Thursday, January 1, 2004
We start the new year by catching up to the passing of one of the earliest
supporters of this project. Brooks Iwakiri passed away on Nov. 6 in the
Burbank area at the age of 82. Brooks was among the first private donors
to support the initial production of our film. It was his support that,
among other things, allowed us to travel to Los Angeles and film a marathon
interview session with the Heart Mountain resisters and James Omura. That
session in the dance studio of Jeanne Nakano and Dick Obayashi in 1994,
in between stops for the planes flying overhead, provided most of the
sound cuts that appear in the finished piece. In the case of Omura, Art
Emi and Dave Kawamoto, those interviews came just in time. Brooks believed
in us and in the cause of restoring the good name of the Heart Mountain
Fair Play Committee. Many of the resisters attended his funeral on Nov.
15 at Fukui Mortuary. It's Brooks' name and that of his wife Sumi that
appear in the underwriting credits at the top of our show. Brooks always
enjoyed a good laugh and we were lucky to keep in touch with him over
the years. Our condolences to Sumi, his son Vince, and the rest of his
family. He will be missed.
passage to report, that of Nisei poet Toyo Suyemoto. John Streamas writes
from Bowling Green State University in Ohio:
Hi, Frank. I have some sad news to pass along. I have received word
from friends in Columbus that my dear friend Toyo Suyemoto has died.
I don't know many details, but I know that her health has been failing
for years due to a variety of ailments. Last summer when my wife Val
and I visited her, she told us that her weight had declined to 80 pounds
and her height had shrunk to 4'6". But still she was sharp and
lucid as ever. On January 14 she would have turned 88 years old.
I spoke with her on the phone just last Wednesday.
I know that Lawson Inada and Frank Chin tried for
years to persuade her to send them a manuscript of her poems, so that
they might get them published as a book. She never managed to do this,
and so she never published a book in her lifetime. People will have
to take Lawson Inada's word in the 1995 article in The Nation that Toyo
is Japanese America's poet laureate. Three or four years ago Lawson
Inada spent several days in Ohio, visiting with Toyo and interviewing
her. I know that Toyo felt affection and respect for them.
Even in her old age, Toyo was a feisty and strong-willed
person. When I told her a few years ago that I had been approached by
the Dayton chapter of JACL, she went into her anti-JACL lecture mode,
denouncing the organization's wartime politics and swearing she would
never join. She saw your film and admired it very much. She also had
a great sense of humor and managed to make many artist-friends, including
I wish you could have met her. She was a remarkable
person. Val and I will miss her very much.
Sunday, February 1, 2004
Screenings are set this Tuesday, Feb. 3, at the Rockridge Branch Library
in Oakland and around Feb. 14 in New York City for their Day of Remembrance
ceremony. The Oakland screening is sponsored by the Not In Our Name anti-military
campaign and accompanied with a group discussion.
I want to
thank resister Mits Koshiyama and his wife (right) for coming to the funeral
of my sister Patricia
on Jan. 25 at the Berkeley Buddhist Temple. Pat passed away on Jan. 18
after a lengthy illness. Mits drove up from San Jose to offer comfort,
and his presence meant so much to me.
writes from Bowling Green that a memorial service has been set for Nisei
poet Toyo Suyemoto, "on the early afternoon of Saturday, March
6, probably on the campus of the Ohio State University."
are now online for the Feb. 20-21 symposium hosted by the University of
Oregon's Center for Critical Theory and Transnational Studies. The panel,
Internment and Its Contemporary Implications," features an opening
talk by writer Frank Chin and a panel on camp experiences with Chin, Heart
Mountain Fair Play Committee leader Frank Emi, Jim Hirabayashi, younger
brother of curfew violator and draft resister Gordon Hirabayashi, Ashland
poet Lawson Inada, and Peggy Nagae. Chin writes that he will "be
making presentations on the JACL betrayal of civil rights and the resisters
who went to court in defense of civil rights." His newest book, Born
in the USA, draws from interviews conducted for Conscience and
the Constitution and his other years of extensive research. The book
is not carried in bookstores but you can order it online from Amazon.com
this link. Our review of the book is scheduled for publication in
the fall issue of Amerasia Journal. Incidentally, Frank's landmark
play Year of the Dragon has just been issued on DVD; the best
price I've seen is online is nearly half off list price by using
this link to Deep Discount DVD.
Monday, February 23, 2004 Fred Hirasuna appears in our documentary near the end, standing
at the Central California District JACL meeting speaking against any apology
to the Heart Mountain resisters. Despite our differences, he graciously
invited us to his home in Fresno in 1998 where he told us about his attending
the very first JACL convention in 1930. Read his obituary in
the Fresno Bee. We first heard last week from Martha Nakagawa:
I was just informed
that Fred Hirasuna passed away last week. Fred was
probably the oldest JACL member (he was in his 90s) and was staunchly against
national JACL issuing an apology to the Nisei draft resisters. His feeling
in times of war it was okay for the U.S. government to ignore constitutional
rights. I think now Clarence Nishizu may be the oldest JACL member.
