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Conscience and the Constitution

"There's a lot of people in the Japanese American community who would like to round up all three of you [filmmakers] and shoot you."
--Professor Art Hansen, Calfornia State University, Fullerton

The issues presented in CONSCIENCE AND THE CONSTITUTION challenge the way we've always regarded the Japanese American response to incarceration. To further quote Professor Hansen, "We're opening up an old narrative and making it more complex."

This comment area is closed to new submissions. Visit to continue the conversation about this film.

My wife knows Ben and family since her mom sold the Williamston paper to Ben. She would baby sit for their children. Her name was Jerilyn Thompson and is now married to Jim Mulhern. As a former Marine from the Vietnam era I am big on patriotism and antiwar. Mr. Kuroki's dedication to this country was remarkable. His story is like that of Jackie Robinson facing bigotry. My father supported black infantry troops in Italy and was appalled at their treatment by Southern officers. My dad was great American earning four bronz stars as a First Lt. Infantry officer. I learned to look a man in the eye and judge his character from him. Ben Kuroki is right up their with my dad for courage and dedication to this great country of opportunity and justice.

zach mortensen
jerome, idaho
i'm not completely sure why the the japanese were sent to internment camps but apparently it seemed right.
nobody thought about the japanese and how they would feel after we locked them up for 4 years and some were killed by trying to escape. another thing, they only got 10 cents back for every dollar they lost. Fair? NO!! Perhaps someone has an answer to this: What would cause Min Yasui, who spent nine months in prison for acting on his beliefs, then go to Heart Mountain with Mike Masaoka no-less and try and convince resisters to go against their beliefs?

Richard Hanlin
San Francisco, CA
Perhaps someone has an answer to this: What would cause Min Yasui, who spent nine months in prison for acting on his beliefs, then go to Heart Mountain with Mike Masaoka no-less and try and convince resisters to go against their beliefs?

it was a bad time alot of people lost their lives for no good reason at all

I was searching, on the net for Japanese Internment Camps, Southern Calif. This site came up under: Santa Anita Racetrack, Arcadia, California. THERE IS NO INFORMATION ON YOUR SITE ABOUT THE ARCADIA, CALIF. INTERNMENT SITE. This is so very important for our young people to realize. I am a Senior Citizen, and did not realize such an atrocity had occurred, until the SMALL SETTLEMENT CHECKS came out, for the Surviving Family Members who had lost their homes HERE....this close to a Huge City. It is not taught in our Public Schools, and SHOULD BE. Do you have any information on the ARCADIA, CALIF. INTERNMENT CAMP??? If so, please E-mail the details to me. Thank you.

Tulia, Texas
I'm a latin-american and I've put up with alot of the same stuff i just got back to the americas due to being takened back to mexico. Even though I was born in american. even though alot of the people here know me they said cause i had no identifacation the I was an Illegel alien, and also because i cant speak or type english good.

First off, let me explain a bit about myself. I am an American (Anglo-Saxon/White) citizen, and have been an international student at a university here in Japan for the past 3 years. I am not an exchange student; unable to attend an university with a satisfactory Asian/Asian American studies program in the U.S., and in order to view multicultural issues in the U.S. from an uninhibited perspective, I transplanted here on an international study scholarship.

With that said, I am very happy to see this project taking place (although have not actually viewed the film yet). It was an inherently hateful and hypocritical act committed by the U.S. government upon the Japanese-American community (as well as the other hyphenated and interned American communities). It is important for Americans to understand what our constitution dictates; to understand not only in words, but in practice. If we do not, it makes absent perhaps the only facet of respect and nobility our nation holds in the world today. I can not express how important it is for projects like this to take place, and for us as Americans to dig deeper into what it means to be an it Asian, Black, Middle Eastern, or White.

