A JAPANESE AMERICAN MEMORIAL FOR ALL
JAvoice.com wants to make certain that the collective recollection of Japanese Americans is representative of the diversity of our entire community.
Our history in this country is one of both great sacrifice and great achievement, and one of which we are all very proud. However, those in control of the memorial to our community's history -- the Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II, in Washington, DC -- proceeded from a limited perspective. The memorial, as it is now designed, only reflects a certain point of view.
Two board members of the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation have written a pamphlet about the history of the memorial and the dispute over its content. This pamplet is being released just days ahead of the Nov. 9, 2000 dedication ceremony.
This pamphlet can be read on our Web site or downloaded as an Adobe PDF file and printed out. Click here for the pamphlet.
The goal of our protest
"Unless it is changed. . . this monument will split the Japanese American community forever."
- Clifford Uyeda, former President Japanese American Citizens League
"It would be wrong to build a monument that is rife with controversy, dredges up bad memories, and causes anger and hurt."
- Don Matsuda, President of Club 100 veterans group in Hawaii
"(It) may be as much a memorial to betrayal and falsified history as it is to patriotism."
- William Hohri, author and lead plaintiff in the 1984 class action lawsuit for Japanese American redress
It is our hope that this web site will be an alternative voice -- one silenced by those who now control the content of the memorial -- so that the scope of our understanding, the legacy of our forebears, and the lessons of our past will be articulated in full not only to future generations of Japanese Americans, but to Americans of all backgrounds.
The facts disclosed in the "Lim Report"
To this end, we have made available a copy of the Lim Report that was commissioned by the JACL to investigate its wartime activities. This report is available on the Web or in a Microsoft Word file that can be downloaded and printed out. It details the decisions and actions of Masaoka and the JACL during a turbulent time and helps illuminate why he has proved such a controversial figure in Japanese American history.
Our hope that the lesson of our history will be that the content of a people's patriotism must be more than their glorification of and loyalty to the government at any cost. Rather, patriotism is the unwavering commitment to the ideals of a nation and thus must recognize the necessity to uphold conscience and justice no matter what the obstacles. We believe that this kind of patriotism is the real bedrock of our people's and our nation's greatness, and is the most important lesson of our community's history.
This web site honors those who served heroically in the United States armed forces as well as those who courageously endured the hardships of the camps, and those in our community who, in good faith and without personal gain, urged cooperation with Executive Order 9066. However, we also honor those who were without support during the camp years -- the resisters, the objectors, the "no-no's," the strikers, and those who fought against the camps in the courts. They are all a part of our history, our community, and our legacy. Our history is more than the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the 100th Infantry Battalion, the Military Intelligence Service and the camps. The best evidence of our patriotism has been the cumulative struggle of thousands of women and men to make a life in the United States despite the challenges and difficulties presented to us, and our contributions to the growth and prosperity of all the people of this country.
We have asked that the Japanese American memorial be one which embraces all of our history and all of our people, but so far have been refused. We know that the ultimate memorial will be in the hearts and collective memory of all of us, and to that end we dedicate this web site.
NPS response to protest
In response to concerns raised by JAVoice.com, National Park Service Director Robert Stanton said the NPS would make minor changes to the memorial but would keep in a controversial quotation by Mike Masaoka, field secretary of the Japanese American Citizens League during World War II. His presence on the memorial has proved highly divisive in the Japanese American community.
On July 26, JAvoice.com issued a response to Director Stanton and included many comments by people who have visited this Web site, and added their names to the resolution protesting the memorial.
Here is what several people said:
"In my studies and teaching, Mike Masaoka does not emerge in history as a civil rights leader during World War II. To the contrary, by the facts of his words and actions, he strikes students as being one who acted against civil rights.
- Stephen H. Sumida, University of Washington, Professor of American Ethnic Studies
"This is revisionist history at best (and I use the term history politely here) -- Stanton's reference to Masaoka as a civil rights leader during WW II! The body of scholarship contradicts Stanton's notion. Masaoka didn't even speak for Japanese Americans, and his words and deeds favored fascism and not democracy. Add my outrage to this latest of outrages."
- Gary Okihiro, Columbia University, Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race and Professor of International and Public Affairs
"The latest version of the inscriptions . . .contains misleading or historically incorrect information. With twenty years of research experience in this specific field, and as senior research associate for the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, I have sincerely and diligently recommended to the executive director of the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation and to the National Park Service over the past half year that certain textual revisions be made ... That the NPS and NJAMF have chosen to ignore certain suggested corrections communicated to them not only by me but also by a number of knowledgeable researchers, writers and scholars is nothing short of appalling."
- Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga
"I am writing a college text on the history of Japanese Americans. My review of published scholarship and archival materials cited by professional historians does not support NPS Director Stanton's assertion, in his letter of July 12, 2000 to Dr. Rita Takahashi, that current scholarship on the subject supports the NPS decision to include Mike Masaoka as a civil rights leader in World War II. In fact, publications and doctoral dissertations overwhelmingly refute such a claim."
- Nadine Hata, El Camino College, Professor of History
"The NPS decision to make minor changes is not enough. They do not go far enough in correcting a situation that is an insult to those who disagree with the philosophy and viewpoint the Masaoka quote entails."
- Rick Heredia
"I find it appal[l]ing that the Park Service would keep the Masaoka quote when there is documented proof that the Japanese American community is so strongly against it."
- Scot Kamimae
"Neither Mike Masaoka nor the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) speak[s] for me or represent[s] what I hold dear regarding American values of democracy. Please ensure that you represent an accurate portrayal of our history without distortions or bias toward any [individual] or [any] organization which includes Mike Masaoka and the JACL who betrayed the best interests of the Japanese American community in a time of our greatest need." - Ruth Hidaka
JAvoice.com, Committee for a Fair and Accurate Memorial
PAGE TWO, Introduction
Read the latest NEWS
Thursday, February 15, 2001
Copyright © 2001, 2000, JAvoice.com