Tag Archives: Asian American Studies

Day of Remembrance 75th Anniversary Events: #NeverAgainIsNow

The annual Day of Remembrance commemorates the day in 1942 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, the authorization leading to the mass incarceration of around 120,000 Japanese American citizens in concentration camps during World War II, without due process of law. For this 75th anniversary year, our authors, publishing partners, and our campus, regional, and national communities are remembering and teaching about this important history and discussing the connections between Japanese American incarceration, the Holocaust, and civil rights and racism today.

The Day of Remembrance 75th Anniversary event tomorrow presented by the Nisei Veterans Committee, the Holocaust Center for Humanity, the UW Department of American Ethnic Studies, and the Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle features Lorraine K. Bannai (author of Enduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justice), Tetsuden Kashima (author of Judgment without Trial: Japanese American Imprisonment During World War II), and Dee Simon, Baral Family Executive Director of the Holocaust Center for Humanity. It is the first of three planned events in a Holocaust and Japanese American Connections series. For Sunday’s Day of Remembrance event, Never Again, Densho, CAIR-WA, and ACLU of Washington examine how this vital history relates to the struggle for civil rights today and explores how to prevent harassment and discrimination of American Muslims.

We hope you will join for these and other important events and discussions around the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 and the Day of Remembrance. Remembering is resistance!

Events

FEBRUARY

February 18 at 1 p.m., Day of Remembrance 75th Anniversary, “How Could Concentration Camps Happen?” with Lorraine K. Bannai, Enduring Conviction, Tetsuden Kashima, Judgment without Trial, and Dee Simon, University of Washington, Kane Hall 120, Seattle, WA (Reception follows at 3:30 p.m. in the Walker-Ames Room of Kane Hall)

February 19 at 2 p.m., Never Again: 75th Anniversary of EO 9066, Presented by Densho in partnership with CAIR-Washington State and ACLU of Washington, hosted by The Seattle Public Library at Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center with Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA (Livestream available; #NeverAgainIsNow)

February 27 at 6 p.m., Linda Tamura, Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence, High Desert Museum, Bend, OR

MARCH

March 3 at 5 p.m., Lorraine K. Bannai, Enduring Conviction, Words, Writers, and West Seattle, Westwood Village Barnes & Noble, Seattle, WA

March 7 at 6 p.m., Noriko Kawamura, Emperor Hirohito and the Pacific War, Pritzker Military Museum & Library lecture and livestream (Turbulence in the Pacific: Japanese-U.S. Relations During World War I), Chicago, IL ($10; Free for members)

March 15 at 7 p.m., Linda Tamura, Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence, with Sydney Blaine, Jack Sheppard, Joan & Dorothy Laurance, Sense of Place lecture series, Columbia Center for the Arts, Hood River, OR

March 27 at 7 p.m., Linda Tamura, Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence, McMenamins History, Oregon Historical Society, and Holy Names Heritage Center, History Pub, Kennedy School, Portland, OR

17 Essential Titles on the Japanese American Wartime Experience

On this 75th anniversary year of Executive Order 9066, which authorized the forced evacuation and mass incarceration of Japanese American citizens, join us in highlighting vital books by and about what Japanese American families endured during World War II.

Throughout the new administration’s first 100 days and beyond, we celebrate the voices and legacy of the incarcerated and their families and recognize our distinguished authors of books in American studies and history, critical race and ethnic studies, and social justice. The University of Washington Press is proud to have a history of publishing pathbreaking titles about the Asian American experience and the struggle for civil rights and redress. Together, let us remember American history we can’t afford to forget and continue to fight for equity and justice for all.

Scott and Laurie Oki Series in Asian American Studies:

The Hope of Another Spring: Takuichi Fujii, Artist and Wartime Witness
By Barbara Johns
Foreword by Roger Daniels
Introduction to the diary by Sandy Kita
Forthcoming May 2017

Sent to detention camps at Puyallup, Washington, and then Minidoka in Idaho, artist Takuichi Fujii (1891-1964) documented his daily experiences in words and art. This richly illustrated book reveals the rare find of a large and heretofore unknown collection of art produced during World War II. The centerpiece of the collection is Fujii’s illustrated diary that historian Roger Daniels called “the most remarkable document created by a Japanese American prisoner during the wartime incarceration.”

