Manzanar Committee Mourns The Loss of Legendary Community Activist Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga

Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga, shown here during the 48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, April 28. 2017.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee.


LOS ANGELES — The Manzanar Committee extends its deepest sympathies to the family, friends, and colleagues of Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga, who passed away on July 18 in Torrance, California at the age of 92.

Herzig-Yoshinaga, who was one of the 120,000 Japanese/Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated in American concentration camps during World War II, is best known for her painstaking research in the National Archives where she discovered the original edition of Western Defense Command General John DeWitt’s Final Report, Japanese Evacuation from the West Coast, 1942, which clearly indicated that racism, not national security concerns or military necessity, was the primary motivating factor in the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans from the West Coast some 76 years ago.

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Some Thoughts About NCRR’s Impact As They Publish a New Book About Their History

Community members marched through Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo
during a Day of Protest, held in August 1989.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda

As the movement for redress and reparations for the more than 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated or otherwise forcibly removed from the West Coast during World War II began to gain steam in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, different views on how to win redress emerged. Some might say that those divergent views became wide chasms. But in the end, those different paths to achieve victory came together, for the most part, and necessarily so.

One of those divergent views was that the people had to be part of the movement, that organizing the community on a grass-roots level would be critical if redress was to be achieved and it was NCRR that led the way in that regard.

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AUDIO: Manzanar, Manzanar Pilgrimage The Focus of 99% Invisible Podcast

The cemetery monument at Manzanar.
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

On March 28, 2017, the Manzanar Pilgrimage and its origins, along with the Manzanar National Historic Site, was the focus of 99% Invisible, a podcast that. “…is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about—the unnoticed architecture and design [and history] that shape our world. With 150 million downloads, 99% Invisible is one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes.”

You can find out more about 99% Invisible here.

Their podcast on Manzanar features interviews with Manzanar Pilgrimage and Manzanar Committee co-founder Warren Furutani, Alisa Lynch of the Manzanar National Historic Site and Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey. You’ll also hear excerpts from Manzanar Pilgrimage and Manzanar Committee co-founder Sue Kunitomi Embrey’s oral history with Densho.org.

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Warren Furutani To Be A Featured Speaker at 48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage

Warren Furutani
(click above to view larger image)
Photo courtesy Warren Furutani

PILGRIMAGE: Bus transportation from Downtown Los Angeles and Gardena will be available.

LOS ANGELES — Former California State Assemblyman and long-time community activist Warren Furutani will be a featured speaker at the 48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, sponsored by the Manzanar Committee, on Saturday, April 29, 2017, at the Manzanar National Historic Site, located on U.S. Highway 395 in California’s Owens Valley, between the towns of Lone Pine and Independence, approximately 230 miles north of Los Angeles (see map below).

Each year, over 1,000 people from diverse backgrounds, including students, teachers, community members, clergy and former incarcerees attend the Pilgrimage, which commemorates the unjust incarceration of over 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry in ten American concentration camps, and other confinement sites, located in the most desolate, isolated regions of the United States, during World War II. Manzanar was the first of the American concentration camps to be established.

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