From the Archive
The War on Habeas Corpus
"The Japanese in California should be under armed guard to the last
man and woman right now and to hell with habeas corpus until the
danger is over."
- Los Angeles Times, February 16, 1942
"The Constitution doesn't say every individual in the United States or
every citizen is hereby granted or assured the right of habeas."
- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, January 17, 2007
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's recent remarks about long-detained
"enemy combatants" conjure unsettling comparisons to the Supreme Court
cases that upheld the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans.
Current legal challenges to the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo
Bay, Cuba, spring from a key constitutional issue raised over sixty
years ago by Gordon Hirabayashi, Fred Korematsu, and Mitsuye Endo: In
wartime can the government suspend individuals' constitutional rights
on the grounds of military necessity?
>> Read more of this article
Online History Award
Densho received one of three honorable mention citations for the ABC-
CLIO Online History Award. This award is given every two years by the
Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) of the American Library
Association. Winners were selected for freely available online
historical resources that may be a full text collection, research aid,
or teaching resource stimulating creative historical scholarship.
Densho will accept the citation in June at the annual American Library
Association conference in Washington, D.C.
>> More information about the award
Densho Interviewees on NPR
A recent NPR story featured two nisei whose interviews are in the Densho
digital archive. Elizabeth Wynne Johnson profiled Sumi Okamoto and
George Yamada in her piece on the wartime experiences of Japanese
Americans who were not incarcerated. Both Okamoto and Yamada lived in
Spokane, outside the designated military area, when the Japanese
attacked Pearl Harbor. Though they weren't incarcerated, Japanese
Americans outside the "evacuation" zone were nonetheless affected by
Executive Order 9066. December 7, 1942, happened to be Sumi's wedding
day, and she tells how FBI agents disrupted the reception. George
recalls being forbidden to travel with the Washington State University
football team to compete in Seattle and other coastal cities. Densho
is pleased to assist the press in producing articles on diverse
aspects of the Japanese American story.
>> Listen to the story online
"One Life...a Legacy for All" is the theme for the thirty-eighth annual
pilgrimage to the site of the Manzanar "relocation center," which will
take place on Saturday, April 28, 2007. This year's event honors Sue
Kunitomi Embrey, who passed away in May 2006. In a 1997 interview in
the Densho digital archive, Embrey describes how she lobbied to
achieve redress and create Manzanar National Historic Site as a
reminder of the past injustice. The National Park Service website for
Manzanar offers directions for those who
plan to visit on their own: http://www.nps.gov/manz/index.htm. The
Manzanar Committee is organizing the group pilgrimage, which departs
from Little Tokyo in Los Angeles.
>> More information from the Manzanar Committee
Film Premiere: Cats of Mirikitani
The Northwest Film Forum presents the Seattle premiere of the
documentary Cats of Mirikitani, April 20 through 26, 7 pm and 9 pm.
The octogenarian artist Jimmy Mirikitani survived the trauma of
incarceration during World War II, losing family in Hiroshima, and
living on the streets of New York. But when the 9/11 toxic fallout
threatens his health, a filmmaker, Linda Hattendorf, brings him to
her home. The two embark on a journey to confront Jimmy's painful
past and reclaim his ties to family in Seattle. This intimate
exploration of the lingering wounds of war, and the healing powers
of friendship and art, won the Audience Award at the 2006 Tribeca
>> Ticket information from NWFF