Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson gives readers an idea of what it was like to be Japanese in the 1940’s and 50’s. In our nation at that time, much of the population felt that Japanese and Japanese Americans could not be trusted. Americans did not like the immigrants coming here and taking jobs that were once theirs. Last, of course, the evacuation and containment of the Japanese and even Japanese American citizens made it clear that America did not trust them. Prejudice against Japanese and Japanese Americans was most prominent in the western states, more specifically California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and Nevada. These also happen to be the states most populated by people of Japanese descent. The disproportion can be seen in a poll taken in December of 1942 by the American Institute of Public Opinion. When asked “Do you think the Japanese who were moved inland from the Pacific Coast should be allowed to return to the Pacific Coast when the war is over?” Seventeen percent nationally said they “Would allow none to return,” whether they were citizens or not. In the western states, nearly twice as many felt this way, an astonishing 31 percent (Merrick 207). This data does not show, however, whether the inlanders were less prejudiced or merely wanted to send the Japanese back to the West. It seems the war was an excuse to lock these people away for a while. Discrimination existed long before the war began with a swift attack on Pearl Harbor. Interestingly, Hawaii had few racial problems, despite being at the site of the devastation. People often fear what they do not understand. Why did Germans and Italians not experience such distinct discrimination? European culture is fairly similar to American culture; it is, after all, where most of American culture and inhabitants came from. The Japanese, on the other hand, have severely different customs than the United States, customs that must have been hard for people to understand or value. Many White people saw the quiet reserve of the Japanese descendants as an indication of a cold, heartless, unfeeling person. To Caucasians, dark faces with slanted eyes were something they could not understand; and therefore, could not trust.