My eulogy for Mits Koshiyama

I regret I cannot be there for Mits Koshiyama’s memorial service. Here is the family memorial notice in the San Jose Mercury-News.

I want to thank my brother Steve for delivering this message today on my behalf at Wesley United Methodist Church:

IN MEMORY OF MITS: Were it not for the work I am doing today to honor Mits and the other Heart Mountain resisters, I would be with you to remember Mits and all the things he stood for.

Mits was the heart and soul of the resistance to our unjust incarceration. He was just a boy when he was called upon to take a stand as a man. He was willing to go to court and risk years in prison to fight for his rights, but he was still able to see the humor when their attorney suggested the 63 boys all cut their hair short so they would all look alike and not be identified in court … or when the prosecutor rocked back and forth in his chair and flipped over backwards. It’s no coincidence that in the iconic photo of the resisters in court, Mits is front and center. He said, “Being young guys, we all sat in the front row, to see what all the action was, y’know?”

Today I am listening to Mits’ words as I edit his stories into extra features for the film to which he contributed, and as I hear his voice, it’s like he’s here in the room with me, remembering the visits from grocer Kozie Sakai or complaining about the JACL putting good publicity over good law. He was unlike any Nisei I have ever known, and he is going to be missed. But we were lucky to have known him, and we will all keep his spirit alive for generations to come, so that all Americans can know and understand his particular brand of principle and courage.

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