Frank Chin road show evidently continues with word of another panel on
the resisters now scheduled for the Boston Public Library on March 27 at
the Organization of American Historians annual conference. Read the full
workshop description or download a printable press
release. Cherstin Lyon from the University of Arizona writes:
of American Historians has invited Frank Emi, Frank Chin, Art Hansen,
Martha Minow and myself to present a roundtable discussion on the
Nisei draft resisters and both the limits and possibilities of recent
JACL reconciliation attempts.
Art Hansen will
preside, and guide the discussion following the presentations. Frank
Emi will begin with his perspective on the resistance and constitutional
matters during the war as well as some of his thoughts on the limits
of reconciliation. I will speak on resistance that took place in
other camps, like that of the Tucsonians from Topaz and Amache, and
the community of resisters that they formed by holding reunions and
developing life long friendships with each other after the war. I
will also comment on some of the other wartime prisoners that the
Tucsonians met while in prison who had been convicted of other forms
of civil disobedience, like Hopi conscientious objectors and Gordon
Hirabayashi, whose case against evacuation and curfew went before
the Supreme Court. Frank Chin will be presenting work from his new
book, Born in the U.S.A. as well as his thoughts on the roots of
the conflict between "Americanized" JACLers and those who
developed a strong, complex Nisei identity before the war, many of
whom became resisters in one form or another during the war. Martha
Minow will comment based on her extensive research on the Holocaust
and reconciliation attempts that followed WWII. Minow is an extremely
prolific author on the law and social justice, and is Professor of
Law at Harvard University. A formal invitation has been extended
to Floyd Mori, president of the JACL, to attend the roundtable and
respond from the JACL point of view.
Monday, March 15, 2004 Congratulations to Alan Nishio of the old National Conference
of Christians and Jews in Long Beach for arranging for Heart Mountain
resistance leader Frank Emi to literally receive the "keys to the
city" at a Day of Remembrance ceremony there last month. Read the
story, "Former Internee
Tells Story of Resistance," from the Long-Beach Press Telegram.
Thanks to Alan for providing the link, and also this other online interview
with Frank from the War
Times that uses photos and a story from this site.
Friday, March 19, 2004 The National Conference for Community and Justice, formerly the
National Conference of Christians and Jews, has just put out a news
release on their Feb. 19 tribute to Heart Mountain resistance leader
Frank Emi and the presentation to him of the "key to the city"
of Long Beach. Surprised but pleased to hear that clips from our documentary
were shown at the event. There's
also a story,
"Former Internee Tells
Story of Resistance," from the Long-Beach Press Telegram. Thanks
to Alan Nishio for organizing the tribute and Annette Kashiwa and Martha
Nakagawa for providing the photos. Click on the photo for an enlarged
view. See also an older online interview with Frank from the War
Times that uses photos and a story from this site.
Tule Lake Pilgrimage will focus on Citizens
Betrayed [pdf file], the 5,589 renunciants
at Tule Lake whose story is often confused with that of the Fair Play
Committee. Barbara Takei, who has been doing work on the renunciants
along with Judy Tachibana, has issued details about the 4th of July
Monday, April 12, 2004 Writer
and scholar Frank Chin is offering you, the readers of this site, a series
of scripts that boldly bring to life issues of Japanese American art and
literature, all tied tightly around the questions of loyalty, betrayal
and resistance in WW2. He says the scripts can be read or performed in
class, and used in conjunction with his recent compilation of oral history,
research and original insight, Born in the USA. He has sent three
scripts so far. You can download them here as Adobe Acrobat files [requires
Reader] and print them out just as they came out of his Powerbook.
He says the first script serves as an introduction to the series. They
are framed as proposals for a conference at the Japanese American National
Museum and suggest actors that might be used for the readings; you can
read them for yourself and pick out anything you find useful:
also drumming up support for publication and distribution of a resisters
newsletter. He points out that 2004 is the 60th anniversary of the
institution of Selective Service for the Nisei inside the camps, the
rise of draft resistance inside 8 of the ten camps, the formation of
the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee, and their arrests, trials,
convictions, and the start of their prison terms. As he puts it, "The
object is to prod Japanese America into taking over their history,
art, and Japanese American criticism."
people turned out on March 27 at the Boston Public Library for what
sounds like a spirited panel on the resisters, as part of the Organization
of American Historians annual conference. Read the full
workshop description or download a printable press
release. Thanks to Cherstin Lyon from the University of Arizona
for distributing our posters and fliers there and for sending this
update. Cherstin also sent some photos we will post shortly:
Frank Chin delivered
an animated presentation about the literature and cultural treatment
of Japanese in the white press, novels and music before the war setting
up pre-war racism. He discussed the early rifts between people like
Mike Masaoka and James Omura over how AJAs should respond to the
war and proposals for evacuation and internment.
Frank Emi delivered
his own personal take on the costs (both economic and personal) of
evacuation, and the events and circumstances that led him to resist
the draft. He ended with his experiences in prison, mentioned others
he met in prison and ended with a bit on the
JACL apology, reiterating that the JACL should issue an apology
to all AJAs for their role in the entire evacuation process. If the
United States government could do it, why not them?
I introduced the
lesser known resisters, those who resisted as individuals and posed
the question -- why both during the war and after did some criticize
those who resisted as individuals of just dodging the draft? For
wasting their time? For committing acts of lawlessness that would
have no great effect at all? I compared the full range of resistance
to the abolitionists before the Civil War and related the actions
of all who resisted internment -- no-no boys, strikers, petitioners,
resisters -- to the "revolutionary tradition" in America.