I face daily racial discrimination here in Japan. I try to take it in stride, although it is excrutiatingly frustrating. Discrimination not only from Japanese society, but also from my university student body.40% of the student body come from developing nations in the Asia Pacific, African, and Middle Eastern regions. It is difficult not to notice their frustration with what our nation is doing today...and I deal with this on a daily, albeit masochistic basis. This masochistic experience is part of the reason I came here, and has helped me further realize what it is to be an American. And after coming upon this website and reasnig about their efforts, these filmmakers make me proud to be an American, much more so than the actions of our government today.


...what happened to the Japanese American community, nor what it means to be an American

Hugh Everman
Morehead, Ky
I am very interested in finding out more about the 444nd. I think there is an exceptional noble quality to their story, especiaaly on the rescue of the Texans. If anyone has any helpful leads, information, documentation, descriptions, I would be eternally grateful

Thank You H. Everman

I was truly appalled after reading Frank Chin's summary of the content of Drawing The Line. I am not familiar with that exact work, but I am very familiar with Min Yasui. Any reference to Min Yasui being a "Paid Informant" is not only untrue and unjust, it is a blatent slap in the face to all of the people that he dedicated his life to. That he ultimately died for. He loved his fellow man, not only the Japanese, but any person who had been denied the basic human rights guaranteed in the constitution. He fought for what he believed in, what we all should believe in. Our Basic Human Rights. He was the first to test the constitutionality of the internment. He was a good man who would never betray his fellow Americans in such a way. (Besides the fact that it is absurd to think the FBI would have anything to do with him after his affiliation with the Japanese consulate in pre-Pearl Harbor times. He was probably in solitary confinement for exercising his rights as an American to walk freely on the streets after dark.) Right now, the only reason that I can think of to be ashamed is this poorly constructed letter, written not only in anger, but in disapointment as well. I am outraged that any person of Japanese descent could try to desecrate my grandfathers memory in such a way. Rethink what you say and do, some people may be gullible enough to believe you.

why did they send you to the concentration camp?

In 1986 I first learned about Japanese Americans being held in internment camps during World War 2 (And my mother-in-law, and her family were interned in Gila River. I'd been married to her son for 2 years.) It wasn't something taught in American History classes while I grew up. I hadn't even learned of them in my college history courses. Interesting thing I have discovered, is that the Japanese were not the only ones interned during World War 2. Also interened were German Americans, Hungarian Americans, Romanian Americans, Bulgarian Americans, and Italian Americans - see Of course, if one were to do a search on those internments, he/she could find more information. Latin American Governments, at the "urging" of the US, rounded up many citizens of German heritage for repatriation to Germany. Additionally, the British created internment camps in Africa during the Anglo-Boer Wars; the Canadians interned citizens of Ukrainian heritage during World War 1 and Japanese during World War 2. (See: Throughout their history, the Australians also had their own internment camps for the Aboriginal people. They also had interment camps for "nationals of enemy countries" during World War 2. (See:

Kendra Hall
Florence, Ky
I am a junior in high school, and in my history class we studied about the Jews in their camps for over three weeks. However when it came time for WWII the Japanese camps were very breifly mentioned. When I came home and was discussing this with my family, they called me a liar and did not believe me that America had done this. I don't know where I can find enough information to prove to them that America isn't perfect, is no doubt as terrorising as any other country. I am sick of Americans being so conceited. We aren't a bad country, but we also aren't as good as anyone makes us out to be. Can you help me out and tell me how I can prove this point to my family.

For the U.S
Personally i don't agrre witht he situation that happened during World War II. Putting the American Japenese community away was wrong. But it doesn't have anything to do with the the war today. we aren't locking up all the arabs! We are locking up the ones that are NOT SAFE. they have beena ccused of a crime, and when you are accuded in the united states you put into jail until proven innocent or guilty. But as far as i am concerned they are guilty. I think you should stop and think about the damage they could have caused and did cause.

Many Americans seem to take freedom for granted. Arab/Muslim Americans are currently at in a similar situation to Japanse Americans after Pearl Harbor and before internment. People (Guantanamo Bay, Cuba) are being held by our government although they have not been accused of a crime.

I also note that New Mexico is not included in your list of states. I am not proud of it, both Lordsburg and Santa Fe were sites of Japanese Internment camps.

