Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | internment
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I've read about, and talked about, and written about the internment of over 110,000 people of Japanese descent during World War II, so much that in a weird way, I've come to think of internment as a clinical, historical event. But once in a while, I'm reminded of the human scale of the tragedy, and feel the pain personally, of...

Filmmaker Linda Hattendorf posted the sad news today on the Facebook page for "The Cats of Mirikitani," the wonderful and powerful documentary she made in 2006: It is with deep deep sorrow that we must share the sad news that our dear friend Jimmy Mirikitani passed away on Sunday October 21. He was 92 years old. Thank you for all...

George Takei is a pleasure to watch and listen to any time. This hour-long interview on TheLip.tv's "Media Mahem" web show is especially fun because it covers a lot of ground, and Takei is funny and relaxed and open, discussing his media incarnation as a gay community icon, his work with Howard Stern, his "feud" with William Shatner, being Japanese...

Pretty powerful stuff. Matthew Shimura, a 9th grader from Honolulu, Hawaii won the Grand Prize for his documentary, "The Constitution and the Camps," in C-SPAN's annual StudentCam competition. The Grand Prize winner (announced March 7) received a $5,000 award and $1,000 for his teacher to buy video equipment for his school. (Coincidentally, he attends the Punahou in Oahu, where Barack...

Drama in the Delta screen shot Japanese Americans know about internment. My wife Erin's parents, grandparents and great-grandparents on both sides were rounded up from Sacramento County, Calif. and eventually imprisoned at Rohwer, one of two concentration camps in Arkansas built during World War II to house Japanese Americans out of fear and racial hysteria. There were 10 in all, including Camp Amache in desolate southeastern Colorado. (Note: There's been a gradual move towards the use of the term "concentration camps" because that's the term the U.S. government used for them when they weren't using euphemisms like "assembly center" or "relocation center.") For many older Japanese Americans, the first thing they ask of each other when they meet other JAs is, "what camp was your family in?" and they're not talking about summer camp.

Site of the Heart Mountain Internment Camp in Wyoming Maria Hinojosa, a very respected journalist for NPR and PBS who's currently working on a Frontline documentary about the detention camps holding Latin Americans suspected of being illegal immigrants, visited the University of Colorado this week. She gave a speech Tuesday night but that day she had a casual free lunch discussion with students from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She described the film she's working on, and some of the heartbreaking stories of families torn apart and the shame and embarrassment the detainees face. Her description conjured up for me how Japanese American families must have felt in 1942 as they were being rounded up and sent to internment camps in desolate parts of the Western United States during World War II, including Heart Mountain in Wyoming, shown above with a still-standing tarpaper-covered barrack. I asked her, since February 19 is the annual Day of Remembrance for Japanese Americans, if she found it especially ironic that she's working on this documentary and giving a speech this week. Hinojosa looked at me, stunned. She clearly knew about Japanese American internment. But she had no idea there was such as thing as Day of Remembrance for Japanese Americans.

Ralph Carr memorial dedicated at Kenosha Pass on Hwy 285, reamed Ralph Carr Memorial Highway Ralph Carr, the man who served as governor of Colorado at the start of World War II, had been largely forgotten for decades. But thanks to an effort by the Asian Pacific Bar Association (APABA) and a biography by journalist Adam Schrager, Carr's making a comeback in Colorado, and his legacy is finally getting its due, with a fine biography, a stretch of Highway 285 named in his honor, and now, a memorial to Carr's legacy at Kenosha Pass. On December 12, representatives of Denver's Japanese American community, APABA, and CDOT assembled at a scenic overlook just a few hundred feet west of the Kenosha Pass summit on Highway 285 to dedicate the memorial. (Here's a nice report from the Canyon Courier about the dedication.) It's a massive stone tribute engraved with a message that explains the significance of Ralph Carr to Colorado. A rising star in the Republican Party during the 1930s, Carr was mentioned as a future presidential candidate when he famously became the only Western governor in the months following the bombing of Pearl Harbor to oppose first the harassment, and then the internment of Japanese Americans.