I ended with stories about the Hopi draft resisters those Nisei resisters
from Topaz and Amache and even Gordon Hirabayashi himself met in
prison and explained how the Hopis welcomed the resisters into their "family" symbolically
with a hair-washing ceremony.
ended with his own personal understanding of internment as a child
of a Nisei who had been interned at Amache. A Sansei himself, Hashimoto
learned in school that internment was justified and just, which both
disturbed and puzzled him. He worked as a law student on the Korematsu
case in the 1980s and explained that despite the ruling of a lower
court, the Korematsu case is still technically "good" law.
He urged the audience that we should never forget that it is like
a loaded weapon waiting to be used and related the importance of
remembering internment and continuing the conversation to the current
political situation with enemy combatants, the USA Patriot Act and
the continued survival of Korematsu.
that followed was engaging and at times heated. Some high school
teachers mentioned the importance of teaching the story to their
students, a former internee expressed his reluctance about the tone
of the panel that seemed to demonize the JACL and suggested that
we all be forgiving of wartime misjudgments (this received some fairly
heated responses from Chin). One audience member insisted that there
were no concentration camps, only benign " relocation centers" which
turned into a shouting match which Art Hansen quickly brought back
under control and redirected the conversation. And one student, who
was quite taken by the story of the Hopi resisters' alliance with
the Nisei resisters wanted to know on a more personal level how much
fluidity there was between those who resisted and those who served
in the military which opened up interesting responses and stories
where individual families were divided over their decisions and responses
to the draft.
Over all, the session
was quite productive and the audience stayed a full extra half hour
to discuss the issues and finally had to be kicked out of the library
as it had already closed.
Wednesday, April 14, 2004 Congratulations
are in order to the narrator of our documentary, poet Lawson Fusao Inada,
for being named a 2004 Guggenheim
Fellow. The prestigious fellowships are awarded to men and women who
have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship
or exceptional creative ability in the arts. David Ishii Bookseller says
he called Lawson after reading the Guggenheim Foundation ad in the New
York Times and that he was the first to actually confirm for Lawson that
Lawson was with us in Wyoming in 1995 when we shot video of Heart Mountain resister
Yosh Kuromiya sketching the mountain at the site of the old camp, a shot that
never made it into our final cut. As we worked I remember Lawson kneeling and
examining the earth and the stones, and that moment and that image of Yosh sketching
inspired the title piece of his most recent book, Drawing
the Line(Coffee House Press, 1997). You can read
the poem and see a photo of Yosh at his draftsman's table in camp, at our
PBS Online site. This is a good time to catch up to Frank Chin's recent observation
about the importance of Lawson's work, inspired by their recent joint appearance
at the resisters workshop at the University of Oregon:
I was in Eugene
with Emi and Inada and it came to me that Lawson's book was the first
book of poetry in 60 years to deal with the resistance. Where are
the Japanese American writers? Where are the Japanese American poets?
Where are the Japanese American critics? Yes there are JA writers
but no Japanese America. Why? Why 60 years later does a JA poet step
forward to show the emptiness of JA writing and poetry of the last
sixty years? What happened 60 years ago?
Lawson Inada is
a Japanese American poet who is curious about his people's history
and goes out to meet it. He doesn't mistake himself for history,
and wait for his appreciative people to come to his door bearing
gifts. Japanese American film makers have used him for his voice
and his meter in their work, as a narrator.
He has accompanied
me on my researching the resisters and Jimmie Omura and joined the
CARP/AIIIEEEEE! boys in publishing NO-NO BOY. The last two remarkable
books LEGENDS FROM CAMP and DRAWING THE LINE have thrust Lawson's
work to the foreforent of Japanese American history .... if his people
have the heart and guts to claim their history that is. DRAWING THE
LINE about Yosh Kuromiya at Heart Mountain is the first book of poetry
about the resistance movement at Heart Mountain ever -in 60 years.
Did the blacks take 60 years to generate a poet to write about slavery?
After the Civil War did it take 60 years for the whites (from the
North or the South) to get it together to write about the Civil War?
Of course white poets wrote about the Civil War --before during and
after-but Japanese America has only one daring only one (not) chickenshit
only one poet of the period that still tries the conscience of Japanese
America. It's as if Lawson Inada were all the poets of the Civil
War including Walt Whitman and Carl Sandburg 60 years after the war.
The audience was the people, and the people embraced their work.
What holds the
Japanese Americans back? What crushed the poetry and fiction of Toyo
Suyemoto and Toshio Mori and the critical organ of James Omura? What
disintegrated poetry, fiction, criticism from activism and Japanese
America? I feel silly saying it, but the JACL/camp 442nd, of course.
From Mike Masaoka to his brother-in-law Norman Mineta.
and Frank Emi, have reached out to the people, James Omura reached
out to the people; now Lawson Inada reaches out to the people. It's
up to the people to accept what's being offered.
Tuesday, May 11, 2004 Two
upcoming resister events have just been announced for this fall. The
first being talked about for September takes note of the prestigious Guggenheim
Fellowship recently awarded to the narrator of our documentary, poet
Lawson Fusao Inada. Writer Frank Chin envisions the following event:
On Sept. 8th (a
Wednesday) at 7pm at the old General Lee's in Chinatown there will
be a party to install a Kwan Kung and celebrate Lawson Inada and
the Japanese American writers whose work he has championed.