Barbara Johns presents the artist’s life story and his achievements within the social and political context of the time. Sandy Kita, the artist’s grandson, provides translations and an introduction to the diary. The Hope of Another Spring is a significant contribution to Asian American studies, American and regional history, and art history.

enduringconviction-bannaiEnduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justice
By Lorraine K. Bannai

Bannai brings an insider’s knowledge to the famous legal case of Fred Korematsu, a man interned by the government under Executive Order 9066, but whose conviction was ultimately overturned by the Supreme Court decades later. Lorraine Bannai served on the legal team that represented Korematsu in reopening his case in the 1980s.

A Principled Stand: The Story of Hirabayashi v. United States
By Gordon K. Hirabayashi
With James A. Hirabayashi and Lane Ryo Hirabayashi

In 1943, University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi defied the curfew and mass removal of Japanese Americans on the West Coast, and was subsequently convicted and imprisoned as a result. In A Principled Stand, Gordon’s brother James and nephew Lane have brought together his prison diaries and voluminous wartime correspondence to tell the story of Hirabayashi v. United States, the Supreme Court case that in 1943 upheld and on appeal in 1987 vacated his conviction. For the first time, the events of the case are told in Gordon’s own words. The result is a compelling and intimate story that reveals what motivated him, how he endured, and how his ideals changed and deepened as he fought discrimination and defended his beliefs.

Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence: Coming Home to Hood River
By Linda Tamura

“An important book about a shameful era in the history of the Columbia gorge. . . . Tamura uses interviews and newly uncovered documents to tell a shocking story.”—Jeff Baker, The Oregonian

This compelling story of courage, community, endurance, and reparation shares the experiences of Japanese Americans (Nisei) from Hood River, Oregon, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II, and faced The soldiers were from Hood River, Oregon, where their families were landowners and fruit growers. Town leaders, including veterans’ groups, attempted to prevent their return after the war and stripped their names from the local war memorial. All of the soldiers were American citizens, but their parents were Japanese immigrants and had been imprisoned in camps as a consequence of Executive Order 9066. The racist homecoming that the Hood River Japanese American soldiers received was decried across the nation.

Watch the book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHMcFdmixLk

Signs of Home: The Paintings and Wartime Diary of Kamekichi Tokita
By Barbara Johns
Foreword by Stephen H. Sumida

“A fascinating book that accomplishes more than one purpose. The first part is a biography of Tokita . . . the second is Tokita’s diary from 1941-44. . . . Signs of Home includes plenty of examples that prove his status as an important regional artist.”—Jeff Baker, The Oregonian

This beautiful and poignant biography of Issei artist Kamekichi Tokita uses his paintings and wartime diary to vividly illustrate the experiences, uncertainties, joys, and anxieties of Japanese Americans during the World War II internment and the more optimistic times that preceded it.

Classics of Asian American Literature:

Citizen 13660
By Miné Okubo
Introduction by Christine Hong

“This forerunner to the modern graphic memoir is a must read, both for the important—and shameful—period of American history it documents and its poignant beauty.”—The Chicago Tribune

Miné Okubo’s graphic memoir of life in relocation centers in California and Utah illuminates this experience with poignant illustrations and witty, candid text. Now available with a new introduction and in a wide-format artist edition, this graphic novel can reach a new generation of readers and scholars.

Desert Exile: The Uprooting of a Japanese American Family
By Yoshiko Uchida
Introduction by Traise Yamamoto

“A sensitive, readable account that captures with insight and human warmth the feel of what it was like to be sent by one’s own government into exile in the wilderness. It is a work worthy of an unforgettable experience.”—Pacific Citizen

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, everything changed for Yoshiko Uchida. Desert Exile is the autobiographical account of her life before and during World War II. The book does more than relate the day-to-day experience of living in stalls at the Tanforan Racetrack, the assembly center just south of San Francisco, and in the Topaz, Utah, internment camp. It tells the story of the courage and strength displayed by those who were interned.

Nisei Daughter
By Monica Sone
Introduction by Marie Rose Wong

“Sone reminds us that the anti-Japanese sentiment and threat of war [was] looming over them. . . but it doesn’t stop the family members from going forward with their lives—showing the kind of strength we all wish we had.”—Samantha Pak, Northwest Asian Weekly

With charm, humor, and deep understanding, Monica Sone tells what it was like to grow up Japanese American on Seattle’s waterfront in the 1930s and to be subjected to “relocation” during World War II. Her unique and personal account is a true classic of Asian American literature.

