruz Newscenter, Dec. 3, 2003. .

Reinarman, Craig, et al. "In Memorium: John Itsuro Kitsuse."


Caldwell, Russell L. Pacific Historical Review 26.3 (Aug. 1957): 304–05.

Caudill, William. American Anthropologist , New Series 60.4 (Aug. 1958): 798.

Ishino, Iwao. American Sociological Review 22.5 (Oct. 1957): 606–07.

Miyakawa, T. Scott. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 314 (Nov. 1957): 206–07.


  1. Leonard Broom and John I. Kitsuse, The Managed Causality: The Japanese-American Family in World War II (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973), 16.
  2. William Caudill, review of The Managed Causality: The Japanese-American Family in World War II , by Leonard Broom and John I. Kitsuse. American Anthropologist , New Series 60: 4 (Aug., 1958), 798.
  3. Broom, 11.
  4. Broom, 48.
  5. Broom, 49.

Last updated May 7, 2024, 3:41 a.m..