The title poem
to DRAWING THE LINE is about Yosh Kuromiya who, at 19, resisted the
draft from Heart Mountain concentration camp on constitutional grounds.
He became a part of the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee's draft
resistance, when he refused an offer by the JACL's Min Yasui (a paid "Confidential
Informant" of the FBI) to drop the charges against him in return
for his testimony against Frank Emi.
The fact that Mike
Masaoka's entire staff of the JACL were the first generation of FBI "Confidential
Informants" was revealed in my book BORN
IN THE USA....
The JA's have published
only two (three if you count Ed Miyakawa's self published novel TULE
LAKE) works about the camps and the (anti-JACL) resistance in
the sixty years since the war. The two works are, John Okada's NO-NO
BOY (1957) and Lawson Inada's DRAWING
THE LINE. What if the blacks took sixty years to write about
slavery and Nat Turner and Harriet Tubman? What if the Jews had taken
sixty years to write about the holocaust and left the Jewish Ghetto
Police and the Judenradt and other traitors of ghettos to non-Jewish
John Okada and
Lawson Inada and Ed Miyakawa TULE LUKE, a novel self published in
the 70's are the only Japanese Americans that have dealt with the
camps, the JACL betrayal of civil rights and the resisters who stood
for civil rights --in the sixty years since the camps.
head of the writing program at Otis College of Art & Design has
a deal with the owners of the former General Lee's, a bar in Chinatown
... to use the bar as a reading venue. Chinatown across Hill Street
from the old General Lee's has turned the old curio shops into a
series of galleries. A few curio shops remain, like Gim Fong's shop
Fong's that has been at the same location since this movie set Chinatown
My daughter Betsy
invited me to a reading at General Lee's, renamed "The Mountain." ...
I noticed that The Mountain didn't have a Kwan Kung. One of the three
owners was at the bar, and I mentioned Kwan Kung was in all the shops
in Chinatown, and being a bar, they should have a Kwan Kung like
the old General Lee's....I called Paul Vangelisti and arranged to
take him on a solo tour of Chinatown tong temples, restuarants and
curio shops and book stores to prove how well known Kwan Kung was
among Chinese, Koreans, Japanese and Chinatown ...
They want to officially
open the Mountain with an installation of Kwan Kung and a revival
of a community Asian American writers, actors, and critics such as
used to exist in Japanese America around James Omura and his magazine
CURRENT LIFE, until WWII and the JACL shut Japanese American culture
second event announced for this fall also takes note of the 60th anniversary. "Judgments
Judged and Wrongs Remembered: Examining the Japanese American Civil
Liberties Cases of World War II on their Sixtieth Anniversary," will
bring together a number of lawyers and legal scholars November 5 and
6, 2004 at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. It's
a conference jointly sponsored by by the University of North Carolina
School of Law, the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, and the Japanese
American National Museum. Download their invitation
card [99K .pdf], and read their press
On December 18,
1944, the United States Supreme Court decided the landmark cases
of Korematsu v. United States and Ex parte Endo, the first of which
approved of the forced eviction of 120,000 Japanese Americans from
their homes, and the second of which struck down their continued
incarceration after the government had recognized their loyalty.
Over the months leading up to December 18, 1944, judges and juries
in the lower federal courts across the western United States heard
hundreds of criminal prosecutions of young apanese American men who
sought to turn their conscription into the military from behind barbed
wire into legal test cases of the lawfulness of their confinement.
On the occasion
of their sixtieth anniversary of these cases, this conference will
provide a rich and varied opportunity to reflect on their meaning,
their legacy and their continued relevance to the world of today.
It may well be the last major gathering at which at least some of
the participants in the cases (especially litigants and law clerks)
are still living and able to share their recollections. The emphasis
of the conference will be on the legal cases themselves, rather than
on the larger incarceration story that is their backdrop. For this
reason, the conference will be of special interest to lawyers, judges,
and others with interest or expertise in the law and legal history.
will begin on Friday afternoon, November 5, 2004, in the Great Hall
of the Japanese American National Museum, at about 2:00 p.m. That
afternoon's panel will provide a historical grounding for the conference
by presenting as panelists a number of surviving participants in
the legal cases. These will include litigants, law clerks to judges
who decided the cases, and attorneys from the team that secured coram
nobis writs in the 1980s for the men who had been wrongfully
convicted during the war. A reception will follow.
That evening, after
a break for dinner, there will be performances in the Great Hall
of a dance piece by Gordon Hirabayashi's son Jay and a play by Minoru
Yasui's daughter Holly. Both pieces are artistic interpretations
of the artists fathers' legal battles against curfew, eviction, and
will resume on Saturday morning, November 6, 2004, with a continental
breakfast and the first of the two academic panels. Scholars including
Greg Robinson (U. of Quebec), Patrick Gudridge (U. of Miami School
of Law), Art Hansen (Cal State Fullerton and JANM), Eric Muller (University
of North Carolina School of Law), and John Q. Barrett (St. John's
University School of Law), will examine the historical setting of
the various Japanese American civil liberties cases.
