“Three voices … Three acts of defiance … One mass injustice.” That’s one of the taglines for our forthcoming graphic novel which presents an original vision of America’s past with disturbing links to the American present. We had a fast-moving conversation about it on Black Friday, with a special look inside the 3-D modeling by one of our two artists, Ross Ishikawa, to recreate key scenes based on historical reality.
Here’s the one-hour JAMP YouTube channel event moderated by Erin Aoyama, to get you ready for publication on February 9, 2021.
Our thanks to Kimiko Marr and Erin Aoyama of Japanese American Memorial Pilgrimages for bringing us to their online audience.
Here’s more from a draft synopsis of the book to be published by Chin Music Press of Seattle:
Japanese Americans complied when expelled from their homes in World War II and forcibly incarcerated in American concentration camps – but when it came to their ongoing incarceration, many among them refused to submit without a fight. For the first time, three of their stories are tied together within an epic narrative of the entire camp experience:
- We hear the voice of Jim Akutsu, the inspiration for John Okada’s No-No Boy, who refused to be drafted from camp after the draft board classified him as a non-citizen, an enemy alien;
- We take the closest and most comprehensive look ever at Tule Lake, the segregation camp for those who refused a government loyalty questionnaire, and through the eyes of Hiroshi Kashiwagi we trace the events which led to disturbance, denationalization, repatriation, expatriation, and (for many) the mistaken renunciation of American citizenship;
- And for the first time, we hear the personal voice of Mitsuye Endo, a California state employee made a reluctant but willing plaintiff to a lawsuit which led to a decisive victory at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Through their eyes, we see the devastating impacts of mass incarceration based solely on race, and expose the depth and breadth of the long-suppressed story of camp resistance.
We Hereby Refuse is accompanied by an online Educators Guide for secondary schools. It was commissioned by the Wing Luke Asian Museum of Seattle through a grant from the National Park Service.
Looking forward to sharing the finished work with you on February 9th. #WeHerebyRefuse