JAMsj E-News
Japanese American Museum of San Jose
January 2012
In This Issue
Fred Korematsu: Civil Liberties and the Constitution
"Valor with Honor" Film Screening
San Jose Day of Remembrance
"No-No Boy"
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Photo: JAMsj Volunteers
Are you interested in becoming a JAMsj volunteer? Contact  volunteeradmin@jamsj.org
or visit our volunteer page.

Gordon Hirabayashi
Gordon Hirabayashi (1918-2012)

JAMsj mourns the passing of civil rights icon, Gordon Hirabayashi.

"As fine a document as the Constitution is,it is nothing but a scrap of paper if citizens are not willing to defend it."
- Gordon Hirabayashi

 Fred Korematsu

Civil Liberties and the Constitution     

Fred Korematsu
Fred Korematsu
Photograph by Shirley Nakao
Courtesy of the Korematsu Institute

 Fred Korematsu

Civil Liberties and the Constitution

Teacher Workshop 


              January 28, 2012        

       1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

     Japanese American Museum of San Jose

          535 N. Fifth Street
San Jose, CA 95112


The Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj) and the Korematsu Institute proudly present a teacher workshop, "Fred Korematsu: Civil Liberties and the Constitution."


Teachers of students from grades 1 to 12 are invited to a workshop to learn content and instructional strategies to teach students about the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, the violation of civil liberties, the role and responsibilities of government, and the U.S. Supreme Court.


Teachers will receive a teaching kit, which includes lessons for all grade levels. Ling Woo Liu, Director of the Korematsu Institute, will present the lesson plans from the kit and a DVD about Fred Korematsu.           


Fred T. Korematsu was a national civil rights hero. In 1942, at the age of 23, he refused to go to the government's incarceration camps for Japanese Americans. After he was arrested and convicted of defying the government's order, he appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court (Korematsu v. United States). In 1944, the Supreme Court ruled against him, arguing that the incarceration was justified due to military necessity.


In 1983, Professor Peter Irons, a legal historian, together with researcher Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga, discovered key documents that government intelligence agencies had hidden from the Supreme Court in 1944. The documents consistently showed that Japanese Americans had committed no acts of treason to justify mass incarceration. With this new evidence, a legal team of mostly Japanese American attorneys re-opened Korematsu's 40 year-old case on the basis of government misconduct. Korematsu's conviction was overturned in a federal court in San Francisco. It was a pivotal moment in civil rights history.


Korematsu remained an activist throughout his life. In 1998, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, from President Bill Clinton. In 2010, the state of California passed the Fred Korematsu Day bill, making January 30 the first day in the United States named after an Asian American. Korematsu's growing legacy continues to inspire activists of all backgrounds and demonstrates the importance of speaking up to fight injustice.


For further information or to make a reservation, contact Paul DeWitt at paul@jamsj.org or call (510) 796-0121. Due to limited seating, registration is required and will be filled on a first come, first served basis.         

"Valor with Honor" Film Screening

442nd "Valor with Honor" Film Screening
February 19, 2012 
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. 
Japanese American Museum of San Jose 
535 N. Fifth Street 
San Jose, CA 95112 

JAMsj and the Contemporary Asian Theater Scene (CATS) present a special screening of the film, "Valor with Honor," an independent documentary film based on more than 35 interviews of Japanese American veterans who served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during WWII. This small segregated unit of 3,500 men is the most decorated American unit for its size and length of service. By the end of WWII, the 442nd would be awarded with 7 Presidential Unit Citations, 21 Medals of Honor, more than 500 Silver Stars, and more than 9,000 Purple Hearts.


The 85-minute documentary film by Burt Takeuchi describes the harrowing stories of the 442nd's battles in Italy, the Lost Battalion Rescue in France, the assault up Mount Folgorito, and the holocaust at Dachau, Germany, at the close of WWII. The film concludes with the vets' bittersweet return home to America. The entire film is woven through with emotional stories told by the veterans themselves.