I think that it serously was the wrong doing because if it was a free country since 1776 then all people are equal. We have the same rights. We are all proud of the US. So by doing that it kind of has ruined the US' reputation.

Seth wooten
Ringgold Georgia
I think it was wrong to do that to the japenese they are humans too so I think America made choice by do wrong things and it wasn't very good to do and we shouldn't have done it and if there was a way for me to keep it from happening I would do it.

Douglas Jones
Georgetown, TX 78626
1. How disgusting can it get? The congress authorizes itself, and all other federal employees, a 3.4% raise and then says that those of us who have paid taxes for the past 50 years and served our country honorably during disgusting political wars, only deserve a 2.6% COL increase.

2. And how disgusting it is that all the money that I, and those I worked for, paid into the social security fund, only to have my money placed into the General Revenue Fund and spent at the whim of both democrat and republican whims. And they don't even pay one cent to us in interest for using our money.

3. Therefore, I have said to hell with the IRS, I will not communicate with that agency, nor will I return any communication they send to me. I have been cheated and I don't like it.

chappaqua NY
A year ago i moved from Australia (where i had spent all all my life) to America and have been studying american history in class as a sophomore. I would just like to say how frustrated I am in learning all about American history from such a distorted perspective. We learn all about Americans giving the Indigenous peoples reservations, food and jobs (only breifly covering in one class conversation brought up by an American Indian girl that there was no generosity involved- just genocide) We also learned about slavery. Again the American government was portrayed as godly figure by abolishing it. We never covered the KKK, how blacks were taken from Africa, how they weren't even treated as living beings- just property. America was just generous in giving them their freedom. It angered me even more to have covered from the day columbus settled to the year 1980 and not have a word about japanese interment in a single class. Not only that, I go to a school which is very diverse, close to the city and also with a great reputation amongst US colleges. Americans have to stop patting themselves on the back simply for pushing a problem behind them. OPEN YOUR EYES!!!! This country is full of many bright and well-educated people who have the power to achieve so much- the only setback is ignorance and denial. I had an open research paper for which i could chose any topic i wanted from WWII until 1980. In an effort to raise awareness amongst my classmates and learn about the issue myself, i chose Japanese Internment. The most upsetting part of this is that my classmates barely know what it is and all the pain and suffering comparable to the NAZI movement has been forgotten. America- A Land of Liberty???

Krista Westmark
Pensacola, FL
I am a high school student doing a history project dealing with the "Japanese American Internment Camps" and the internees reactions to 1)life int the camps, 2)the draft/loyalty question, and 3)having their rights, freedoms and property taken away. First of all I would like to say that I watched the documentary, "Conscience and the Constitution", and found it to be extremely resourceful and very interesting and I would recomend it to anyone who has a desire to learn about the resisters, or the internment camps in general. I would also like to know if there is anyone who was an internee and is interested in answering some questions (via email) concerning their experiences in the internment camps in general and or one (or all) of the three points listed above. Thank you very much... Krista Westmark

April Ruchugo
Winston-Salem North Carolina
As a child I believe the U.S. treated the Japanese wrong. I wish the U.S. would put themselves into the immagrants shoes and see how they feel when they were mistreated. I hope the U.S. will be more open minded.

Shoua Khang
Minneapolis, MN
This page is very resourceful. I am doing a research for school and would appreciate it if you can help me. Could you please help me in obtaining general information in Japanese camps. Where could I obtain a copy of the Executive Order 9066? Thanks.

Karin Greenberg
Haskell, NJ
I am doing a research report on the internment of Japanese in America. I was wondering if anyone would share a story about being a child in one of the camps? Or if anyone has information about the children of the camps? Thank you.

Dear Karin, A documentary "Children of the Camps", authored by Dr. Satsuki Ina, PhD, can be accessed through the internet web site: Dr. Ina has done extensive research on the psychological impact on those who were in their childhood during the internment years and how it may have affected them later as adults.

