Conscience and the Constitution

Lettersto the Editor
Nichi Bei Times, April 30, 2002 

Who are the Resisters? An Answer

by Mits Koshiyama

Dear Editor:

This letter is in response to the letter "Who are the Resisters of Conscience?" asked by Mr. Sus Satow of Sacramento in the April 18 edition of the Nichi Bei Times. Since I was a Heart Mountain resister and a member of the Fair Play Committee, I will provide the answers.

The resisters were a group of principled young Japanese Americans who sincerely believed that they should be enjoying the freedoms and rights as proclaimed in the Constitution of the United States, no locked up behind barbed wire fences of a concentration camp and denied the very rights they were asked to defend.

What was so wrong to protest racism and the loss of our civil and constitutional rights? Mr. Satow must be reminded that the very foundation of America was built on the right to protest against oppression and in our case against racism.

Mr. Satow made accusations that are not true and I don't know where he gets his information. He claims that the resisters of conscience viciously attacked JACL (Japanese American Citizens League) people in 1942 at the Thanksgiving conference in Salt Lake City. There was no draft in 1942 and the Fair Play Committee was formed in 1944.

He also indicated that the resisters answered questions 27 and 28 of the loyalty oath with "no, no" answers. I answered the questions with "yes, yes" answers, but qualified 27 by saying that I would serve only if my rights were returned to me first. I have a copy of my original loyalty questionnaire and if Mr. Satow wants to see it, I would be happy to show it to him.

Also he states that the resisters wanted to repatriate to Japan. No resister wanted to go to Japan. Mr. Satow doesn't know the difference between the words repatriate and expatriate. No Nisei can repatriate to Japan.

The resisters have never been against the veterans. Each did what he believed the right thing to do. I have three brothers who served, so our family was pretty patriotic. Many of the resisters had brothers who served.

On Dec. 24, 1947, President Truman's amnesty board gave a presidential pardon to the resisters, saying that they fully understand what we fought for.

I am looking forward to May 11th, the JACL program for the resisters.

Mits Koshiyama
Heart Mountain resister
San Jose, Calif.

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Updated: May 7, 2002

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