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Taken: Oregonians Arrested after Pearl Harbor


How Was This Possible?: Masuo Yasui

The INS hearing board member produced drawings made by Masuo’s children, showing how the locks of the Panama Canal worked:

Then the officer asked my father to explain why they were in our home. "If they were in my home," my father replied, "it seems to me that they were drawings done by my children for their schoolwork."...The officer said, "No, we think you've cleverly disguised your nefarious intent and are using your children merely as a cover. We believe you had intent to damage the Panama Canal." To which my father vehemently replied, "No, no, no!" And then the officer said pointedly, "Prove that you didn’t intend to blow up the Panama Canal!"

The Alien Enemy Control unit had the final say in the matter. Masuo Yasui remained interned for four years, and was released in 1946. And, in fact, not a single case of espionage or sabotage on the part of Japanese nationals was discovered in the course of the INS hearings. [Testuden Kashima, Judgment Without Trial ]

The suspicions raised by Masuo's imprisonment and the loss of his property, except for a fragment of orchard, made Hood River inhospitable for him after the war. Masuo and Shidzuyo Yasui moved to Portland, where he invested in rental properties and was active in Epworth United Methodist Church. In 1952 Japanese immigrants were finally allowed to become U.S. citizens with the passage of the McCarran-Walter Act. In 1953, he became a citizen and taught citizenship classes to his fellow Issei.

Based on this original

Americanization Class
uploaded by Oregon_Nikkei
Many issei seized the opportunity to become citizens after the government lifted the restriction against Japanese immigrants in 1952. This class is from February 1953 and includes Masuo Yasui, who … More »

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