A keynote address
will be delivered before lunch by the Honorable A. Wallace Tashima,
a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Judge
Tashima, the highest-ranking Japanese American judicial officer in
the nation, spent several of his childhood years at the Poston Relocation
Center and has recently published pointed and moving comments about
these World War II cases in the pages of the Michigan Law Review.
A box lunch will
be provided for conference attendees, for them to consume at their
leisure during the noon hour.
After lunch, the
panels will resume. A second panel of academics will address the
legacy of the World War II civil liberties cases for the post-9/11
world. These scholars will include Roger Daniels (U. of Cincinnati,
emeritus), Jerry Kang (UCLA Law School), Eric Yamamoto (U. of Hawaii
Law School), Frank Wu (Howard U. Law School), Margaret Chon (Seattle
U. Law School), Donna Arzt (Syracuse U. Law School), Neil Gotanda
(Southwestern U. Law School), and Natsu Taylor Saito (Georgia State
U. School of Law).
The final panel
of the day promises to be moving. Children of men who fought the
incarceration in court will speak about the personal legacy of the
decisions their fathers made sixty years ago. Panelists will be Karen
Korematsu (daughter of Supreme Court litigant Fred Korematsu), Jay
Hirabayashi (son of Supreme Court litigant Gordon Hirabayashi), Holly
Yasui (daughter of Supreme Court litigant Minoru Yasui), Kenji Taguma
(son of a draft resister from the Granada Relocation Center), and
Carol Hoshizaki (daughter of a draft resister from the Heart Mountain
will end late in the afternoon on Saturday, November 6, 2004.
finally are two photos from the resisters panel on March 27 at the
Boston Public Library, as part of the Organization of American Historians
annual conference. Click on the images to see an enlarged
view of the panel featuring (left to right) Dean
Hashimoto, Cherstin Lyon, Frank Emi, Frank Chin, and Art Hansen, and
the second photo of Frank
Emi speaking. Thanks to Frank Emi's daughter, Kathleen, for
Wednesday, May 12, 2004 The
following obit appears in today's Nichibei Times (thanks to Kenji Taguma
for passing it along). This comes as very sad news as Kozie Sakai was one
of the very first angels for our Resisters Video Project, as it was known
back then at the start. My mother in Santa Clara knew Kozie socially
from their shigin folk singing club, long before I came to know
him as a friend of the Heart Mountain resisters who came to their trial
in Cheyenne, Wyoming and sent letters back to camp to Frank Emi, one of
which is now immortalized on pp. 446-448 of Frank Chin's Born
in the USA. His photo in which he appears to the left of Frank
Emi was one of the images we used as one of our ITVS publicity shots:
SAKAI, KOJI passed
away in Mountain View, CA on May 8, 2004. Born in Alviso, CA, he
was 91. Koji was also known as Kozie Sakai. He was a restaurant owner
for 20 years (Kozy’s Grotto) and lived in this area all his
life. He was a past member of The Lion’s Club; The Mountain
View Buddhist Temple, the Tri-City Association and the Kinyu Ginshi
Beloved husband of Tayeko Sakai; loving father of Yukiye Sakai, Akio Sakai,
Aileen (Paul) Yoshida, and brother of Fusaye (the Late John) Miyamoto, Itsuye
Sakai, Gingo Sakai, Tomoye (Ben) Ishikawa, the Late Kitao (Miyo) Sakai and
Yoshiye (the Late Ken) Ishikawa. He is also survived by numerous nieces and
Friends are invited to attend a service May 13, 2004 at 7:00 p.m. at the
Mountain View Buddhist Temple, 575 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View, CA.
Commital Service May 14, 2004 at 10:00 a.m. at Alta Mesa Memorial Park, Palo
Alto, CA. Arrangements by Cusimano Family Colonial Mortuary.
Monday, June 7, 2004 The story of the draft resisters and the JACL apology is briefly
mentioned in today's Seattle Times profile of our good friend Tom Ikeda,
founder of the online Densho Project here in Seattle. Read "Old
stories open new chapter of Ikeda's life" by Florangela Davila,
who I spoke with years ago about the resisters and JACL:
as "enemy aliens," some of these citizens eventually were
allowed in the military and served in the legendary 442nd Infantry
Regimental Combat Team. Others resisted the draft, arguing they couldn't
serve a country that had incarcerated them.
The different actions
caused a rift within the Japanese-American community that wasn't
publicly mended until two years ago, when the Japanese American Citizens
League, which once had said the draft resisters should be charged
with sedition, formally apologized to them.
Ikeda knew and
accepted both perspectives. His father, Victor "Junks" Ikeda,
is a WWII veteran; his father-in-law, Frank Yamasaki, resisted the
Monday, August 2, 2004 It's with deep sadness that we learn tonight of the passing of
Dr. Clifford Uyeda, last Friday after a long bout with prostate cancer.