I had just turned l9 when the "evacuation" was ordered so I could hardly be considered a child. However, I have some observations regarding parent/child relationships during this period which might be of interest to you.

I witnessed my father, who had worked so hard all his life and was as honest and compassionate as a man could be, stripped of his role as a proud family provider and top family authority and reduced, without formal charges, to an enemy-alien, capable of commiting sabotage to his adopted country. His proud name was substituted with an impersonal family number at the convenience of his jailers. My mother, likewise, who was always there in support of my father's many business ventures no matter how foolish, suddenly had nothing to support. Even her children, who could always be counted on to be home for dinner, now ate at the community mess hall. They (the government) took her kitchen away from her not realizing, nor caring, that they were taking her family from her in the process. So now, when I hear the politicians speak of "family values" and "getting back to basics" I have to scoff. How smoothly they speak of issues regarding the family integrity they were never deprived of by their own government.
Good luck on your report.
Yosh Kuromiya

Doug Duncan
While I do have some respect for these draft resisters, I say that they made the wrong decision. I'm sorry to offend anyone but from what I know, most Americans of African, Hispanic, Jewish, Irish, Italian, and Asian(including Japanese) ancestry were very loyal to America and proudly fought against the enemies of the United States as well as racism at home. No doubt racism did exist, but all of the latter groups , plus veterans of America's Indian tribe, were much better off in America than they were in their native countries ,Nazi Germany,and the Japanese Empire.

Andrew Kamei
Bishop, California
I am a seventh grader doing a research paper for California State History Day. My topic is the Japanese American draft resisters. I was wondering if anyone had a draft notice or e-mail addresses to any resisters.

Dear Andrew, Thanks for writing. I can email you a scan of the draft notice received by internees at Heart Mountain. Two of the resisters seen in our film now have their own email addresses and might be willing to answer questions. Email your messages to me at and I can forward them for you. Good luck with your paper.
Frank Abe

Dear Andrew,
My name is Yosh Kuromiya and I was a Heart Mountain draft resister in l944. For your research paper on the resisters, in addition to Frank Abe's "Conscience and the Constitution": I would suggest you read the book "Resistance: Challenging America's Wartime Internment of Japanese-Americans" by William M. Hohri. It contains 4 essays; 3 written by resisters and one by a leader of the Fair Play Committee. You can get the book, very reasonably priced, by contacting Mr. Hohri e-mail: or through the Japanese American National Museum when you're in LA.

Please feel free to contact me e-mail: if you have further questions.

Good luck in your research.
Yosh Kuromiya

irene m. ota
salt lake city, utah
I was wondering if someone could clear up an issue for me. I teach an ethnic minority families class and we spend a section on Japanese American families and deal with the internment. I know that those that refused to say yes to the loyalty oath (no no boys) were sent to Tule Lake and to Federal Penitentiaries. I was also under the impression that some were deported to Japan. Is this true? If so, when were they deported? Was it during the War or after the War had ended?
Thank you.

You're right, about 12,000 who did not answer "yes" to the loyalty oath were administratively branded as disloyal and shipped to the Tule Lake Segregation Center near the California-Oregon border. It was the 315 draft resisters, many of whom by the way answered "yes-yes," who were given criminal sentences at the federal penitentiaries at Leavenworth, Kansas, and McNeil Island, Washington.

The resisters were not deported. But as many as 20,000 Japanese American internees at one time or another applied for expatriation or repatriation to Japan, many as a means of non-violent protest against the camps and/or the botched loyalty oath registration. Only 4,724 were actually shipped to Japan directly from the camps. There is no short answer to this. The best thing is read Chapter 9 in "Personal Justice Denied: Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians," available once again from the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund and the University of Washington Press, 1997, and Michi Weglyn's "Years of Infamy," 1976, also from the U.W. Press.
Frank Abe

i think that people should get treated equally i just wish that everybody would get along and stead of fight all the time and pepole shouldnt get put in jail because they dont want to be in the army or put to death thats the way i fill.

