Events for the 2018 Day of Remembrance

TV viewers in the Pacific Northwest tuning in to the Winter Olympics  this week have been getting an unexpected, 30-second education in America’s wartime incarceration camps, thanks to a personal testimonial I gave for the importance of the work of KING-TV’s  Lori Matsukawa.

The story I refer to was Lori’s exceptional week-long series, “Prisoners in Their Own Land.” It aired one year ago on the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 — by coincidence, one month after the inauguration of the new president. It made his base uncomfortable and sparked reactionary accusations of liberal bias that forced the station into the ridiculous defensive position of having to respond with “Why KING 5 is airing a series on the internment of Japanese Americans.” It harkened back to the 1970s, when Japanese Americans had to justify speaking to the truth of their own experience. You can see Lori’s full series here.  In the third segment, “Warriors and Resisters,” Lori gathered my comments on the community ostracism of the no-no’s and draft resisters, and featured some clips from CONSCIENCE.

ACC Senior Services

CONSCIENCE will screen later this week as part of the “Films of Resistance” series for the 2018 Day of Remembrance at ACC Senior Services, on 7334 Park City Drive in Sacramento. The date is Friday, February 23, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. After the screening I’ll speak on a panel moderated by Dr. Linda Revilla, along with retired Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Charles Kobayashi and Dr. Phillip Akutsu of Sacramento State University, whose father Jim Akutsu is featured in our film and also in our forthcoming book on John Okada. The event is co-sponsored by the Jan Ken Po Cultural Association and is supported by a grant from API Rise.  Admission is free and open to the public, but they ask you to RSVP to cmoua@accsv.org or (916) 393-9026.

The next day, Saturday, February 24, I’ll be in San Francisco to moderate a screening for the Nichi Bei Weekly’s 2018 Films of Remembrance.

Screening at 6:00 pm at New People Cinena on 1746 Post St., will be “Speak Out For Justice” (2018, 14 min., see the trailer), Steve Nagano’s new film drawn from video of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians hearings in Los Angeles in 1981. DVDs of Conscience will be on sale at a discount, with all proceeds going to the Nichi Bei Weekly’s operating fund, or wherever Kenji needs it.

If you’re in the area for either event, please join us and say you read about it here.

Making February 19 a Day of Resistance

I realize there’s too much to focus on right now, between keeping kids safe from guns, the Russian indictments, and more, but February 19 is coming up. Please join Dale Minami and others in making this Day of Remembrance a Day of Resistance as well by signing this open letter. This is part of a national strategy for Japanese Americans who remember the camps to formally stand with Muslim Americans, led by the one-time coram nobis attorneys who are getting the band back together to file an amicus brief in the names of Korematsu, HIrabayashi, and Yasui as the Supreme Court rules on the Muslim travel ban.

hands cutting barbed wire

Add Your Name to an Open Letter to the Country

Opposing the Muslim Ban and Supporting the Korematsu-Takai Civil Liberties Protection Act of 2017

Monday, February 19, is the annual Day of Remembrance, marking the anniversary of Executive Order 9066, setting into motion the exclusion, eviction, and incarceration of 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry, both American citizens and immigrants.

Remembering one of our country’s worst civil rights failures is not enough, and never has been. Now, more than ever, we must actively Resist in order to pressure our government leaders and courts to #StopRepeatingHistory.

Join us in making February 19 a Day of Resistance as well as a Day of Remembrance.

Oppose the Muslim Ban by adding your name to this Open Letter to the Country in support of the Korematsu-Takai Civil Liberties Protection Act of 2017, introduced by U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth and Mazie Hirono, and companion legislation introduced by Congressman Mark Takano in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Please ask organizations with which you are affiliated to endorse the Resolution which can be downloaded here.

By adding your name to the Open Letter, we are telling the country and our leaders that the Muslim Ban is unacceptable and that it represents the same injustice suffered by Japanese Americans and immigrants during the Incarceration.

Thank you in advance for being part of the Resistance!

Dale Minami
President
CAPA21 Action Fund

Nisei Naysayer: announcing the memoir of journalist James Omura

Congratulations to Art Hansen for fulfilling the promise he made to James Omura before Omura’s death in 1994 — to get Jimmie’s memoirs published someday.

