Discover Nikkei

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/1006/

Prison

What do you wanna hear, hear a little about the prison? Well, (clears throat) we had still thirty days in quarantine first, where they give us all kinds of examinations, it’s the first time I got poked in the rear and almost about jumped out of my shoes. And uh, they gave us IQ tests, and they, they were surprised at the high IQ’s of all the, the Niseis there. Most of them are from the Midwest and probably didn’t have too much education, you know so their IQ’s were real low.

After we were incarcerated there, we had a choice of any prison jobs if there was an opening. And uh I worked in the parole office for a while. And available [inaudible] files of the different prisoners, there’s a lot of military prisons in there, mostly from Europe. And so many of them are in there for rape, and all that sexual type of activities against the French girls, girls of other countries that they were in, and then after working there for awhile, I transferred over to the sheet shop, where they make sheet metal, buckets, and things like that. Might as well learn a trade [chuckles].


civil rights prisons

Date: May 9, 2006

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Lisa Itagaki

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

Frank Emi was born on September 23, 1916 in Los Angeles, CA. He ran the family produce business until life was interrupted by war. Emi was sent to Heart Mountain, Wyoming with his young wife and two kids.

Emi, along with many others, openly questioned the constitutionality of the incarceration of Japanese Americans. He helped form the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee and protested against the government’s actions by organizing a draft resistance. Emi was not even eligible for the draft because he was a father.

The Fair Play Committee argued that they were willing to serve in the military, but not until their rights as U.S. citizens were restored and their families released from the camps. The government convicted Emi and six others leaders of conspiracy to evade the draft. He served 18 months in jail. 86 others from Heart Mountain were put on trial and imprisoned for resisting the draft.

Following the war, Emi and other draft resisters were ostracized by Japanese American leaders and veterans. It was not until the fight for Redress, some forty years later that the Fair Play Committee was vindicated for taking a principled stand against injustice.

He passed away on December 2010 at age 94. (December 2010)

James Hirabayashi
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James Hirabayashi

Gordon's parents' experience in prison

(1926 - 2012) Scholar and professor of anthropology. Leader in the establishment of ethnic studies as an academic discipline

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Yuri Kochiyama
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Yuri Kochiyama

Didn't have rights that whites had

(1922–2014) Political and civil rights activist.

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Peggie Nishimura Bain
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Peggie Nishimura Bain

Response to loyalty questionnaire

(b.1909) Nisei from Washington. Incarcerated at Tule Lake and Minidoka during WWII. Resettled in Chicago after WWII

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Lorraine Bannai
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Lorraine Bannai

Feeling angry upon reading of Supreme Court case, 'Korematsu v. United States'

(b. 1955) Lawyer

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Lorraine Bannai
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Lorraine Bannai

Is 'Korematsu v. United States' still a threat to American civil liberties?

(b. 1955) Lawyer

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Dale Minami
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Dale Minami

Not fully understanding parents' World War II incarceration while growing up

(b. 1946) Lawyer

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Dale Minami
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Dale Minami

Reflections on the importance of history

(b. 1946) Lawyer

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Sue Embrey
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Sue Embrey

Prevailing Within the System

(1923–2006) Community activist. Co-founded the Manzanar Committee

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Sue Embrey
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Sue Embrey

Fighting For What’s Right

(1923–2006) Community activist. Co-founded the Manzanar Committee

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Peter Irons
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Peter Irons

Learning About the Internment

(b. 1940) Attorney, Coram nobis cases.

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Bert Nakano
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Bert Nakano

Stripped of Pride

(1928 - 2003) Political activist

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Bert Nakano
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Bert Nakano

It’s the People

(1928 - 2003) Political activist

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William Marutani
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William Marutani

Becoming active in the Civil Rights Movement

Judge, only Japanese American to serve on CWRIC.

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William Marutani
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William Marutani

Post-redress future of Japanese Americans

Judge, only Japanese American to serve on CWRIC.

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Daniel K. Inouye
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Daniel K. Inouye

Responding to the U.S. government

(1924-2012) Senator of Hawaii

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