Calif. State Personnel Board apologizes for WWII firing of Nikkei employees

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Tear-choked stories of past injustices moved the California State Personnel Board to unanimously vote to apologize for its 1942 firing of 265 employees of Japanese ancestry at its Jan. 10 meeting in Sacramento. The Japanese American Citizens League and Asian Pacific State Employees Association, guided by the efforts of Lorna Fong, a […]

Lost words

It has been said by many that writing letters is a lost art form. People under the age of 35 or so may have never experienced the sentimental emotions of discovering that dusty old shoebox full of beautifully crafted letters that convey love, joy, sorrow and introspection. The grief-stricken letter with tear-stained handwriting or the […]

Tule Lake revisited and reframed

TULE LAKE REVISITED: A BRIEF HISTORY AND GUIDE TO THE TULE LAKE CONCENTRATION CAMP SITE (second edition) By Barbara Takei and Judy Tachibana (San Francisco: Tule Lake Committee Inc., 56 pp., $15, spiral bound) This is a timely and much needed revision of the original “Tule Lake” (2001). Much has transpired, beginning with the transformation […]

Colorizing a dark chapter in American history

COLORS OF CONFINEMENT: RARE KODACHROME PHOTOGRAPHS OF JAPANESE AMERICAN INCARCERATION IN WORLD WAR II Edited by Eric L. Muller (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill in association with Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University, 2012, 136 pp., $35, cloth) This volume is at once a wonderful and rare addition to […]

TULE LAKE PRESERVATION: A progress report

Tule Lake’s segregation history resonates with America’s deepest held beliefs — about standing up for one’s convictions and challenging those who have abused power. Yet, perversely, due to lingering World War II propaganda that cast Japanese American challengers to the unjust incarceration as disloyal subversives, our community has been slow to recognize courageous individual responses […]

ISLANDERS IN EXILE: The history of Bainbridge, Terminal Island Nikkei

Off the Pacific Coast, the historic Japanese villages of Terminal Island in Southern California’s San Pedro Bay and Bainbridge Island in the Pacific Northwest’s Puget Sound share attributes as close-knit, cohesive, and self-contained communities with abrupt converging histories. From the early 1900s, while the Issei worked hard in fishing and canneries at Fish Harbor, and […]

Does terminology matter?

In recent years, the Nikkei community has engaged in a renewed discussion to reject the euphemistic and false terms the government used to minimize the unjust and inhumane nature of the Japanese American incarceration. From 2009 through 2011, the Japanese American National Museum, the Manzanar Committee, the Tule Lake Committee and UCLA’s George and Sakaye […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: A tribute to Dr. Setsuko Matsunaga Nishi, sociologist, activist and race relations advocate

This week’s column focuses on the distinguished sociologist and activist Dr. Setsuko Matsunaga Nishi, a pioneering scholar of race relations who died Nov. 18, 2012. Unlike virtually all the people I write about in “Great Unknown,” I got to know her personally. Because of our friendship and my knowledge of her career, I helped the […]

Hawai‘i political icon Sen. Inouye, third in line of presidency, dies at 88

A decorated World War II veteran, Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, died Dec. 17. He was 88. Hawai‘i’s most senior politician passed away from respiratory complications at 5:01 p.m. Eastern Standard Time at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., his office said in a statement issued Dec. 17. According to the statement, […]

‘Tim’ Nomiyama, a Nisei military resister, dies

Tetsuo “Tim” Nomiyama, a Kibei Nisei military resister, passed away on Dec. 10, 2012 at the age of 96. Nomiyama was born on Jan. 20, 1916 in Alameda, Calif. Around the age of 4 or 5, his parents sent him to their ancestral home in Fukuoka Prefecture to receive a Japanese education. When Nomiyama returned […]

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