Japanese American

New Mexico Japanese American Citizens League Brings Presentation to WNMU

The WNMU History Program and Dr. Scott Fritz are partnering with the New Mexico Japanese American Citizens League to bring a “Living History” presentation to Light Hall Auditorium on Saturday, April 28th from 1 pm to 3 pm.

According to JACL, the presentation, NISEI, THE GREATEST GENERATION, presents authentic stories of the American-born sons and daughters of Japanese immigrants who grew up during the Great Depression and reached maturity during the Second World War, and served their country in a variety of ways as soldiers, protesters of internment, and survivors of a mass incarceration by their government.

The 90-minute program will consist of three sections:

I. SOLDIERS: GO FOR BROKE – Japanese-Americans who tried to volunteer for the military at the beginning of WW II were turned away, but as the need for troops increased, an all-Japanese-American fighting unit was created, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team/100th Infantry Battalion—the most highly decorated unit for its size in military history, with one of the highest casualty rates.

II. PROTESTERS – In 1942, three young Japanese-American men, Min Yasui of Oregon, Gordon Hirabayashi of Washington, and Fred Korematsu of California, were jailed for civil disobedience. Their test cases are now landmarks of constitutional law. Other forms of protest by Japanese Americans were enacted by the so-called “No-No Boys.”

III. PRISONERS – Approximately 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry were unlawfully removed from their homes on the West Coast and incarcerated in 10 War Relocation Authority “family” camps. In New Mexico, Department of Justice and U.S. Army-controlled “enemy alien” camps imprisoned Japanese men who had lived in the U.S. for years, and had fathered American children, but were denied citizenship due to Asian exclusion laws. A 30-minute “talk-back” between presenters and audience follows the presentation

The presentation will be held at Light Hall Auditorium on Saturday, April 28th from 1 pm to 3 pm. For further information, contact Dr. Nikki Nojima Louis at louisnikki9@gmail.com or at 206-877-3931 or Dr. Scott Fritz, Ph.D. at Scott.Fritz@wnmu.edu.

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Eric Lowe is the current Editor of the Mustang Newspaper. He has been writing professionally since August 2014.