Kenji Taguma reports there is to be a meeting Tuesday in San Francisco
to discuss his service. Clifford rose to national prominence for his championing
of the case of Iva Toguri, the so-called "Tokyo Rose," and later
as president of National JACL for his leadership on the then-struggling
notion of redress for the WW2 incarceration of Japanese Americans. In that
role he said "yes" when we in Seattle asked JACL for support
for the first-ever "A Day of Remembrance" redress event at the
Puyallup Fairgrounds. Cliff authorized $2,000 from what I recall was a
$12,000 national budget, demonstrating his belief in our ability to break
the ice and kick-start a national movement by proving Nisei no longer needed
to fear a white backlash by remembering the camps and standing for redress
with their families. And of course Clifford gave us a long interview for "Conscience
and the Constitution" in which he uttered the memorable line that
JACL's wartime leaders "strongly felt and believed that they were
doing the right thing, and yet they were doing the wrong thing. They were
really a government agent, that's all they were." Clifford always
did the right thing, and he will be missed. See the longer version of the
interview he gave us in Frank Chin's Born
in the U.S.A.
Wednesday, August 4, 2004 More details received today on the passing of Clifford Uyeda:
I have some sad
news to report, which most of you have heard already: Dr. Clifford
Uyeda passed away on Friday after a long bout with prostate cancer.
The memorial service
is on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2004 at the JCCCNC here in SF's Japantown.
Mits Koshiyama has agreed to speak from the perspective of a Nisei
draft resister. Other speakers are John Tateishi of the national
JACL, Rosalyn Tonai of the National Japanese American Historical
Society, Karl Matsushita of the JA National Library, George Araki,
and others yet to be confirmed. Steve Nakajo of Kimochi will emcee.
I've been asked to give an overview of Clifford's life and some personal
comments as well.
As you know, Clifford
hosted an early forum on resisters, and was vocal in his support
of resisters throughout the years.
There is a little
more detail below on his service and donation information. Please
feel free to forward it to whoever you think may be interested.
Kenji G. Taguma
* * * * * * * *
* * * *
Uyeda, a noted human rights activist, died on July 30, 2004 in
San Francisco. He was 87. Uyeda was a past national president of
the Japanese American Citizens League and a past president of the
National Japanese American Historical Society. Born January 14,
1917 in Olympia, Washington to Matsutaro and Kimiyo Uyeda, he made
innumerable contributions to various organizations as well as human
rights and social justice issues. Loving husband to Betty Uyeda;
brother-in-law to Sachiko Uyeda, Edward and Cherie Nakamura, and
Hiroshi and Emiko Miyake; uncle to Katherine Uyeda, Richard Uyeda,
Donna Baba, Gail Haslett, Stan Miyake and Gary Miyake. Memorial
services will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 7 p.m., the Japanese
Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, 1840 Sutter
St. in San Francisco’s Japantown. In lieu of flowers, memorial
donations in his honor may be sent to National Japanese American
Historical Society, 1684 Post St., San Francisco, CA 94115.
Friday, September 3, 2004 What's our film editor, Lillian Benson, and our co-producer, Shannon
Gee, been up to lately? Next week on many PBS stations you can see their
new documentary, "All
Our Sons," which premieres appropriately enough on Sept. 11 on
WNET/13 in New York City:
by the events of September 11th, ALL OUR SONS-FALLEN HEROES OF 9/11
tells the story of the twelve Black firefighters who gave their lives
along with 332 other emergency personnel in the World Trade Center
tragedy. There are now only 312 Black firefighters in the New York
City Fire Department out of a total force of 11,350. They make up
2.7% of the fire department, in a city where 24.5% of the population
is Black and nearly 50% is minority. The fire department is the city's
least diverse municipal work force. In sometimes wrenching, exclusive
interviews seven parents, one spouse and two representatives of the
FDNY remember their loved ones and colleagues.Narrated by Alfre Woodard.
memorial tribute to Clifford Uyeda on August 18 yielded some interesting
stories. Follow the links to read Kenji
Taguma's presentation at the service, where he speaks openly about
being the son of an Amache draft resister, and his story about the
servcie in the NichiBei Times.
Then read Frank Chin's novelistic perspective on
the same event. Eyewitnesses say Frank just "fills in the blanks
with his own material" when he misheard or misunderstood something,
but that's always been part of his charm, right? We corrected the name
of Wayne Maeda for clarity. Here's also a link to a printable
version of the memorial service program [pdf, 107K].
Tuesday, September 7, 2004 Calling
all ye Asian American hipsters of the real and the fake. The place to
be Wednesday, Sept. 8th is going to be The
Mountain Bar (left), "Chinatown's haven for art-damaged hipsters,
according to LA.com,
and "a molten red bastion of bohemian cool," according to Los
Angeles Citysearch. The address is 475 Gin Ling Way, in L.A.'s Chinatown
between Hill and Broadway Streets.
is to be the scene for Frank Chin's long-planned gathering of "actors,
activists and artists" to celebrate two things: the awarding of
the prestigious Guggenheim
Fellowship earlier this year to the narrator of our documentary,
poet Lawson Fusao Inada, and the legacy of the Heart Mountain Fair Play
actually happening today at the birthplace of Jimmie Omura, on Bainbridge
near Seattle, is not so exuberant. Read today's Seattle Times, "Debate
lingers over internment of Japanese-Americans," to see how
the ghost of Lillian Baker lives on in her sleek new clone, Michelle
Malkin, in the Bainbridge school system. Walt Woodward would be ashamed.
More on that later, with the latest from William Hohri.
