News updates in 2002

An archive of news updates from our home page in 2002:

Update: Monday, January 2, 2002
Happy New Year. 
The issue of racial profiling is still with us: see yet another quote from me in a recent Sacramento Bee story, “Reality meets rhetoric over race profiling.”

Update: Tuesday, January 22, 2002
Organizers of the JACL public ceremony to present its formal apology for suppressing wartime resistance are still trying to nail down a date and the money to stage it. The latest date mentioned is April 28th but that evidently conflicts with the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage. Read an earlier message from ceremony co-chair Andy Noguchi; Resisters.com is supporting the event at the Silver level.  A number of veterans groups have lined up to attack JACL.  Japanese America remains an interesting place to live.

Our public television presenter, the Independent Television Service, has just revamped its Web site and given us a clean-looking page for our show.  There is now also a link to the PBS.org TALKBACK page where you can leave a comment about our show or ask a question of producer Frank Abe or resisters Yosh Kuromiya and Tak Hoshizaki.  And see a video preview of our program.  I hope to get more resources online soon in response to the many students who have posted questions recently. We do have two short video clips from our film now online in our STUDY CENTER.

ITVS has also just commissioned producer Rob Mikuriya to create by July an interactive Web project that connects the experiences of Japanese Americans in the early 1940s with those of Arab Americans today through a series of personal stories told through audio, photos and Flash animation.  Read the press release.

Update: Thursday, February 7, 2002
Big headline in the Pacific Citizen just received: “JACL Postpones Resisters Ceremony: May is Possible New Date for Event.”  They’re looking for a room, a speaker, and a budget. Read the story.  Also, read the letter and formal resolutionfrom last summer from the Japanese American veterans in Sacramento attacking JACL for its apology ceremony. Someday we’ll have to discuss the logic of their argument.

Students at the University of Illinois in Chicago promise “refreshments and education will be served” at a Feb. 18th Day of Remembrance screening of our film in the Montgomery Ward Gallery.  The JACL has collected a list of Day of Remembrance events nationwide on their site.  I will be present at two other upcoming screenings of our film at the San Diego Public Library on March 3rd, and the Bellevue Art Museum, east of Seattle, on March 14th.

Update: Wednesday, February 13, 2002
In the Seattle area, please tune in this Friday for a half-hour “Day of Remembrance” interview on KBCS-FM:

Friday, Feb. 15, 6:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. on Voices of Diversity, on KBCS-FM, 91.3:
Voices of Diversity has dedicated our entire show to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 which unjustly forced thousands of Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War II in 1942. Local director and filmmaker Frank Abe is interviewed about his documentary “Conscience and the Constitution,” which looks at this distrubing episode in American history. Abe’s “Conscience and the Constitution” will screen on March 14 at the Bellevue Art Museum. Voices of Diversity is hosted by Kevin P. Henry.

Update: Friday, February 22, 2002
Launched on Tuesday just in time for this year’s Day of Remembrance is a new online resource for students and teachers, the Densho Educational Website.  Bookmarkwww.densho.org for a digital archive that holds a little more than 110 interviews (over 200 hours of recorded video) and 980 historic photos and documents. Think of it as the Japanese American equivalent of Steven Spielberg’s  Survivors of the Shoah Visual History project.  This launch represents six years of work by Director Tom Ikeda and his talented staff.  I am proud to have made one tiny contribution with the interview of Issei Seattle redress pioneer Shosuke Sasaki.  Congratulations Tom and crew.

The Pacific Citizen now reports a confirmed date for the JACL “Resisters of Conscience” ceremony: Saturday, May 11th, at around 1:30 p.m, at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center.  Keynote speaker is Congressman Mike Honda, and they hope to at least get a video message from Sen. Daniel Inouye, who has spoken on his desire to see respect for those who resisted the draft to protest incarceration.  I am planning to be there.  Read the previous Pacific Citizen story on the various postponements of this program.  If you can support this program with a donation, organizers Andy Noguchi and Patty Wada would be grateful.  Also, read the letter and formal resolution from last summer from the Japanese American veterans in Sacramento attacking JACL for its apology ceremony.