It’s taken a quarter-century, but thanks to Art and Stanford University Press you can now see how the journalist who called out JACL in 1942 for “selling Japanese America down the river” was shaped by his beginnings on Bainbridge Island and coming of age in the Pacific Northwest, his early work on Nisei vernaculars in California, and his showdowns with JACL and the US government in San Francisco and Denver.

Frank Chin provides the Foreword, “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men,” Heart Mountain draft resister Yosh Kuromiya provides the Preface, and I was honored to be asked to write the Afterword, entitled “Who Writes History?” Continue reading Nisei Naysayer: announcing the memoir of journalist James Omura

John Okada: His life and unknown work revealed in forthcoming book

UW Press book coverWe’re pleased to announce the publication in July 2018 of a new book  from the University of Washington Press that reveals new information about the life of John Okada and brings to light his unknown works.

Preorder now through the UW Press and use the promo code WST30 to get a 30% discount.

Here’s the synopsis just released by the UW Press on page 8 of its new Spring 2018 catalog. Continue reading John Okada: His life and unknown work revealed in forthcoming book

Save Tule Lake: Send a letter by Oct. 10

graphic by Nathaniel Levine - Sacramento BeeThis graphic in last Monday’s Sacramento Bee says it all: “The proposed fence would encircle the Tulelake Municipal Airport next to the town of Newell,”

The Tule Lake Committee has issued an urgent call to #SaveTuleLake, where more than 24,000 Japanese Americans were imprisoned during World War II. They are appealing for voices to be heard against the construction of a three-mile-long fence that will close off an airport that sits on two-thirds of the former concentration camp site and which, if built, would permanently close off access to the barracks area where most people lived. A national civil rights site will be irreparably damaged. Continue reading Save Tule Lake: Send a letter by Oct. 10

Hirabayashi jail cell memorialized at King County Courthouse

plaqueSeventy-five years ago, University of Washington student  Gordon Hirabayashi said enough was enough and simply refused to obey an 8pm curfew aimed only at persons of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast. He got himself arrested and was held in a jail cell on the top floor of the King County Courthouse for nine months. He took his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Continue reading Hirabayashi jail cell memorialized at King County Courthouse

Film mentioned as an #inspirASIAN

graphic image of Frank AbeHumbled and a little embarrassed by this online recognition from the Asian American Journalists Association and friend Lori Matsukawa — but worthwhile if it encourages AAJA members to embrace their role in the newsroom and pitch stories that shine a light on our diverse communities — just as Lori has done so effectively in her position on air. Also worth it if it helps call attention to the film and the story of the Heart Mountain resisters and all the resisters in camp and the courts.
Continue reading Film mentioned as an #inspirASIAN

New translation of “NO-NO BOY” for the 21st century

Ryusuke KawaiJournalist Ryusuke Kawai says he decided to re-translate John Okada’s No-No Boy because readers found the previous rendering in Japanese to be filled with archaic words and incorrect grammar that made them put down the book. Kawai spoke to an attentive audience in Seattle on March 11, as a guest of former Uwajimaya CEO Tomio Moriguchi.
Continue reading New translation of “NO-NO BOY” for the 21st century

Japanese Latin American Abductee to Testify Before International Commission

Guest post by Martha Nakagawa

family with carIsamu Carlos Arturo “Art” Shibayama, who was among the more than 2,264 Japanese Latin Americans (JLA) kidnapped from their country during World War II by the United States government to be used in hostage exchanges with Japan, will finally get a hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington DC, on March 21, from 8:30 am, in the Padilha Vidal Room.
Continue reading Japanese Latin American Abductee to Testify Before International Commission

Guardian of history challenges historical integrity of “Allegiance”

Only four weeks, and we are already fatigued with the daily barrage of demonstrable lies and outright propaganda coming from the new Administration. Terms like “alternative facts” and “fake news” have suddenly entered the lexicon. In his climate of misdirection, it’s more critical than ever to hold tight to a sense of reality and a common set of facts.

Densho logoIn that regard the Densho Project in Seattle has been a leader in the documentation of facts about the WW2 incarceration of Japanese Americans, both through the video capture of first-person narratives and the preservation of photos and documents. So it is worth taking note when Densho addresses the question we’ve raised before of the historical integrity of the musical Allegiance, screening again today on this Day of Remembrance.
Continue reading Guardian of history challenges historical integrity of “Allegiance”