In memoriam: George Nozawa

George Nozawa (right)Sad news from Mountain View, California tonight. George Nozawa was a quiet, thoughtful man who provided a number of the newspaper clippings and primary documents that are seen in our film, including his own draft card! The photo from his collection shows George on the right with his good friend, FPC leader Frank Emi:

From Kenji Taguma of the Nichi Bei Times.

I am saddened to report that George Nozawa, said to be the unofficial historian of the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee, passed away on Monday, April 21.

Details are still somewhat sketchy, but he’s been in failing health recently. I’ve learned of his death through the Koshiyamas in San Jose, who were informed by George’s daughter (I believe that he also has one son).

George has played a central role in the camaraderie between the Amache (Granada) / Tucsonian resisters and Heart Mountain resisters over the years, during a time when the story of the principled stand of the resisters was rapidly coming to light in the 1990s. I remember inviting him to the two Tucsonian (resisters) reunions in Sacramento that I organized, and his compilation of articles of Amache resisters — and their arrests and trials — are still a fond piece of my collection. I am indebted to him for helping to reclaim a piece of history.

Over the years, he has meticulously clipped resister-related articles and has generously shared them with others, myself included.

Last year, my brother Mark and I visited George and his wife, taking along Professor Yukio Morita of Kanazawa University — whose comprehensive book on Nisei resisters [pdf, 3MB] helped to document for eternity the stories of George, my father and other resisters.

Since George lived about a couple of blocks from my brother in Mountain View, my dad would often visit George when at my brother’s, and share some cherished memories.

I will remember George as someone who was straight and narrow. I will truly miss George, another personal hero who may be gone, yet will not be forgotten.

We’re unsure about any services, but it might be good to check in the San Jose Mercury News in the next couple of days. I hear that George was a member of the Mountain View Buddhist Temple.

— Kenji

Kenji also sent an article in the San Bernardino County Sun about the latest performance of “A Community Divided” on April 23 by Frank Emi, Yosh Kuromiya, Paul Tsuneishi and Momo Yashima, with a great 9-picture photo gallery of the event.

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