But before that, look for our film at the San Diego Public Library on March 3rd, and theBellevue Art Museum near Seattle on March 14th. Download the San Diego flyer [318K .pdf]outlining a series of internment related programs from now through April. Also, thanks to LeeAnn Kim at San Diego AAJA for posting a notice right on top of the San Diego Asian Film Festival website.

Update: Wednesday, April 17, 2002
Please join us at Mills College in Oakland on Monday, April 22nd at 7 p.m., in Stern Hall, room 100. I’ll be joined at this screening not only by resister Mits Koshiyama, but also by Amjad Obeidat from American Muslims Intent on Learning and Activism. Sponsored by the Ethnic Studies  Department, the Women’s Studies Program, and the Asian Pacific Islander Sisterhood Alliance of Mills College.

Update: Saturday, April 20, 2002
Just received a letter from Frank Emi, the leader of the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee, responding to yet another newspaper attack in the weeks leading up to the JACL’s public ceremony apologizing for its suppression of Emi and wartime resistance. Check back in a day or two so I can get it scanned and posted, but right now I’m leaving for Oakland.

Update: Monday, April 29, 2002

Just as he did 58 years ago in camp, Frank Emi has gone back to his typewriter to answer a written attack on him and the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee. The upcoming JACL public ceremony apologizing for its suppression of wartime resistance is meant to bring some measure of reconciliation and healing of divisions in the Japanese American community, and in the long run it may accomplish that, but in the short term it’s certainly prompted the revival of some old myths and misconceptions about the nature of the resistance. Read Sus Satow’s op-ed pieceas published, uncorrected, in the April 11 Rafu Shimpo newspaper, then read Frank Em’s reply sent the next day to the Rafu and Pacific Citizen.

Meanwhile, only two more weeks until the JACL “Resisters of Conscience” ceremony on Saturday, May 11th, at 1:30 p.m, at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center. Here’s the latest update received April 27th from organizer Andy Noguchi:

Thanks for helping to publicize the Resister Recognition & Reconciliation Ceremony on your web site. Plans are finally shaping up well with support building.

We currently have 13 resisters or family representatives planning to attend, with Frank Emi and Yosh Kuromiya slated to speak on behalf of the resisters. We are hoping to have several other resisters and family members attend, also. We’re also including a family representative speaking, Dan Kubo, son of the late Yoshi Kubo, an Amache Resister. Additionally, we have two individual veterans speaking: Marvin Uratsu of the M.I.S. of N. Calif. and Warren Tsuneishi of the J.A.V.A.

Besides yourself, exhibitors will include Emiko Omori (Rabbit in the Moon), Eric Muller’s representative with his book (Free to Die for Their Country), and a representative of William Hohri (Resistance: Challenging America’s Wartime Internment of Japanese Americans).

The community is being very generous in making donations to carry out this overdue program. The total is currently over $10,000.

Thanks for all your efforts to educate the public on the importance of the resisters. I’ve been mentioning to resisters and their families your plans to attend and have your video there. Several have said it needs to get out to the public even more.

See you May 11th – Andy

Update: Saturday, May 4, 2002
The upcoming JACL public ceremony apologizing for its suppression of wartime resistance is taking on a life of its own. The Associated Press ran the story nationwide yesterday, under the title, “Japanese Group to Give Draft Apology“. Several San Francisco TV stations and print journalists are planning stories. Organizers have issued an updated flyer [Word doc, 392 KB]. And Bay Area PR professional Keith Kamisugi has just put out a JACL press release and created a special event website, “Nisei Resisters of Conscience of World War II Recognition and Reconciliation Ceremony,” at www.resisters.net with details of the program on May 11 and a map. Several students have e-mailed to ask if they needed an invitation to attend. Well, none is required, but resisters.net does have an online e-vite invitation form for you to accept.

Update: Monday, May 6, 2002
The JACL press release was picked up by PoliticalCircus.com – said to be a popular APA political Web site. The Associated Press ran the story nationwide yesterday, under the title, “Japanese Group to Give Draft Apology,” and Aiko Herzig reports a short brief from it ran in the Washington Post.