No-No Boy
By John Okada
Foreword by Ruth Ozeki
Introduction by Lawson Fusao Inada and Frank Chin

“Asian American readers will appreciate the sensitivity and integrity with which the late John Okada wrote about his own group. He heralded the beginning of an authentic Japanese American literature.”—Gordon Hirabayashi, Pacific Affairs

Originally published in the 1950s, No-No Boy tells the story of Ichiro Yamada, a fictional version of the real-life “no-no boys.” Yamada answered “no” twice in a compulsory government questionnaire as to whether he would serve in the armed forces and swear loyalty to the United States. Unwilling to pledge himself to the country that interned him and his family, Ichiro earns two years in prison and the hostility of his family and community when he returns home to Seattle. The first edition of No-No Boy since 1979 presents this important work to new generations of readers.

Yokohama, California
By Toshio Mori
Introduction to the 2015 edition by Xiaojing Zhou

“Mori’s superbly structured short stories are . . . tender, evocative episodes of growing up as a Japanese American prior to World War II.”—San Francisco Chronicle

Yokohama, California, originally released in 1949, is the first published collection of short stories by a Japanese American. Set in a fictional community, these linked stories are alive with the people, gossip, humor, and legends of Japanese America in the 1930s and 1940s.

Also of interest:

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Fred Korematsu Day 2016

Since 2010, six states—California, Hawai’i, Utah, Illinois, Georgia, and Virginia—have designated January 30th as Fred Korematsu Day, the first day in U.S. history named after an Asian American. The recognition honors the birthday of the civil rights leader best known for resisting Japanese American incarceration during World War II. Several other states, including Michigan and Pennsylvania, have or are considering legislative recognition. This year’s Fred Korematsu Day celebration in San Francisco, which would have been Fred’s ninety-seventh birthday, features a panel that includes Lorraine K. Bannai, author of Enduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justice, which the UW Press released in November. As a young attorney in the 1980s, Bannai was part of the volunteer legal team that resurrected Korematsu’s case and got his unjust conviction overturned.

The following excerpt from Bannai’s book reflects on Fred Korematsu’s growing legacy.

“Stand Up for What Is Right”: 6th Annual Fred Korematsu Day Celebration

Saturday, January 30, 2016
Herbst Theatre, War Memorial & Performing Arts Center / 401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco
VIP Reception at 6:00 PM
Program at 7:30 PM

Re(ad)dressing Racial Injustice: From Japanese American Incarceration to Anti-Muslim Bigotry

FEATURED PANEL
Moderator: John Diaz, Editorial Page Editor, San Francisco Chronicle
Grande H. Lum, Director Community Relations Service, U.S. Department of Justice
Farhana Khera, President & Executive Director, Muslim Advocates
Lorraine K. Bannai, Author, Enduring Conviction

SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKER
The Honorable Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, California Supreme Court Justice

MASTER OF CEREMONIES
John Sasaki, KTVU Fox 2

For ticketing and additional information, visit www.korematsuinstitute.org

Since Fred’s passing, the relevance of his life and case has only grown. His story has remained important as the nation has continued to try to heal the wounds of the wartime incarceration. On May 20, 2011, for example, Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal publicly acknowledged the improper actions of his World War II predecessor, Charles Fahy, when arguing Fred’s case before the Supreme Court. In his blog post “Confession of Error: The Solicitor General’s Mistakes during the Japanese-American Internment Cases,” Katyal explained that while solicitor generals have played important roles throughout history in advancing civil rights, “it is also important to remember the mistakes.”

Citing the evidence presented in Fred Korematsu’s and Gordon Hirabayashi’s coram nobis cases, Katyal related that Fahy was aware of “key intelligence reports that undermined the rationale behind the internment” but failed to disclose those reports to the Court. “And to make matters worse,” Katyal continued, “[Fahy] relied on gross generalizations about Japanese Americans, such as they were disloyal and motivated by ‘racial solidarity.’” He concluded, “Today, our Office takes this history as an important reminder that the ‘special credence’ the Solicitor General enjoys before the Supreme Court requires great responsibility and a duty of absolute candor in our representations to the Court. Only then can we fulfill our responsibility to defend the United States and its Constitution, and to protect the rights of all Americans.” Peter Irons commented that he thought the statement was “good and very long overdue.” “This was a deliberate, knowing lie by Fahy to the Supreme Court. For the nation’s highest counsel to make that statement now is quite noteworthy and admirable.”

