Bert Nakano

(1928 - 2003) Political activist

Stripped of Pride Growth in Numbers Convincing the Beltway It’s the People

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Bert Nakano was born in 1928 in Honolulu, HI. While most of the Japanese Americans in Hawaii did not suffer through internment during World War II, the Nakano’s were one of the families from the islands that were rounded up and sent to concentration camps on the mainland. Nakano was then 14 years old. First he went to Jerome, AR and later Tule Lake in California.

After marrying and stints in Chicago, IL and Japan, Nakano resettled in Southern California. For years, Nakano was bitter about the camp experience, and rebelled against the feelings of shame many Japanese Americans felt about their heritage after the war.

In 1976, prodded by his college-aged son to get involved in issues about which he had strong opinions, Nakano joined the Little Tokyo People’s Rights Organization, a grassroots group opposing the City of Los Angeles’ redevelopment plans that threatened the existence of low-to-moderate-income Nikkei residents and small family-owned businesses.

In 1978, Nakano helped found the Los Angeles Community Coalition for Redress and Reparations, which sought restitution for Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during World War II. In 1980, the Los Angeles group joined other community-based groups throughout the country to form the National Coalition for Redress and Reparations (NCRR). Nakano served as NCRR’s national spokesperson for nine years as the organization worked closely with Nikkei legislators, veterans’ groups and the Japanese American Citizens League and others to obtain justice. Bert Nakano died in 2003. (April 15, 2008)

civil rights LTPRO sansei LCCRR redress

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