Update: Tuesday, May 7, 2002
If 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 imminentNisei Resisters of Conscience of World War II Recognition and Reconciliation Ceremony this Saturday in San Francisco. For full details and a map to the event, visit the JACL’s Resisters.net site. The articles below appeared in slightly different forms in the Pacific Citizen, Nichi Bei Times, and Rafu Shimpo newspapers. The key article may be the most recent one, provided by scholar Eric Muller.

An Open Letter to the Draft Resisters, Their Supporters and the National JACL Leadership,” by Loren M. Ishii
Pacific Citizen, March 15- April 4, 2002
Nichi Bei Times, March 16, 2002

Regarding the VFW, the JACL and the Draft Resisters,” by Takasumi Kojima
Nichi Bei Times, March 23, 2002

Who Are The Resisters of Conscience?” by Sus Satow
Pacific Citizen, April 5-18, 2002
Rafu Shimpo, April 11, 2002

Reply to Sus Satow,’
by Frank S. Emi, Member, Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee
Nichi Bei Times, April 12, 2002
Pacific Citizen, April 19-May 2, 2002

The JACL Image and the Resisters of Conscience Ceremony,”
by Fred Oshima, Nichi Bei Times Columnist
Nichi Bei Times, April 12, 2002

Donations Show Support for Resisters Ceremony, Organizers Say,” by Tracy Uba, Pacific Citizen Writer/Reporter
Pacific Citizen, April 19-May 2, 2002

Who are the Resisters? An Answer,” by Mits Koshiyama
Letter to the Editor” by Steven J. Doi
Nichi Bei Times, April 30, 2002

The Final Word From a Nisei Post” by Loren M. Ishii
Commander’s Column,” by Loren M. Ishii
Nichi Bei Times, May 1, 2002

To Resist or to Comply: A Human Dilemma,” by Eric L. Muller
special to the Pacific Citizen, May 3-16, 2002
Nichi Bei Times, May 2, 2002

Update: Friday, May 10, 2002, 5 p.m.
KRON-TV, Channel 4 in San Francisco, has put its story on the JACL apology online with a video clip. Read the story here, then follow the link to the video clip. You’ll see video from our film that we furnished them, including a clip from the Central California JACL meeting that rejected the apology in 1999, and reporter Vic Lee consulted our script to make his point about the resisters who served in the Korean War. KGO’s Heather Ishimaru says her story on the resisters is set to air on Channel 7 at about 6:11 p.m. tonight. Thanks Keith for getting our B-roll to them. See you all tomorrow in the City.

I gave an interview that’s now online at the Asian Diversity Web site. And overnight or early Saturday check the Voice of America site for a link to a radio interview with myself, Paul Tsuneishi, and some of the resisters. 

Update: Saturday, May 11, 11 p.m.
Twelve years ago it would have been unthinkable to see the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee admitted as a group to a JACL meeting, much less be the center of honor and attention, but that’s just what happened earlier today. More than 300 people, many of them family and friends of the Nisei WW2 draft resisters, filled the gym at the San Francisco Japanese American Community and Cultural Center. Come back after 9 a.m. Sunday morning and I hope to have more details on Frank Emi and Yosh Kuromiya’s extraordinary statements.  Come back in about two weeks and I hope to be able to post some streaming video clips shot by filmmaking veteran Curtis Choy.

Update: Sunday, May 12, 9 a.m. (with updated links to news coverage)
Our film ends with the on-screen tag, “In July 2000, the national Japanese American Citizens League voted to apologize for its suppression of wartime resistance. Several JACL old-timers walked out in protest.”  On Saturday, about 300 people, many of them family and friends of the resisters, filled the gym at the San Francisco Japanese American Community and Cultural Center for the Nisei Resisters of Conscience of World War II Recognition and Reconciliation Ceremony. The event was remarkable for a number of reasons:

  • The event captured the imagination of the media locally, nationally, and even worldwide. Effective outreach by Keith Kamisugi and his Resisters.net site caught the attention of editors who framed this as another WW2 “sixty years later” reconciliation story. Japanese NHK-TV was there, as was the Wall Street Journal and many local broadcast and print media.
  • The event succeeded in drawing out 21 draft resisters from Heart Mountain, Amache and even the lone resister from Jerome, Joe Yamakido, who told me he just wanted to see it but didn’t want to be introduced. We got his name to the organizers, and after he came up to receive his ceremonial gift and returned to his seat high in the bleachers, his daughter gave him a big hug and wiped away her own tears. It was also a shock to finally get to meet George Kurasaki, Halley Minoura, Bob Nagahara, and other Heart Mountain resisters who are in the courtroom photo but never wanted to come out in public until now.
  • JACL National President Floyd Mori and Executive Director John Tateishi demonstrated tremendous grace and leadership in following through with a very visible public ceremony. Within the roles they play in the community they took a great risk in fulfilling the membership’s mandate to hold a public ceremony, when they could have just gone through the motions with a few words at the next convention, or at the resisters symposium in Wyoming last spring. Twelve years ago it would have been unthinkable to see the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee admitted as a group to a JACL meeting, much less be the center of honor and attention. Even when Frank Emi and Mits Koshiyama spoke at the 1994 JACL convention in Salt Lake City, there was an uneasy air about the invitation and a local white scholar was brought in to mediate the proceedings. In the 20th century a convention resolution deemed ill-advised by the Nisei old guard would have simply been redirected or undermined by JACL leadership. By following their own consciences, and the mandate of their members, Mori and Tateishi have elevated the JACL of today to a new level of credibility as the civil rights organization it has strived to be since resettlement.

Resistance leader Frank Emi and draft resister Yosh Kuromiya graciously acknowledged the reconciliation.  But what may have been lost in the good feelings of the moment, which several journalists did not miss, was that Emi and Yosh raised the stakes by calling on JACL to consider apologizing to the entire community for its policy of compliance with expulsion and initial waiver of civil rights for an entire people. Come back by mid-week and I will scan and post Emi’s entire statement, but here is his closing:

“I wish to extend my appreciation to the JACL for sponsoring this ceremony. As a civil rights organization, I believe it is a step in the right direction.

Having said that, I think it would be entirely appropriate for JACL to go one step further and hold a similar program directed towards the Japanese American community for the excesses committed by wartime JACL leaders, such as acting as informants for the government causing many innocent people to suffer, as recorded in the Lim Report.

I believe such action would finally put to rest, JACL’s unholy ghosts of the past and would be a worthy way to start the 21st century.

The United States government apologized for their wartime excesses.  Can JACL do less?”

That was unexpected, but on reflection it is typical Frank Emi. Never afraid to take a stand. It is his image, by the way, at the top of this page. Come back in several weeks and I hope to be up and running with a few streaming video clips shot by filmmaking veteran Curtis Choy.

These links to the news coverage that is available online were updated on May 22:

Update: Tuesday, May 22, 2002
See and hear Sen. Daniel Inouye speak on behalf of reconciliation with the Nisei draft resisters, in exclusive comments to this Web site [4.7 MB] in Seattle on May 5, a week before his videotaped statement with the same message was delivered to the JACL apology ceremony. This video clip was fittingly shot by Phil Sturholm, the videographer on our film. Click on the image to play a RealMedia file, which requires the free RealOne player(Due to our current lack of a RealMedia server, the entire file will download first, so this is not recommended for dial-up users.)

We depend on the Nikkei vernaculars for the real story, and now  Martha Nakagawa of the Pacific Citizen and Kenji Taguma of the Nichi Bei Times have written the most knowledgeable reports yet on the JACL reconciliation ceremony. Read the PC’s “Historic Apology Marks First Step in Reconciliation Between JACL and Resisters of Conscience” and the Nichi Bei’s “Historic JACL Ceremony Recognizing WWII Resisters Called a “First Step” in Reconciliation.” The Associated Press sent award-winning news photographer Paul Sakuma to the ceremony, and you can see four of his photos online.