Fred’s words have further echoed hauntingly as the country has continued to grapple with issues of race, profiling, and the protection of civil liberties during times of crisis. For example, provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) again raise the specter of indefinite military detention without charges or trial, and Fred’s name and case have been invoked to warn of the danger of compromising due process guarantees. Section 1021 of the NDAA of 2012, still in effect, affirms the authority of the military to indefinitely detain individuals who, in the judgment of military authorities, are considered to have “substantially supported” terrorist organizations. Many criticize that this language is so vague it would allow the indefinite detention of innocent individuals, including American citizens, if the military believed them to be “supporting” terrorism, without charges or trial or other judicial review.

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Q&A with ‘Enduring Conviction’ author Lorraine K. Bannai

In her new book Enduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justice, Lorraine K. Bannai brings an insider’s knowledge to the famous legal case of Fred T. Korematsu, a young man who decided to resist F.D.R.’s Executive Order 9066, which provided authority for the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. His was initially the case of a young man following his heart: he wanted to remain in California with his Italian American fiancée. However, he quickly came to realize that it was more than just a personal choice; it was a matter of basic human rights.

After refusing to leave for incarceration when ordered, Korematsu was eventually arrested and convicted of a federal crime before being confined at Topaz, Utah.

He appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court, which upheld the wartime orders in 1944. Forty years later, a team of young attorneys resurrected Korematsu’s case. This time, Korematsu prevailed and his conviction was overturned, helping to pave the way for Japanese American redress.

Bannai, who was a young attorney on the legal team that represented Korematsu in reopening his case in the 1980s, combines her experiences of working on the case with extensive archival research and first-person interviews. She uncovers the inspiring story of a humble, soft-spoken man who fought tirelessly against human rights abuses long after he was exonerated. In 1998, President Bill Clinton awarded Korematsu the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

We spoke with Bannai about her book, published this fall.

Join us for the launch event with Lorraine K. Bannai, Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, and Karen Korematsu:

Thursday, November 19, 4:30-6:30 p.m. // Seattle University, Sullivan Hall, Room C-5

Why did you want to put together this book?

Lorraine K. Bannai: There are several reasons. First and foremost, I wanted others to know Fred’s story. Fred was a 22-year-old welder in Oakland, California, at the time the government ordered Japanese Americans removed from the West Coast. He chose not to obey and chose instead to remain with the woman he loved in the area that was, and had always been, his home. For that, he was convicted of a federal crime. In 1944, in one the most infamous cases in its history, the Supreme Court upheld his conviction and, in doing so, the removal of over 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry to desolate camps in the interior United States. Forty years later, on proof that the wartime government had lied to the Supreme Court, Fred reopened his case and gained vacation of his conviction; in related proceedings, two other wartime resisters, Gordon Hirabayashi and Minoru Yasui, gained vacation of their convictions, as well. Fred then went on to speak nationally about the constant need to be vigilant to protect civil rights, especially during times of fear. Many people know of Fred’s case; it’s taught in most every law school Constitutional Law class in the country. I wanted to share the story of the good man behind the case and his commitment to protecting others from the type of ignorance and scapegoating that resulted in the wartime Japanese American incarceration.

Further, I wanted to use Fred’s story to illuminate other themes. Fred’s story is also one about the Japanese American community, or at least my experience of the community. I am a third generation Japanese American—a sansei. My grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles were incarcerated at Manzanar in the Mojave Desert. In examining Fred’s life, I hoped to share the experience of this community, an experience unfortunately not unlike the experience of many immigrant communities of color—met by hostility, treated as suspicious and forever foreign. And I hoped to show that, while Japanese Americans share, in many respects, a common culture and historical experience, they are a community of diverse individuals who had multiple different responses to their incarceration—obedience, fear, hurt, anger, defiance—each response unique and understandable.

In addition, as a lawyer, I wanted to use Fred’s story as a case study about the law and legal system—how oftentimes law and justice aren’t the same thing; the need for government officials and the courts to protect the most vulnerable among us; our own roles and responsibilities as citizens to speak out against injustice; and what happens when we fail to live up to our national ideals. The incarceration of Japanese Americans was called for by civic organizations, officials at every level of government, and the popular media. Few spoke out against it. Most who called for the incarceration believed they were acting the best interests of the country. But we now know that the incarceration was an egregious violation of civil liberties.