Wednesday, October 6, 2004 The
call went out to all ye Asian American hipsters of the real and the fake,
and about 50 turned out Sept. 8th at The
Mountain Bar, what LA.com calls "Chinatown's
haven for art-damaged hipsters, and "a molten red bastion of bohemian
cool," according to Los
Angeles Citysearch. It was the scene for Frank Chin's long-planned
gathering of "actors, activists and artists" to celebrate two
things: the awarding of the prestigious Guggenheim
Fellowship earlier this year to the narrator of our documentary, poet
Lawson Fusao Inada, and the legacy of the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee.
there was Fair Play Commitee leader Frank Emi, resister Yosh Kuromiya,
and Lawson (above left) to meet with writing students from Otis College
of Art & Design and other assorted hipsters. Excerpts were read
from Chin's Born
in the U.S.A.(Rowman & Littlefield, 2002) by Chin, actress
Momo Yashima, supporter Paul Tsuneishi, with Yosh introducing Lawson's
reading of Drawing
the Line (Coffee House Press, 1997), based on the day Lawson
accompanied us to Heart Mountain to shoot B-roll of Yosh sketching
the mountain at the site of the old camp. Read
the poem and see a photo of Yosh at his draftsman's table in camp,
at our PBS Online site.
Read more about the dedication
of the Kwan Kung figurine with Paul Vangelista, head of the writing
program at Otis College, and Sam Hoi (above right). Thanks
for the video stills by Curtis Choy, director of the work-in-progress, "What's
Wrong with Frank Chin?"
reports that Chin is also coming to Northern California to give one
of his few public readings from Born
in the U.S.A., which features interviews conducted with our
documentary, with much more focus on the WW2 government collaboration
by the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). The reading is Saturday,
October 30 at 1:00 p.m. at the new AACP bookstore
at 529 East Third Avenue in San Mateo. See the directions.
Frank Chin writes, "Here is something to run to provoke people
to come to or stay away from my reading:"
book is no threat to Japanese American history. She grants that the
JA's as Americans had the right to protest and resist the camps in
the courts any way they could.
The real danger
is that the traitors of Japanese America the JACL and the 442nd (from
camp) will convince JA's that betrayal of the JA's to get them to
go into camp and the betrayal of civil rights was necessary for the
442nd to "earn" back their civil rights overseas fighting
for the Euopreans whille their own people were held hostage to assure
The JACL surrendered
JA civil rights entered the camps with assimilation in mind. The
JA's have married themselves out of existence the NY Times of last
The JACL continues
to reject the fact that they won back in court all the JA civil rights.
The books that list the defense of civil rights only list the cases
of the resisters. Not a word of the JACL.
The JACL claim
that they were cowards and draft dodgers though they can't name one
coward or draft dodger. But we can name several JACLers were were
liars and secretly worked against JA and civil rights. Mike Masaoka
and the entire staff of the JACL were "confidential agents" for
The known JACL
were proud to have been traitors and cowards. You see the names of
the cowards and traitors on buildings and statues around J-towns
across the country. The volunteers and draftees from camp following
the lead of Mike Masaoka, the No 1 volunteer, were the cowards of
camp. They may have been heroes on the battlefield, but they sacrficed
their parents and their people to be free to fight for the freedom
of whites overseas. And yet they claim their betrayal and the 442nd
saved JA civil rights. when the lawbooks make it clear, that the
JA's have their civil rights today only because the resisters stood
up for them.
But to date no
Japanese American has dared to be seen in public thaking a resister
for JA civil rights and shaking his hand. Not one in sixty years.
The JACL has had a deathgrip of JA writing and publishing so that
not book on the camps and the resistance has appeared in 60 years.
Not one JA has had the courage to curse the JACL for the traitors
they continue to be and praise the resisters for the return of JA
civil rights. What if the blacks had taken 60 years to write about
slavery and the resistance to slavery? What if the Jews had taken
60 years to write about the Holocaust and the resistance to the Holocaust?
Would we respect them?
Malkin poses no
threat to the race, civil rights or the respect that America holds
for the JA. But the continued JA silence in the mounting noise of
American histories of the JACL, James Omura, Kioyshi Okamoto, Frank
Emi seems to confirm the Times conclusion that JA is extinct and
the few of them alive are chicken.
The only JA to
write about the camps and the character of the resistance is a poet.
He doesn't pose behind the title of "Historian" He is just
a poet. Lawson Inada is the poet and DRAWING THE LINE is the book.
The book is about Yosh Kuromiya, who was interned at Ht. Mt. and
was 19 when he resisted the draft and is now in his seventies and
has yet to be thanked by a Japanese American. Other Americans have
already shaken hands with the resisters. It's the JA that are reluctant,
that are afraid or non-existant.
the danger of Malkin's new book, In Defense of Internment,
and the traction it has gained among Fox News Channel devotees and
historical revisionists eager for a means to inflame racial and cultural
fears. For a full-bodied critique of the Malkin book, see Professor
Eric Muller's 18-post
blog revealing the flaws in her work. Read the recent Seattle Times, "Debate
lingers over internment of Japanese-Americans," to see how the
ghost of Lillian Baker lives on in Malkin, her sleek new clone, in
the Bainbridge school system. Walt and Millie Woodward would be ashamed.
Monday, November 1, 2004 Frank
Emi, Yosh Kuromiya, and two children of resisters, Kenji Taguma and Carol
Hoshizaki, are among those speaking at the Nov.