And now an unusual offer has come our way. In the wake of the JACL reconciliation ceremony, writer Frank Chin is offering visitors to Resisters.com a preview of his forthcoming book on the Heart Mountain resisters and the JACL. It comes with a challenge to Japanese American writers and journalists:

I think you can use your website as a temporary magazine to encourage the emergence of a body of Japanese American critics and historians — to tell things form the Japanese American or Asian American point of view, in plain language

I want to give the flavor of the book. Your readers have the facts. I’m trying to open them up to the art of — for lack of a better phrase — The Great Japanese American Novel. You can use James Omura, the section of talking about the great JA novel with Larry Tajiri, as intro.

We are presenting here an exclusive 48 page excerpt from the 444-page copyrighted book, Born in the USA: A Story of Japanese America 1889-1947, by Frank Chin. It is an epic vision modeled on John Dos Passos’ The USA Trilogy and consists of four “books:” “Japanese America — The Issei,” “The Nisei Dream,” “Dec. 7, 1941/The Closing Papers,” and “Them And Us.” The work is largely drawn from original documentary sources, but the opinions expressed in Mr. Chin’s work are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of this Web site or its owner. The excerpt will only be online for a limited time, to be replaced by other chapters. The link has now been removed.

Update: Friday, June 7, 2002
Just when you thought the dust had settled from the May 11 JACL ceremony to reconcile with its WW2 suppression of camp resistance, we have one more round of letters to the editor in the Pacific Citizen, including a special note from one of the resisters:

Also, Rich Wada tipped us off to one radio piece that is still online, a personal commentary by Kenji Taguma, English editor of the Nichi Bei Times and son of an Amache resister.  He spoke on KQED-FM’s Pacific Time broadcast on May 16.  Scroll down to the fifth story.

Update: Saturday, June 28, 2002
“Conscience” will be screened on July 4th at the 2002 Tule Lake Pilgrimage during the long ride to camp on each of the ten buses departing from Washington, Oregon and California.  Pilgrims will have another chance to view it during “rest” times and optional activities. The theme for this year’s pilgrimage is, appropriately enough, “Patriotism and Loyalty Revisited.” The film is also screening again in Seattle during “Afest: Through the Lens,” the first film festival sponsored by the Northwest Asian American Theater, sometime in July.

Update: Monday, July 29, 2002
Another pair of Seattle screenings is set for early August. “A-Fest: Through the Lens,” is a showcase for local filmmakers, and the first film festival sponsored by the Northwest Asian American Theatre. Screenings are at Theatre Off-Jackson on Sunday, August 4th at 1:30 p.m. and Thursday, August 8th at 7:30 p.m.

Update: Wednesday, August 21, 2002
Interest remains high in the so-called “Lim Report,” the Research Report prepared for the Presidential Select Committee on JACL Resolution #7, submitted in 1990 byDeborah K. Lim. I wrote in 1990 about how the Japanese American Citizens League commissioned the report, then tried to bury it when they saw the direction it was taking (“Report Says Wartime JACL Leaders Collaborated“). Heart Mountain resistance leader Frank Emi called on JACL to address the issues raised in that report, even as JACL was apologizing to Emi and others last May for its suppression of wartime resistance. So in response to several requests, we’ve added a special link to the full text of the unexpurgated report and the introduction written by William Hohri.

Update: Thursday, August 29, 2002
This Web site has been one of the two places on the Internet where you can download an uncensored copy of the so-called “Lim Report,” the Research Report prepared for the Presidential Select Committee on JACL Resolution #7, submitted in 1990 by Deborah K. Lim. Now, with no fanfare, you can obtain in book form, free of charge, the report that details the JACL’s role of cooperation and collaboration with government exclusion orders in 1942. It’s all somewhat mysterious, but the Lim Report has been self-published with the author’s permission. I received my copy Tuesday. No publisher is named anywhere, but thanks to whoever was responsible for alerting readers to the online version here at Resisters.com. William Hohri outlines the history of this book in his latest Rambler’s Nemesis column published yesterday in the Rafu Shimpo newspaper.

Update: Saturday, August 31, 2002
We can finally present you with a 70-secondQuickTime video clip of Heart Mountain resistance leader Frank Emi’s remarks on May 11, 2002, challenging the Japanese American Citizens League to address the question of its wartime collaboration with incarceration, even as the group was apologizing to Emi and others for its suppression of wartime resistance. Click on the image on the right, you will need to download the free Quicktime Player.

