Speaking Up! Democracy, Justice, Dignity

For the 25th anniversary of the Japanese American Redress legislation, the Japanese American National Museum presented its fourth national conference “Speaking Up! Democracy, Justice, Dignity” in Seattle, Washington from July 4 to 7, 2013.  This conference brought fresh insights, scholarly analysis, and community perspectives to bear on the issues of democracy, justice, and dignity. 

These articles stem from the conference and detail the Japanese American experiences from different perspectives.

Visit the conference website for program details >>

identity en ja

A Daughter’s View of Minoru Yasui, “Civil Rights Hero”

My dad Minoru Yasui was always, or almost always my hero. But of course that was not true for everyone, nor at all times.

When he initiated his test case in 1942, he was not considered a hero. The press labeled him a treacherous Jap spy, and the National Secretary of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) called him “a self-serving martyr … seeking headlines.” In 1944, when he visited the Heart Mountain draft resisters to try to persuade them to withdraw their cases, they felt betrayed by the man who purposely defied the military curfew, but opposed their way of ...

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community en

Japanese Americans in Seattle

I’ve been asked to talk about the history of Seattle’s Japanese American community. And because Densho has 750 oral history interviews and thousands of historic photographs, I thought it would be easy to pick out a few stories to share with you today. But the more I thought about the task, the more overwhelmed I became over the many choices.

For example, I could talk about the Issei pioneers who came to Seattle in the 1880s and who worked in the lumber mills, salmon canneries, and railroads.

Or I could talk about how Japanese farmers dominated truck farming ...

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culture ja

記録文学としての短歌、俳句、川柳:一世が詠んだ民主主義、正義、尊厳 - その2/2

その1を読む>>

3.アメリカ民主義:排日からリドレスまで

排日

1907年のニューヨークタイムズの記事には、「白人の世界の日本人の侵略」と書かれています。やがて紳士協約が結ばれ、1913年カリフォルニア州外国人土地法、1920年の写真花嫁への旅券発給停止、1922年小澤孝雄判決による帰化不能外国人の決定、1924年移民法による日本人移民の停止と続きます。

短歌から三つばかり拾ってみました。法律とは別に、家を借りることができない社会的差別や、市民権がないばかりに泣き寝入りしなければならない経済的損失が詠まれています。

憤り心には燃ゆ貸家札 貼りたる家も我等には貸さず
          (井上渭城 『新世界』1923年6月24日)

とつくにの民とし指紋押すここち 國辱めらるる思ひにてありき
          (臼井千曲 ...

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culture ja

記録文学としての短歌、俳句、川柳:一世が詠んだ民主主義、正義、尊厳 - その1/2

本日は、「短歌、俳句、川柳が詠む民主主義」と題して、最初に、「民衆の文学」として初期の作品を、つぎに「生活の記録、感情の詩」としてアメリカの生活を詠み込んだ作品を、最後に「アメリカ民主義 排日からリドレスまで」と題して、作品をいくつか取り上げます。

1. 民衆の文学

俳句や短歌、川柳は日本の「国民の文学」とでもいうべき文学形態で、一般の人々の生活に根ざしていました。当然 ...

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war en

In My Parents’ Words – Issei Voices from Department of Justice Camps

My father was the resident minister of the Seattle Buddhist Church. The construction of the temple on 14th Avenue & Main Street was nearing completion. It carried a heavy mortgage and payments had to be made. A cornerstone laying ceremony was held on March 16, 1941. These jubilant members had no idea that WWII would start later that year to disrupt their lives.

War broke out between Japan and the U.S. with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, HI on December 7, 1941. Dad was arrested by the F.B.I. in the Spring of 1942. The below is his mug ...

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