Our graphic novel We Hereby Refuse weaves together the stories of three Nisei who refused to submit to imprisonment in American concentration camps without a fight. On Sept. 18 we got to meet three of their children and hear what they think about the book.
For the Tadaima! virtual community pilgrimage, we brought together Mitsuye Endo’s daughter Wendy, Hiroshi Kashiwagi’s son Soji, and Jim Akutsu’s son Phillip to hear how they first learned of their parent’s wartime stand and what it was like growing up as the child of a well-known figure in the Japanese American community.
Besides the overall historical accuracy, the most important element we needed to get right in this graphic novel was the portrayal of our central characters. It was certainly a relief to hear that each of our guests found the drawings and dialogue to be true to the parent they knew.
It was a special moment to have Philip, Wendy, and Soji together in the same virtual space. Our thanks to them and their families for placing their trust in us, and for allowing us to share the story in the book for posterity.