An eventful Day of Remembrance just past. The Fresno Bee on Feb. 19 published an op-ed from 16-year old Marissa Honda, an insightful piece in which she speaks of her faith in her generation to remember the legacy of the draft resisters, in contrast to her older relatives who lived through those times:
I can tell by their shifty eyes and serious expressions that many of them still feel embarrassed by those who might have been seen as disloyal Americans. It is as if by supporting the resisters after 50 years, they still fear being labelled as disloyal Americans themselves.
It’s a remarkable piece, inspired in part from a viewing of our film. You can read “Japanese draft resisters deserve better,” as a 1MB PDF file to see how it looked in the paper. Renews one’s hope for the future.
Two new law school journal articles examine the Japanese American draft cases.
The most recent is by Seattle University Law Professor Lorraine Bannai. Its publication in the Seattle Journal for Social Justice is being marked with a Day of Remembrance event, “Honoring Courage: Remembering the Japanese American Internment” on Wednesday, February 15, at 5:00 p.m. in the second floor gallery of Sullivan Hall, 901 12th Avenue. The event is co-sponsored by the school’s Asian Pacific Islander Law Student Association. It’s free and open to the public.
“I’ve written an article, focusing on Fred Korematsu, Gene Akutsu, and Yosh Kuromiya for their resistance to the WWII internment. I drew from the Conscience and the Constitution website and film and am grateful for all of your work.
“To launch the issue of the Seattle Journal for Social Justice that the article will appear in, Seattle U. is hosting the event described in the attached. Gene will be speaking at the event. We very much would like to have members of the Japanese American community here to recognize the courage of those who were interned.
“Again, thank you for your work on the resisters’ cause, upon which I could draw.”
— Lori Bannai
The other article was published by our good friend Professor Eric Muller, in the Spring 2005 edition of Law and Contemporary Problems, a quarterly published by the Duke University School of Law. Never short for words, Eric is Special Editor of the entire issue devoted to “Judgments Judged and Wrongs Remembered: Examining the Japanese American Civil Liberties Cases On Their Sixtieth Anniversary.” The entire issue is worth reading and is posted online.
Eric’s article,”A Penny for Their Thoughts: Draft Resistance at the Poston Relocation Center,” adds to our knowledge of the inner workings of the Poston resistance and the different sentences handed to three different groups of Poston resisters, with exhaustive research into Richard Nishimoto’s diary, Community Analysis reports and letters from the project attorney.
George Kurasaki was one of those fellows we wished we could have known, one of the Heart Mountain boys who did not seek attention for himself.
When we were searching for resisters to interview for our film, he was among those who sent word back that they did not wish to be interviewed. But George finally did come out to join us. He came to the JACL apology ceremony to the resisters in San Francisco in 2002. We noted his presence there at the time, and now regret we didn’t follow up with him to learn more.
George passed away just after the new year. The San Jose Mercury-News recognized his life with a fine remembrance, “George Kurasaki, prankster on farm,” (requires subscription) in which we learn of his risking arrest for violating curfew and travel restrictions after Pearl Harbor in order to propose to his sweetheart, and of their getting married before eviction so they could stay together.