Japanese Americans Receive Honorary Degrees, 67 Years After WWII Internment Cut Short Their Studies At UC Berkeley

The following is from the University of California, Berkeley NewsCenter. It is reprinted here with permission.


By Cathy Cockrell, University of California, Berkeley NewsCenter
December 16, 2009

Yukio Kawamoto celebrates his
freshly minted UC Berkeley diploma.
Photo: Cathy Cockrell/UC Berkeley NewsCenter

BERKELEY, CA — Forty-two former UC Berkeley students now in their eighties and nineties have finally received the campus degrees they had been working toward nearly seven decades ago, when Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps in the midst of World War II.

In a special ceremony during the traditional December convocation on Sunday, December 13, 2009, the elderly Japanese Americans accepted their honorary diplomas. Mounting the stage in Haas Pavilion’s cavernous basketball arena, some with the help of canes, they sat in two long rows of chairs, wearing mortar boards, gowns, and blue-and-gold leis of origami cranes fashioned by local school children.

For 78 additional Japanese Americans now deceased or too infirm to attend, family members accepted diplomas in their honor. Read more of this post