Admission is free, but reservations are required as space as limited. To reserve a space, email info@jamsj.org or catstheater@gmail.com, or call (408) 294-3138 or (408) 867-4525. 

DVDs will be sold at the event. For more information about the film, visit director Burt Takeuchi's "Valor with Honor" web site
San Jose Day of Remembrance
2010 San Jose Day of Remembrance
The San Jose Day of Remembrance brings multiple communities together to build trust, respect, and understanding on the anniversary of Executive Order 9066.  Photo courtesy of Andy Frazer

32nd Annual San Jose 

Day of Remembrance


"Civil Liberties Under Siege"


February 19, 2012

5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin

640 N. Fifth Street

San Jose, CA 95112  





Please do not contact the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin for information on the event. Visit www.sjnoc.org for more information.  



Echoes of Executive Order 9066 


By Will Kaku

On February 19, 2012, members of the San Jose community will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 at the 32nd Annual San Jose Day of Remembrance event. The executive order eventually led to the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. The San Jose Day of Remembrance program, entitled "Civil Liberties Under Siege," brings different communities together to remember the signing of the executive order -- which many people now acknowledge to be a great civil liberties tragedy - and attendees are encouraged to reflect on what that historical event means to their lives today.


Many people, especially within the Japanese American community, feel that important lessons can be extracted from the incarceration of Japanese Americans and that those lessons are pertinent to the issues of today.


Last week, President Obama signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which has a provision that allows for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without trial. Civil liberties groups, human rights advocates, and members of the Japanese American community have vehemently protested the signing of this bill.  Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA), a former internee from Camp Amache and a frequent speaker at the San Jose Day of Remembrance event, voted against the NDAA and said that the bill did not have sufficient changes "to ensure the Constitutional rights of every U.S. citizen.  For these reasons, I voted against the FY12 National Defense Authorization Act." Read rest of article... 



JAMsj/Yu-Ai Kai Book Club
No-no Boy Cover
No-No Boy 

By John Okada 

March 2, 2012
1:00 pm 
Japanese American Museum of San Jose
535 N. Fifth Street
San Jose, CA  95112




"No-No Boy" reaches into the inner conflict and personal struggle of the main character, IchiroYamada, who is haunted by his decision to refuse service in the U.S. military. Yamada made this difficult decision in the midst of a tumultuous period, during which his own government removed his constitutional rights and imprisoned him in an internment camp. The novel delves into Yamada's personal battle to live with himself and to find his place in the community.


The title of the book refers to Japanese Americans who answered 'no' to questions 27 and 28 of the highly controversial "loyalty questionnaire" that was administered to incarcerated Japanese Americans in 1943. The questionnaire contained two problematic questions: whether or not the internee would be willing to serve in the American armed forces and whether or not the internee would swear unqualified allegiance to the United States. Those who answered those two questions in the negative were labeled "No-No" and were deemed disloyal. "No-No's" were segregated and imprisoned in a separate, high-security camp. Many of them were ostracized from the Japanese American community.


The reasons why some internees answered "No-No" are complex and varied. Some people feared that they would be permanently separated from their Japanese parents if they answered the questions differently from their parents. Some people qualified their answers (e.g. "yes, I will serve, but only if my constitutional rights are restored") or refused to answer the questions. People who qualified their answers or failed to answer the questions were also considered to be "No-No."


The book club meets the first Friday of every other month and is always open to new members. Selections are chosen collaboratively at the end of each meeting and align with the JAMsj mission: the celebration of Japanese American art, history, and culture. Books are readily available at San Jose public libraries, online book retailers, and the JAMsj museum store. If you have questions, please contact Aggie Idemoto at (408) 268-4440 or aggie@jamsj.org



JAMsj Calendar of Events

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Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj)
535 N. Fifth Street
San Jose, CA 95112
Tel: (408) 294-3138
Email: mail@jamsj.org