In this first clip, Emi makes reference to what’s commonly known as “The Lim Report.”

Update: Monday, Dec. 2, 2002
In his latest Rambler’s Nemesis column in the Nov. 30th Rafu Shimpo newspaper, writer William Hohri reports the social ostracism against the Heart Mountain resisters continues in Southern California and Little Tokyo. It’s the kind of nonsense that makes me glad I live in Seattle. William says he did succeed in organizing a party for two books on the Heart Mountain resisters at Reikai’s Kitchen, in Little Tokyo Towers at 455 E. Third Street, on Saturday, January 11, 2003, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

See our new page devoted to the story of the JACL apology to the Heart Mountain resisters.

Update: Saturday, Dec. 7, 2002
Thanks for visiting if you saw our ad [pdf: 414 KB] Friday in the Nichibei Times or Rafu Shimpo newspapers. A new shipment of tapes just arrived and we can send them to arrive before Christmas.

Another Pearl Harbor anniversary has also arrived, but it’s no longer the day that Japanese Americans go into hiding thanks to redress and the reversal of lingering stereotypes that began with the first Day of Remembrance. A Day of Remembrance committee in New York City is planning a screening of our film on Saturday, March 8, 2003, organized by Tsuya Yee, who happens to be the granddaughter of none other than writer/historian William Hohri. Details to come.

Just added is a 73-second QuickTime clip of the actual words of apology from National JACL President Floyd Mori. The image is muddy and due to an error in editing there is distracting double audio in places, but it will be awhile before we can recut it.

Update: Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2002
I was wondering what holiday message I could possibly post, when along comes this from writer Frank Chin:

What, the JACL made a statement defending civil rights? (Tateishi: “JACL Calls for Lott Resignation,” December 19, 2002) They’re against the Bush administrations chipping away at the rights of Arab Americans and Islamists? Don’t trust the JACL.

The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) is an organization of hypocrites. On Xmas Eve of 1947 they vilified  263 prisoners of concentration camps who had resisted the draft and the campaign of JACL backing the government camps and racist policies.

In 1942 Mike Masaoka, the JACL leader, announced, “The National JACL stands unalterably opposed to test cases to determine the constitutionality of the military regulations at this time. We have reached this decision unanimously after examining all the facts in light of our national policy of ‘the greatest good for the greatest number.'” [read the full original document online at PBS.org — ed.]  No mention is made of the resisters’ heroic stand against the camps and JACL stand against the resistance and their support of the camps as places where the Japanese Americans could “re-earn their citizenship.” In the words of their leader, Mike Masaoka, “Moreover, no group of Americans ever had their liberties handed to them on a silver platter. They had to work, to sacrifice, to suffer for them. And, because of that work, that sacrifice, that suffering, citizenship means more to them today than ever before.”

Norman Mineta had his brother-in-law’s words emblazoned on the Monument to the Nisei of WWII in Washington. Not those words, but heavily edited words that thank the government for the camps. The JACL has never repudiated Mike Masaoka’s stand against Japanese American civil rights and has never repudiated their stand in favor of the camps and the racist policies against the Japanese Americans. They are obviously the same organization they were in 1942.  They still aspire to lure their people longing to secure their civil rights, into their web, where they will betray them.

The JACL’s objections to the government’s current flirtations with racism is a rip off of the resisters stand during camp, in a bid to prove themselves a civil rights organization. But they were not a civil rights organization, they were a government agent in a civil rights disguise. And they still are.

Of course they can change. Simply admit Mike Masaoka was a government shill and repudiate him. Dump their policies of 1942 to 2002. Change their name.

Merry Xmas. — Frank Chin

To talk back, use our message board on the Internet Movie Database. Want to read more like this? He’s not for everyone, but Chin’s new book on the Heart Mountain resisters and what he likes to call the JACL betrayal of Japanese America has just been published and is now on sale online through Amazon.com. It’s a thick book, 432 pages, and draws from interviews conducted for Conscience and the Constitution and much other work. Send your comments if you’ve read it.

Sure, leave a comment. All questions answered.