Kitty Chu
Arcadia, California
i live in Arcadia, really near the Horse Racing track which was once a Japanese Concentration camp..i never really knew that, until i started taking japanese class in my High School and we were learning about this..I feel really sorrie for those love ones, esp that we are at war now..we can't let history repeat itself with the Afghanistan is such a tragical thing to happen, and i feel that no matter how the president back then tried to apologize or repay them, it is never going to be the same..because they can't give them back their sons or daughters, they can't erase horrifying memories from ones mind. And i want to pray for those people that was once in the Japanese Concentration camps because it is scary to know that if it can happen to them, it can happen to us. We can't really do anything about it now, except to remember what we've done wrong in the past and learn from our mistakes, and try to remember the brave and loyal Japanese American Citizens, that fought for us and not against us

Jim O'sullivan
Olympia WA
A wonderful resource to teach about an area of U.S. History in which resources are difficult to come by

Thank You!

Rachel & Jane
Detroit, MI
We feel sorry for those who where held in Concentration Camps. We appreciate that PBS put this webstie up. Why would Americans put there fellow Americans in Concentration Camps, they enimy would have been long gone by then.
Thank you,
Rachel and Jane

Kirk Bell
Twin Falls, Idaho
After doing some research on the Japanese-American internment camps and having visited the Minidoka Relocation Center (a.k.a. Camp Hunt) I have come to the conclusion that it was one of America's greatest injustices. A professor of mine informed me of a phonecall to FOX News this morning where a lady stated that she thought that "we should go to all of the campuses in the United States and imprison all of the Chinese transfer students" because of the crisis at hand with China. This would just relive the entire unjust acts taken by FDR in the 1940's with the Executive Order No. 9066. There should indefinitely be some actions against such "lines of defense" if it were to ever come down to that. If there are any who agree with or disagree with me who would like to contact me I would be very appreciative. If you have evidence to validate I would take comments more seriously.

Seiki Oshiro
Burnsville, MN
The statement in The Story - "Those persons of Japanese ancestry in Hawaii were not removed." is historically inaccurate.

According to the U. S. government records, the number of evacuated people from the Hawaiian Islands in WRA custody was 1118. See page 197, War Relocation Authority (WRA), A Story of Human Conservation, vol.9, US Dept of Interior, J.A.Krug, Secretary, WRA, D. S. Myer, Director. Reprinted from an original copy in the collections of the University of Connecticut Libraries. From the edition of 1946, Washington, D.C., 1st AMS edition published in 1975, AMS Press Inc., NY, NY 10003.

A further historical note: "Over 2500 people from Hawaii received redress including approximately 1100 individuals from categories deemed ineligible. See pages 225, Achieving the Impossible Dream, How Japanese Americans Obtained Redress, by Mitchell T. Maki, Harry H. L. Kitano, and S. Megan Berthold, University of Illinois Press, 1999.

I would like to add my own personal note. The Japanese teacher in our village was arrested on the evening of December 7, 1941. Other teachers, religious and community leaders were arrested as well. They were first interned in Hawaii under the jurisdiction of the Military and gradually moved to the Mainland as ships became available.

Seiki Oshiro

Juan Montoya
Durham, NC
Has anyone read about the Ritter Ring. It was a German espionage mission carried out primarily by the German military, but many of the most underhanded attacks were carried out by German-American citizens. There was much to fear because of a potential espionage mission carried out by Japanese-Americans. Furthermore, you have seen the outrageous racism and anger toward Japanese American and must see the danger they faced living in such a viscious society. All of this does not mean that I agree with the internment, just that one must see both sides of the story.

Cactus Jack,
It has always been this way and it is unfortunate that Japanese citizens were incarcerated..but that is the way those that rise to a position of power within the United States deal with their own fears and greed...if you think it is not so, look at the way the American Indians were treated. The U.S. Gobvernment is the best Government's those within the Government that are bought and sold on a regular basis, that create the abuse of the Citizens that employ them!

