Why did papa burn the flags and papers in Farewell to Manzanar?

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teachsuccess | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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When Pearl Harbor is attacked by the Japanese, Papa burns the Japanese flag he has brought with him from Hiroshima thirty five years earlier. He also burns all papers and documents which connect him to Japan. However, Papa's commercial fishing license and Japanese descent makes it easy for the FBI track him down.

The author, Jeanne Wakatsuki, relates that her father is eventually taken away by the FBI when they discover him staying at Woody's home on Terminal Island. Woody is one of the author's brothers. FBI deputies interview the five hundred Japanese families living on the island; they ransack houses, frantically looking for anything which could conceivably be used for signaling Japanese planes or ships. Anyone suspected of loyalty to the Emperor of Japan is arrested.

Jeanne learns from the newspapers that her father has been arrested for supposedly delivering oil to Japanese submarines off the coast. The author relates that she does not see her father again until a year has passed.

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