Protesting the injustice of the incarceration

SPEAKING ABOUT RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE — Hiroshi and Sadako Kashiwagi at a recent event at the Commonwealth Club. Hiroshi Kashiwagi spoke on a panel entitled “The Art of Resistance in the Bay Area.” photo courtesy of Laurie Shigekuni

Have you seen “Resistance at Tule Lake” yet? It’s the film by Konrad Aderer that was featured on PBS this past Sunday. It is screening at the Sacramento Asian Pacific Film Festival at the California Museum in Sacramento on Saturday, May 26: http://www.sapff.org/2018-festival-programming/. Now there is a link through PBS so the public can view the 56-minute broadcast version of the film. The producers say the full feature-length film will be out on DVD later this year. It is available for streaming at http://www.pbs.org/video/resistance-at-tule-lake-f0tmuq/.

Hiroshi Kashiwagi, and his wife, Sadako, were featured in the film. It was my privilege to drive them to “The Art of Resistance in the Bay Area,” a panel event that Hiroshi was a part of, sponsored by the San Francisco Foundation at the Commonwealth Club on March 28 (https://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/archive/video/art-resistance-bay-area) and to his poetry reading at Bird and Beckett, a local San Francisco bookshop, to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066.

If you have some time, view the KQED clip. It is a thrill to see our very own Nisei resister holding his own with very knowledgeable people less than one-half his age! I overheard one of the San Francisco Foundation sponsors telling Hiroshi that he was her favorite speaker.

Hiroshi read his poem, “Fences.” https://www.facebook.com/SaveTuleLake/posts/871086209734944. After years of living behind the invisible fence built to ward off disdain and contempt from our own community, it is like a breath of fresh air to see Hiroshi being honored for protesting the injustice of the incarceration.

My neighbor, Amy Jong Kiyota, and I first met Hiroshi and Sadako when he received the Carey McWilliams award from the California Studies Association in 2015: http://californiastudiesassociation.berkeley.edu/about/awards.html. My associate Martha Bridegam had interviewed Hiroshi for the organization’s newsletter announcing the awards event. (See the last item in the newsletter: https://us9.campaign-archive.com/?u=838da53844aa61991a164e688&id=452a8e5dc2.)

Martha’s longstanding interest in Tule Lake prompted us both to learn about this part of our histories. Back in 2016, a whole group of us went on the Tule Lake Pilgrimage — Martha, Amy, Steven and Kenneth Jong (Amy’s two Yonsei sons), Phil and Marion Shigekuni (my parents) and me. From this group, Amy came away with the greatest personal transformation. She discovered that her uncle, Minoru Kiyota, wrote a couple of compelling memoirs about his incarceration at Tule Lake while he was a professor of Buddhist studies at the University of Wisconsin.

Amy kept in touch with Hiroshi and Sadako after the pilgrimage then invited me to participate in their lives as well.

Now Amy and I are delving into our JA culture and roots together. Amy and I attended the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony trip, Soji Kashiwagi’s play, “Growing up Sansei,” and hopefully we’ll be able to attend the Soy and Tofu Festival at the end of June. See you there?

Laurie Shigekuni, Esq. is the lead attorney at Laurie Shigekuni & Associates, a firm that practices estate planning, trust administration, probate, and Medi-Cal long term care planning. Her primary office is located in San Francisco, and she has a satellite office in Pasadena. Contact information is: www.calestateplanning.com, contact@calestateplanning.com, (415) 584-4550, (800) 417-5250. The views expressed in the preceding commentary are not those of the Nichi Bei Weekly.

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