Janet Hamada,
Chicago, IL
I was wonderfully surprised to come across "Conscience and the Constitution" on Tuesday evening (1-2-01) on WTTW Chicago. I have been awaiting more information on this very topic since I read "No-No Boy" about 15 years ago. When I first read that book, I was astonished that there were resisters, having never heard that side of the story from my Grandparents who were in Amache, with their two young boys, my father and uncle. They told me about our cousins who valiantly fought in the 442nd, and I was always so proud of them. However, as a 4th generation Japanese-American born in the 1960s, I always had nagging thoughts about why they didn't contest the draft, when it was so clear they were being discriminated against. How could they allow themselves to be drafted from concentration camps?! It was a puzzling question that haunted me. In college, when I finally did learn that there had been resisters, I was doubly proud.

I have always looked in awe of those with the courage and strength to express their opinions, even in the face of national, community and familial condemnation. I am proud of our soldiers and proud of these other fighters. To me, having both groups takes nothing away from either group, only adds distinction to both. Our community's acceptance of the resisters proves that we can find a common ground to understand and celebrate all different kinds of courage.

As a community activist in inner-city Chicago, I have often spoken to African-Americans about the civil rights movement and how the Japanese-Americans have fought for their rights too. Now I am pleased to have a documentary to show.

Thank you for your very significant contribution to our historical archives.

Joe Hlebica,
San Diego, CA
I have just received my copy of the program in the mail and am very anxious to watch it. I also intend to share it with Japanese and Japanese-American friends and family members. My sons, Richard and John Kameishi (both go by their mother's maiden name) are of draft age now. I can't imagine what might have happened to them if this were the early years of WWII. I first became interested in this issue as a literature student at the University of Oregon, where I discovered John Okada's novel "No-No Boy." I now recommend the novel to my own literature and writing students. Enough of me. My specific interest is in draft-resistance and anti-war sentiment among the general American population during WWII. Can anyone out there recommend resources for me to examine?
Thanks, Joe Hlebica, UC San Diego

Dear Joe,
I too first encountered the story of Nisei dissent in John Okada's landmark 1957 novel, available from the University of Washington Press. It took me years to realize the book is actually mis-titled. The protagonist, Ichiro Yamada, is not a "no-no boy" in the classic sense of someone who answered no to Questions 27 and 28 on the government loyalty oath and was segregated to Tule Lake, as seen in our show. The internal evidence shows Ichiro was in fact a draft resister from Minidoka. In fact, Okada based the character on his friend Jim Akutsu of Seattle, who I was pleased to be able to include in our film, though for the sake of air time we could not make the connection I just made above.

As for anti-war sentiment, it's important to remember that the Heart Mountain resisters were not themselves pacifists or conscientious objectors. And the proof is in the fact that at least six of them answered the call when drafted for the Korean War, since they were once again free citizens with all their rights restored.

Ed Burns,
I was fascinated and delighted by this documentary. I appreciated that the documentary honored the sacrifices made by the Japanese-Americans who served in the military in WWII, those who were interned and those who resisted. Obviously, the documentary focused on the story that had not been told, the resisters. Sometimes, I think we, as citizens of the United States, need to be reminded of the deeper meaning of the constitution, that desent and sacrifice is what makes the constitution meaningful and worth fighting for as a soldier or as a resister. But the documentary went further than this and documented the social stigma that the resisters and their families had to endure from their own community. It is examples like these that remind me there are some very special but ordinary people willing and able to live out the dictates of their conscience.

Wesley Matsui,
Teaneck, NJ
By accident, my daughter and I were flipping through the channels and saw the excellent Conscience and the Constitution. Whenever I have presented the internment experience the question always comes up - Why didn't anyone protest? When my daughter did a seminar on the internment in high school, the same question came up. Usually, I responded by citing cultural factors, eg, not making waves and generational differences about speaking out. Most historical accounts I read implied resistance. Your documentary clearly indicated how this story was suppressed. Interestingly, the same conflict resurfaced in the wording on the Japanese American Monument recently commemorated in Washington, DC.

