Grateful Crane’s Soji Kashiwagi Weighs In On Use Of “Concentration Camp”

Another voice in the debate on the use of euphemistic terms to describe the Japanese American Internment experience is that of playwright Soji Kashiwagi, Executive Producer of the Grateful Crane Ensemble.

Responding to Rafu Shimpo columnist George Yoshinaga, who has, for many years, argued that concentration camp is not an appropriate term to describe the camps that Americans of Japanese ancestry and their immigrant parents were imprisoned in during World War II, Kashiwagi criticized Yoshinaga’s stance in a piece submitted to the Rafu Shimpo and to the Manzanar Committee blog. Read more of this post

More From Okazaki On Use of “Concentration Camp;” Refutes Rafu Shimpo Columnist George Yoshinaga

On September 8, 2010, Rafu Shimpo columnist George Yoshinaga once again railed against the use of concentration camp to describe the camps that Americans of Japanese ancestry and their immigrant parents were imprisoned in during World War II.

In Yoshinaga’s column, “Horse’s Mouth: Raku, A Japanese Restaurant” (Yoshinaga’s comments were also included in a separate column, “Horse’s Mouth: The Richest Countries In The World,” September 14, 2010), he claimed that the ten camps were not concentration camps because, “those who wanted to leave camp had no problem, contrary to her statements.”

Joyce Okazaki (second from right) during a meeting with
Manzanar National Historic Site staff, April 26, 2009.
Photo: Gann Matsuda

Yoshinaga went on to describe his exploits outside the barbed wire, more than implying that he and all other Japanese Americans at the Heart Mountain camp had complete freedom and could come and go as they pleased. Read more of this post

Manzanar Committee Member Joyce Okazaki: “Yes, It Was A Concentration Camp”

On August 31, 2010, Rafu Shimpo columnist George Yoshinaga, who has for many years railed against the use of “concentration camp” to describe the camps where Americans of Japanese ancestry and their immigrant parents were imprisoned during World War II, published the text of a letter written by Eunice Sato, former Mayor of the City of Long Beach, California, who stated her opposition to California Assembly Bill 1775, which would establish January 30 of each year as “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution.”

Sato wrote, “…Gov. Schwarzenegger should veto AB 1775 Re WWII Japanese American Relocation until the ‘concentration camp’ wording is changed. I was among those forced to leave my home so I know.”

“…I believe the bill’s text that refers to ‘concentration camps’ needs to be changed to ‘relocation’ or ‘assembly’ centers which is the more accurate terminology.”

“My urgent request is that the wording be changed from ‘concentration camp’ to ‘relocation or assembly center’ in all places in the bill where the word ‘concentration’ is used. I favor having Gov. Schwarzenegger’s veto AB 1775 in the form it was sent to him and then ask the bill’s supporters to replace wording that currently conveys the wrong impression of what happened.” Read more of this post

Honorary Degrees Awarded At UCLA To Former Japanese American Students

Photo: Darrell Kunitomi

LOS ANGELES — On May 15, 2010, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) awarded honorary degrees to former Japanese American students who were forced to leave the University due to their forced relocation and unjust imprisonment in American concentration camps during World War II.

Approximately 200 students were forced to leave the campus not long after the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942. Read more of this post

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