Judged and Wrongs Remembered: Examining the Japanese American Civil
Liberties Cases of World War II on their Sixtieth Anniversary." The
program brings together a number of lawyers and legal scholars at the Japanese
American National Museum in Los Angeles. It's a conference jointly sponsored
by by the University of North Carolina School of Law, the UCLA Asian American
Studies Center, and the Japanese American National Museum. Download their invitation
card [99K .pdf], read their press
release, and then use the registration
form [1.1 MB PDF].
Monday, November 8, 2004 TheJudgments
Judged and Wrongs Remembered: Examining the Japanese American Civil
Liberties Cases of World War II on their Sixtieth Anniversary" conference
is now over. The program brought together a number of lawyers and legal
scholars at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. You can
read the presentation from Heart Mountain resister Yosh Kuromiya, who sent
us his text, "The Trial of the
63 (or Uncle Sam plays Dirty Pool)," along with this
We just had our "Judgments
Judged and Wrongs Remembered" seminar organized by Eric Muller.
Frank Emi, Gene Akutsu and I represented the draft resistance cases
and were well received (politely, at least). I'm sending you, by
attachment, the full text of my talk. I believe there is information
in it that is pertinent to citizens' rights and issues involving
deceptive governmental policies which impacted present day attitudes
within our community. Thanks, Yosh
Sunday, November 14, 2004 Original
Heart Mountain resister Yosh Kuromiya sends a photo from theJudgments
Judged and Wrongs Rememberedconference.
Click on the photo
to see the enlarged view of (back row, left to right):
Dan Kubo (resisters' son), Frank Emi (Heart Mountain), Jimi Yamaichi (Tule
Lake), Gene Akutsu (Minidoka), Ken Yoshida (Amache), (front
row, left to right): Joe Yamakido (Jerome), Noboru Taguma (Amache),
Tak Hoshizaki (Heart Mountain), Fred Korematsu of Supreme Court test case
fame, and Yosh Kuromiya (Heart Mountain).
Thursday, November 25, 2004
just in from Don Nakanishi at UCLA. Let's see if Judge Tashima mentions
the resisters in his speech:
To Nationally Broadcast Keynote Address from Recent "Judgments
Judged and Wrongs Remembered" conference this SATURDAY, November
27, between 7 - 8 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time).
will nationally broadcast the powerful keynote address by the Honorable
A. Wallace Tashima, Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeal, at
the recent "Judgments Judged and Wrongs Remembered" conference
this SATURDAY, November 27, between 7 - 8 p.m. (Eastern Standard
Tashima gave the speech at a conference that was held in Los Angeles
on November 6, 2004 on the 60th anniversary of the major U.S. Supreme
Court cases challenging the curfew and incarceration of 120,000 Japanese
Americans during World War II. Judge Tashima is a California native
who was interned as a child in an Arizona camp with his family. He
later attended UCLA for his undergraduate studies, and then Harvard
Law School. He was elevated to the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court
of Appeals by President Bill Clinton in 1996.
was co-sponsored by the University of North Carolina Law School,
UCLA Asian American Studies Center, and the Japanese American National
chapter on “Military Service and Resistance” the authors
analyze their data to show that before camp the resisters had “substantially
lower occupational aspirations,” came from families with fewer
socioeconomic resources, and had fewer Japanese Americans best friends,
compared to the veterans. That sounds about right. During our interviews
we found that the resisters came more often from farm families and
thus closer to the land, and were not the more educated, professional
types who went into JACL.
find that after the passage of sixty years the resisters have closed
the gap with the veterans in terms of personal income and educational
or occupational achievement, and have just as many Japanese American
best friends. But they also find that compared to the veterans, the
resisters belong to fewer Japanese American organizations, are less
likely to attend a Japanese American church or kenjinkai event, and
are half as likely to belong to an organization of any kind. From this
data the authors draw this “provisional picture of the impact
of the war on the resisters:”
data are consistent with anecdotal reports that resisters have been,
by and large, shunned by the Japanese American community and that
the effects of this are still observable, even though their actions
have been lauded by many in the community in recent years. Difficult
choices made during their incarceration almost sixty years ago still
reverberate for these incarcerees today.” (104)
has quotes from Minidoka resisters Frank Yamasaki and Gene Akutsu,
younger brother of Jim Akutsu, as well as from Heart Mountain resistance
leader Frank Emi. Also noteworthy is their inclusion of an image we
would have put into our documentary had we known of this existing copy,
that of a post-Pearl Harbor Oath of Allegiance created by Mike Masaoka
and the National JACL as a kind of “citizen ID” card complete
with passport photo, thumbprint, and voluntary forswearing of any known
or unknown allegiances to the Japanese enemy. It was all to no avail,
of course, as the government swept both citizen and alien into the
detention centers and then the permanent camp. But it was an ominous
precursor to the Loyalty Oath the government would then try to administer
inside camp and fuel the distrust for the later draft resistance.
Marilyn were here in Seattle last weekend for a Town Hall Seattle forum
sponsored by Densho. You can read the coverage of the event in the
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "Seattle's
Japantown remembered." You can watch streaming video of the
entire event, including Steve and Marilyn's academic presentation,
by clicking on this link for The
Seattle Channel, and scroll down about one-third of the way to
the link for Community Ties: Memories of Japantown dated
Nov. 22, 2004 [requires free