our full page devoted to the JACL
apology to the Heart Mountain resistersand watch a
70-second video clip of Heart Mountain resistance leader Frank
Emi's remarks on May 11, 2002. Even as the Japanese American
Citizens League was apologizing to Emi and others for its suppression
of wartime resistance, he was challenging the group to go further
and address the question of its wartime collaboration with incarceration
[requires free Quicktime Player]. The
links below are for news coverage that was available online
as of June 7, 2002:
Channel 4, San Francisco, "JACL
To Apologize To WWII Draft Refusers," by Vic Lee, May 9
(KRON has now removed the 4 minute streaming video
that made use of scenes from "Conscience and the Constitution.")
you can bear to read them, here is a near-complete list of links to recent opinion
columns, letters to the
editor, claims and counterclaims provoked by the Nisei
Resisters of Conscience of World War II Recognition and
Reconciliation Ceremony on May 11, 2002 iin San Francisco. The articles
below appeared in slightly different forms in the Pacific
Nichi Bei Times,
and Rafu Shimpo
newspapers. The key article may be the
last one, provided by scholar
A test of loyalty, patriotism and constitutional
rights that divided Japanese-Americans 55 years ago is once again threatening to resurrect
resentments that many thought were quietly buried in the past.
Confusion surrounding JACL's role during World War II has
been cropping up during the current debate on whether or not national JACL should pass a
resolution of reconciliation with the Nikkei resisters of conscience.
It's an issue that still divides the community.
Fiftysome years ago, 315 draft resistors, most notably the 85 Heart Mountain
Fair Play Committee members, challenged the United States government
during World War II. They
resisted volunteering for the U.S. armed forces until they and their families
were released from concentration camps and restored their constitutional
For this, many in the Nikkei community ostracized and vilified the
resisters, labeling them as "disloyal Americans." Ironically, some of these same
resisters would go on to serve in the Korean War. While the rift in the
community is still visible, some of the very groups whose members once denounced the
resisters are slowly extending the olive branch of reconciliation.
OAHU, Hawaii - In a groundbreaking attempt for
reconciliation for one of the most divisive Japanese American community issues, a Hawaii
Nisei veterans group has decided to recognize and honor those who refused to comply with a
government draft order during World War II.
Frank Emi said no. He refused to fight for
freedom and democracy overseas while denied it at home.
George Yoshinaga said yes. Like thousands of his generation, he left
his mother and sister behind in an American internment camp and marched off to war.
Half a century later, the wounds have not healed. One of Emi's
fellow draft resisters will not speak publicly about what happened because his wife's
memories of being taunted by neighbors still make her sob. Some of the resisters are
unwilling to have their names published. Some have not even told their children what
happened back then.
ON A CHILLY SPRING MORNING IN the Big Horn Basin of
Wyoming, a young man rises before dawn to pack. Noiselessly, so as not to disturb his
parents and sisters who sleep just a few feet away. He folds a few days' worth of T-shirts
and underwear, a couple of clean shirts and a change of trousers. Practical things go into
the small suitcase. Nothing sentimental. Nothing valuable. Not that he has anything
precious here, anyway.
Resisters" by Treena Shapiro
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 30, 2000
National Public Radio "All
interview with Robert Siegel November 30 (requires RealPlayer plug-in)
video clip from KCTS
November 30, 2000 (requires RealPlayer plug-in) For an interview by Enrique Cerna with Producer/Director Frank Abe and
Minidoka resister Frank Yamasaki, move the slider 13 minutes and 30 seconds into
the 29:15 minute show. We appear after the glass
LOS ANGELES (AP) When Frank
Abe was studying the history of World War II in
high school, he never understood how 120,000 Japanese-Americans let
themselves be herded into internment camps and held for years without putting
up a fight. Now he knows the answer some did resist.
FRANK ABE belongs to the original "model
minority" -- Japanese-Americans. It's supposed to be a compliment, but my sansei
friends gag whenever they hear it. Many Americans, I think, need to believe in the myth of
an obedient and completely assimilated minority. Abe is out to destroy it.
As Americans celebrated the nation's birthday Sunday,
Mits Koshiyama's thoughts turned to patriotism, loyalty and dissent. "From the
very beginning, I thought it was wrong that they would draft us without giving us our
rights," he said. "I mean, why were we in this concentration camp when we didn't
do anything wrong?"