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 >>

war en

One for the History Books: Aleut-American Experience in WWII

           “I just want it to go in the history books.”
                        —Mary Bourdukofsky, Aleut American internee

The reach of empathy is determined in part, I believe, by the sharing of memories. As much as our individual natures and experiences, inherited perceptions of the world around us shape our responses to both historical and contemporary events.

Who we were influences who we are—and how well we relate as members of a larger society.

But what if our memories are lacking?

Hired to produce a …

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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 …

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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 and the …

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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






憤り心には燃ゆ貸家札 貼りたる家も我等には貸さず

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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



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