‘Allegiance’ musical a lyrical interpretation of Japanese American history

Just think about it, a musical based on the incarceration experience of Japanese Americans during World War II. It struck me as an idea so far out that I couldn’t imagine what it would be like. But that’s the nature of creativity, isn’t it? Something we lesser mortals can’t imagine turns out to be something […]

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: Getting the monkey off our backs, through understanding history

Let’s face it. We Japanese Americans of the camp generations still carry a heavy monkey on our backs, for we carry the memory of having been stuck in concentration camps for three years. We were categorized into oversimplified, distorted categories of having been “loyal” or “disloyal” or associated with a family that carried one of […]

Remembering Gordon Hirabayashi, from one resister to another

It was through a news report in the early nineteen forties that I first became aware of the remarkable Gordon Hirabayashi. Shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor he had surrendered to the authorities and asked to be imprisoned for violating the curfew order that was imposed on all those of Japanese ancestry. He apparently disagreed […]

Gordon Hirabayashi, civil rights icon who resisted wartime incarceration, dies

Gordon Kiyoshi Hirabayashi, one of three wartime litigants who challenged wartime curfew or exclusion orders and whose legal convictions were vacated four decades later, died on Jan. 2, 2012 after a long bout with Alzheimer’s disease in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, his family said. He was 93. “Dad was slowly declining in health after living 10 […]

A lifelong relationship: Citizens and the state

PRISONS AND PATRIOTS: Japanese American Wartime Citizenship, Civil Disobedience, and Historical Memory By Cherstin M. Lyon (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2011, 233 pp., $30.95, paperback) “Prisons and Patriots” is Cherstin Lyon’s first book. Its publication catapults Professor Lyon, a historian at California State University, San Bernardino, into the ranks of the premier scholars of World […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: A MAN OF PRINCIPLE: Robert Chino, civil rights activist, draft resister and veteran

The New Year’s season is a special time for wrap-ups and updates. One interesting, if slightly frustrating, part of doing my Nichi Bei column is that my research does not stop with publication of a given essay. Instead, I continue to discover more information about the people I write about even after the pieces have […]

Choice gifts that educate about difficult choices made by Nisei during World War II

World War II brought some difficult choices for Japanese Americans, especially young Nisei men whose citizenship and idea of “America” was called into question. Some felt they had to prove their loyalty in the battlefield, and did so gallantly, and with high honor. Others felt compelled to prove their loyalty in the courts on constitutional […]

New book on resisters examines wartime definition of patriotism, civil disobedience

CHICAGO — A new book being published by Temple University Press in November is re-examining wartime definitions of citizenship, patriotism, prisons, and civil disobedience through the lives of Gordon Hirabayashi and a group of Nisei draft resisters who called themselves the “Tucsonians.” “Prisons and Patriots: Japanese American Wartime Citizenship, Civil Disobedience, and Historical Memory” is […]

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: A question of loyalty and ‘Conscience’

It is a wonderful thing that my friend, Frank Abe, took the time and effort to expand on his very good documentary, “Conscience and the Constitution” (originally released in 2000). He has produced a two-disc Collectors’ Edition DVD, and because we now have the technology to add material, Abe’s story of the draft resisters during […]

Extras in ‘Conscience’ DVD add a fuller, if not more controversial, picture

“Conscience and the Constitution,” the documentary on the only organized draft resistance movement to come out of a U.S. concentration camp during World War II, has been re-issued as a two disc DVD set with two hours of additional footage and interviews. When “Conscience” first came out in 2000, it uncovered the untold story of […]

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