JACL Statement on the Power of Words

The following is a press release from the Japanese American Citizens League, dated March 5, 2013.



Photo: Power Of Words II Committee/JACL
(click image above to view/print)

Contact: Priscilla Ouchida, Executive Director, pouchida@jacl.org
Craig Tomiyoshi, VP – Public Affairs, vppublicaffairs@jacl.org

WASHINGTON D.C. — During the past several weeks, the Japanese American Citizens League has received numerous questions and comments from members and external partners within the Japanese American community about the organization’s position and plans regarding implementation of the Power of Words handbook.

JACL remains committed to fully implementing the Power of Words resolution and terminology handbook, as approved by the National Council, without removal of any terminology or edits to their recommended use.

While some internal briefings and opinions on our web site have circulated and raised concerns in the community, no proposal or resolution to remove or redefine terminology has been developed or brought before the JACL National Board for consideration.

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National JACL Board Reaffirms “American Concentration Camp”


Photo: Power Of Words II Committee/JACL
(click image above to view/print)

by Mako Nakagawa and Andy Noguchi

We welcome and congratulate the National Japanese American Citizens League Board, under intense community interest, as it reaffirmed the three National JACL Council votes to fully implement the recommended terms American concentration camp, incarceration camp, and illegal detention center. By doing so, it rejected suggestions from some national JACL leaders to drop American concentration camp in order to form a coalition with the American Jewish Committee and others who have lobbied against the JACL using the term.

The National JACL Board, chaired by JACL President David Lin, and composed of 15 members, addressed this controversy on Saturday, February 23, at its quarterly meeting in San Francisco. Craig Tomiyoshi, Vice President of Public Affairs, presented the JACL Board position of fully implementing the National Council policy.

Northen Calfornia-Western Nevada-Pacific JACL Governor David Unruhe also shared a strong resolution from his District urging no omission of terms. Andy Noguchi, NCWNP JACL District Civil Rights Co-Chair, represented the concerns of Power of Words advocates.

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JACL Ratifies Power Of Words Handbook: What Are The Next Steps?


Photo: Power Of Words II Committee/JACL
(click image above to view/print)

by Andy Noguchi

An amazing 86 to 0 unanimous vote of the National Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) Council ratified the Power of Words Handbook and Implementation Ideas on July 7, 2012, in Bellevue, Washington. This capped a three-year campaign for truthful and accurate terms, and retiring the misleading euphemisms created by the government to cover up the denial of Constitutional and human rights, the force, oppressive conditions, and racism against 120,000 innocent people of Japanese ancestry locked up in America’s World War II concentration camps.

Former World War II incarceree Mako Nakagawa of Seattle initiated this campaign in 2009. She, the Seattle Power of Words Committee, JACL activists, including eight serving on the Handbook Committee, along with supportive community leaders across the country, fueled this effort.

The Power of Words campaign can now move into an implementation phase to more Read more of this post

Manzanar Committee Urges Japanese American Citizens League To Ratify Power Of Words Handbook

The California State Historic Landmark plaque at the Manzanar National Historic Site was dedicated in 1973 after a year-long debate over whether
or not the term, concentration camp should be included.
(click to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda

LOS ANGELES — On May 27, the Los Angeles-based Manzanar Committee announced that it has endorsed the Power of Words Draft Handbook that is expected to be voted on at the National Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) Convention in Seattle, Washington, July 5-8, 2012.

The Power of Words Draft Handbook is an attempt by some JACL members to address the use and acceptance of euphemistic language to describe the experiences of Japanese Americans during World War II.

“From government documents and propaganda, to public discourse and newspapers, Read more of this post