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We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Acts of Resistance During World War II

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Three Japanese American individuals with different beliefs and backgrounds decided to resist imprisonment by the United States government during World War II in different ways. Jim Akutsu, considered by some to be the inspiration for John Okada’s No-No Boy, resisted the draft and argued that he had no obligation to serve the US military because he was classified as an enemy Three Japanese American individuals with different beliefs and backgrounds decided to resist imprisonment by the United States government during World War II in different ways. Jim Akutsu, considered by some to be the inspiration for John Okada’s No-No Boy, resisted the draft and argued that he had no obligation to serve the US military because he was classified as an enemy alien. Hiroshi Kashiwagi renounced his United States citizenship and refused to fill out the “loyalty questionnaire” required by the US government. He and his family were segregated by the government and ostracized by the Japanese American community for being “disloyal.” And Mitsuye Endo became a reluctant but willing plaintiff in a Supreme Court case that was eventually decided in her favor. These three stories show the devastating effects of the imprisonment, but also how widespread and varied the resistance was. Frank Abe is writer/director of the film on the largest organized resistance to incarceration, Conscience and the Constitution (PBS), and co-editor of JOHN OKADA: The Life and Rediscovered Work of the Author of No-No Boy (University of Washington Press). Tamiko Nimura is a Sansei/Pinay freelance writer, editor, and public historian, contributing regularly to Discover Nikkei and the International Examiner. Ross Ishikawa is a cartoonist and animator living in Seattle. Matt Sasaki is the artist on Fighting for America: Nisei Soldiers by Lawrence Matsuda.


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Three Japanese American individuals with different beliefs and backgrounds decided to resist imprisonment by the United States government during World War II in different ways. Jim Akutsu, considered by some to be the inspiration for John Okada’s No-No Boy, resisted the draft and argued that he had no obligation to serve the US military because he was classified as an enemy Three Japanese American individuals with different beliefs and backgrounds decided to resist imprisonment by the United States government during World War II in different ways. Jim Akutsu, considered by some to be the inspiration for John Okada’s No-No Boy, resisted the draft and argued that he had no obligation to serve the US military because he was classified as an enemy alien. Hiroshi Kashiwagi renounced his United States citizenship and refused to fill out the “loyalty questionnaire” required by the US government. He and his family were segregated by the government and ostracized by the Japanese American community for being “disloyal.” And Mitsuye Endo became a reluctant but willing plaintiff in a Supreme Court case that was eventually decided in her favor. These three stories show the devastating effects of the imprisonment, but also how widespread and varied the resistance was. Frank Abe is writer/director of the film on the largest organized resistance to incarceration, Conscience and the Constitution (PBS), and co-editor of JOHN OKADA: The Life and Rediscovered Work of the Author of No-No Boy (University of Washington Press). Tamiko Nimura is a Sansei/Pinay freelance writer, editor, and public historian, contributing regularly to Discover Nikkei and the International Examiner. Ross Ishikawa is a cartoonist and animator living in Seattle. Matt Sasaki is the artist on Fighting for America: Nisei Soldiers by Lawrence Matsuda.

31 review for We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Acts of Resistance During World War II

  1. 4 out of 5

    Frank Abe

    A new graphic novel set for publication on May 18, 2021. Three voices. Three acts of defiance. One mass injustice. As the nation comes to a reckoning with a spate of anti-Asian violence that is rooted in a history of systemic exclusion and racism, the Wing Luke Museum and Chin Music Press are publishing a graphic novel that sheds new light on a major part of that history – the WW2 exclusion and incarceration of Japanese Americans. This is the story of camp as you’ve never seen it before. Whil A new graphic novel set for publication on May 18, 2021. Three voices. Three acts of defiance. One mass injustice. As the nation comes to a reckoning with a spate of anti-Asian violence that is rooted in a history of systemic exclusion and racism, the Wing Luke Museum and Chin Music Press are publishing a graphic novel that sheds new light on a major part of that history – the WW2 exclusion and incarceration of Japanese Americans. This is the story of camp as you’ve never seen it before. While Japanese Americans complied when evicted from their homes in 1942, many refused to submit to imprisonment in American concentration camps without a fight. Based upon painstaking research, We Hereby Refuse presents an original vision of America’s past with disturbing links to the American present. In this groundbreaking graphic novel, we meet: -- JIM AKUTSU, the inspiration for John Okada’s celebrated novel No-No Boy, who refuses to be drafted from the camp at Minidoka after the Selective Service classifes him not as a citizen but as an enemy alien; -- HIROSHI KASHIWAGI, who resists government pressure to sign a loyalty oath at Tule Lake, but yields to family pressure to renounce his U.S. citizenship, putting himself at risk of deportation; and -- MITSUYE ENDO, a reluctant recruit to a lawsuit contesting her imprisonment, who refuses a chance to leave the camp at Topaz so that her case could reach the U.S. Supreme Court. For the first time, we see Mitzi Endo as a person and not just a name on a legal brief. Through these characters, we see the devastating impacts of mass incarceration based solely on race, reveal the depth and breadth of the long-suppressed story of camp resistance, and locate government actions in the continuum of systemic exclusion of Asian Americans.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rhiannon Eargle

  3. 4 out of 5

    Raquel

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  5. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

  6. 4 out of 5

    Adrienne

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tere

  8. 5 out of 5

    paula

  9. 5 out of 5

    Christie Angleton

  10. 4 out of 5

    Wayong

  11. 4 out of 5

    Marissa

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kim

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jinx:The:Poet {the Literary Masochist, Ink Ninja & Word Roamer}

  15. 4 out of 5

    kelly

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jaclyn Hillis

  17. 5 out of 5

    DistantShips

  18. 5 out of 5

    J.R.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  20. 4 out of 5

    Caracortada

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ofthebookpeople

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sophia

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kusaimamekirai

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  25. 5 out of 5

    Javier

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

  27. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

  28. 4 out of 5

    Grace

  29. 5 out of 5

    Caralen

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  31. 4 out of 5

    All Graphic

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