At the same time Fred’s case can teach us about the ways in which the legal system and its actors can fail us, it also shows examples of ways in which they can be instruments of justice and the promotion of healing. I was privileged to serve on Fred’s legal team in reopening his case. Working with that team of committed, talented lawyers was one of the most rewarding and inspiring experiences I’ve had in my career.

Q: Describe the process of putting together Enduring Conviction.

LKB: It was a long process. I don’t know if it was unusually long, but it certainly seems like it was! It had been simmering in my mind for a number of years, but did not have room to grow until my home institution, Seattle University School of Law, provided me sabbatical time to really dig in. Much of the work involved research in various depositories, including the national archives, libraries, museums, and the like. For example, it was amazing to see the 1942 handwritten entry checking Fred into the San Leandro Jail, in a log now kept by the San Leandro History Museum, as well as the photos of Fred’s parents in his mother’s immigration file at the National Archives in San Bruno. And it was moving to see the wartime letters between Fred and his ACLU legal advocate Ernest Besig at the California Historical Society in San Francisco. But most meaningful were the dozens of interviews I was able to conduct with people who knew Fred—his wife, Kathryn; his children, Karen and Ken; and other members of his family, his friends and acquaintances, and members of his legal team. There were a lot of trips to the Bay Area to do this work. And there were lots of hours at my dining table surrounded by books and papers. It’s nice to now have use of my dining table again.

Q: Who do you see as the audience for your book?

LKB: There are a number of books about Fred for younger audiences. I wrote this book for a college-age/adult audience. I hope that this book will reach readers interested in the Japanese American incarceration, American history, American ethnic studies, Asian American studies, civil rights, race and the law, constitutional law, and legal history. I am most hopeful, however, that this book reaches a general audience interested in the story of someone who simply took a stand against injustice, despite what others thought. In the end, I think that Fred speaks to each us and tells us that we each have both the responsibility and ability to help this country live up to its ideals, which includes vigilance in protecting the marginalized.

Q: Your book tells such a powerful and important story. How did you come up with the title?

LKB: Perhaps like many authors, I struggled to come up with a title that I felt really captured what this book was about (see above—I was trying to do a lot with this book). I spoke with friends and colleagues and just couldn’t seem to come up with anything that seemed quite right. For example, I didn’t want anything along the lines of “Justice Won,” because, while Fred won the vacation of his conviction, we, as a nation, are a long way from achieving justice of the type Fred sought, particularly racial justice.

I was very lucky to have a small, trusted group who read the manuscript (numerous times) and gave me great feedback from diverse points of view. One of these individuals was Uncle Sam Eng, a very wise, very smart, very well-read, and very exacting 80-year-old. He called me one day and said, “I have a title.” And it’s a great one, I think. I’m eternally grateful to Uncle Sam.

America is in the Heart: A New Look at Carlos Bulosan’s Classic Memoir

First published in 1943, America is in the Heart—a classic memoir by Filipino poet Carlos Bulosan—describes his boyhood in the Philippines, his voyage to America, and his years of hardship and despair as an itinerant laborer following the harvest trail in the rural West. In the new 2014 edition of the book, Marilyn C. Alquizola and Lane Ryo Hirabayashi eloquently situate this classic work within a contemporary context while also highlighting the book’s legacy in Filipino American literature as well as in labor and immigration history. Below, we feature an excerpt from this introduction.

On October 2, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 123, a bill that will require public school instruction featuring Filipino Americans’ contributions to the farm labor movement in California. Assembly member Rob Bonta, who sponsored the bill, explained:

The goal of AB 123 is to supplement California’s rich farm worker history with the contributions of the Filipino American community. The Filipino American population composes the largest Asian population in California and it continues to grow, yet the story of Filipinos and their official efforts in the farm labor movement is an untold part of California history.(1)

Sadly, as is thoroughly documented in publications such as the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Close to Slavery: Guestworker Programs in the United States (2013), the plight of farm laborers—not from the Philippines, for the most part, but now mainly men, women, and children from Mexico and Central American countries—is as horrific and unsettling in the new millennium as ever. Perhaps public awareness of today’s exploitation of field-workers will be heightened by AB 123, as well as by the continuing circulation of Filipino American author Carlos Bulosan’s masterpiece of labor history, America Is in the Heart.

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