Do you have any information on the song and words sung by the inmates from the Levenworth prison? Thank you

Dear Wesley,
Thanks for your message. We found the song which Mako sings in the film on a scrap of paper which a resisters had saved for years. For the story behind the "Song of Cheyenne" click back to the RESISTANCE: MASS TRIAL OF 63 page.

I was hoping our broadcast would draw out more information about the song, and indeed the Honolulu Star-Bulletin last week published a front-page interview with one of the surviving authors of the song, Eddie Yanagisako. It started when I was in Hawaii for our JACL/AAJA screening and Craig Gima on an impulse started researching Eddie's name. I made a few calls and soon located his daughter, who lives with Eddie. You can access the article via our news update page at
Frank Abe

I find it hard to express the feelings that surged to the surface while watching this compeling documentry. I am a second generation Japanese American who had very little education in my heritage. My limited personal knowledge of this important time in history never fails to cause me heartache. My mother worked very hard in trying to protect us from being different from those around us.Thank you for presenting the human side of this sad time in our history. My pride in my heritage expands the more I discover what my people went through and continued to want to be the true Americans they were.

Rex Michael Dillon,
San Jose, CA
This program was excellent. I would say that it is not without precedence that American minority groups who have had their constitutional rights infringed on have been simultaneuosly asked to support their nation.

During the Mexican War, after the Mormons had been expelled from Missouri and were feeling compelled to leave Illinois, they were asked by President Polk to muster soldiers to go fight the in the Mexican War.

I appreciate the telling of history however, that was and still is largely left out of History classes across our nation. I have seen some of the other comments by certain scholars and individuals regarding this show. It should be pointed out that by and large these constitutional heros were rejected by their own community. The point is that these men should be celebrated on equal footing as those of the 442, or the 101.

America needs to get past race. What would be more intriguing would be if you found Japanese American pacifists during this time. It could be said that though Japanese Americans were as diverse in the way they wanted to manifest their patriotism during that time as white America, the Japanese Americans were perhaps more unified as pro-Administration than other whites, many of whom felt like the better road was non-involvement or isolationism.

Lastly, it should be noted that unlike the African-Americans who were by and large Republican after the Civil War up until FDR, the Japanese, in spite of being interned by a Democrat and a Democratic Administration have remained Democrats. (Including notable internees as Congressmen Mike Honda and Norm Mineta of San Jose...)


Derrick E. McKinney,
Seattle, Washington
I can't understand how people can question why the Japanese felt the way they did, and why some may still feel that way. Why do some African Americans still feel anger about the way our forefathers and mothers were treated? Why were those subjected to slavery angry? Why are Native Americans angry? Why did our government allow them to be murdered and look the other way. And then sign,treaties with them that were never adhered to? I guess I could go on asking why, but does anyone have the guts to give the real answer? This country was built on the backs of those who could not defend themselves. And then we ask them to defend the country. What's wrong with this picture?

Rick Teshima,
Chapel Hill, NC
Dad fought in the 442 and developed many friendships through his experience. Since it was also a tramatic time, he spoke very little about the events of that time. To see the events depicted through this commentary was a complete suprise to me. There are many heros in America. Some lay their lives on the line for the sake of freedom through the armed forces. Others, like these in the commentary fight for the principles of freedom in a different way, perhaps just as difficult as war, perhaps more difficult. Both are role models for future generations of Americans.

San Francisco
Regarding President Truman's 1947 Christmas Eve pardon of the resisters, does anyone know of a link/reference about how this came about, who advocated for it, etc.? Despite extensive searches, I haven't found that information. Kudos to the filmmakers for a compelling documentary.

I saw your question on the talkback board at the Conscience and the Constitution website about the pardon of the Japanese American draft resisters.

I discuss this matter in my forthcoming book, "Free to Die for their Country." You can check out the book's website.

The pardon was sought by ACLU lawyer A.L. Wirin, who had represented the Fair Play Committee (and resisters from some of the other camps). He did it pretty much on his own; the resisters I've interviewed did not even know of the application until after it had already been granted.

-Eric Muller

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