Japan America Society of Colorado


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Day of Remembrance

  • Colorado History Center 1200 North Broadway Denver, CO, 80203 United States (map)

This event is hosted by Mile High JACL

  • Sunday, Feb. 17, 1-3PM (additional events Friday, Feb. 15th & Saturday, Feb. 16th)

  • History Colorado Center, 1200 N. Broadway, Denver, CO (map)

  • Cost- Contested Histories and JACL events are free to the public; museum admission is required to view additional exhibit galleries.

  • Contact JACL with questions: info@milehighjacl.org

Sunday, Feb. 17 will pay homage to the women of the Japanese American experience; the weekend will feature other events about WWII Japanese American incarceration, including Japanese American National Museum traveling exhibit of artifacts from Colorado’s Amache concentration camp.

DENVER, Jan. 14, 2019 – On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which allowed the US military to designate “exclusion zones” to ban anyone of Japanese ancestry.

These exclusion zones were along the West Coast, and reflected the fear that anyone who was even part-Japanese -- including children who were born in the US and therefore American citizens – could be spies or saboteurs. As a result of EO 9066, 120,000 people of Japanese descent were incarcerated during World War II in 10 concentration camps hastily built inland, from remote parts of California to the swamps of Arkansas. One concentration camp, Amache, was built in southeast Colorado and housed almost 10,000 people during the war.

The Mile High Chapter of the JACL, the oldest Asian American national civil rights organization, every year sponsors a Day of Remembrance event so that we won’t forget the injustice that happened 77 years ago.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Satsuki Ina, who will focus on the women of the Japanese American experience, who often have been relegated to the shadows of history. She will shine the spotlight specifically on three women: Mitsuye Endo, Iva Toguri and Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga.

Mitsuye Endo was the lone Japanese American who won her case at the Supreme Court challenging the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans during World War II. The men who took their fight to SCOTUS, Minoru Yasui, Gordon Hirabayashi and Fred Korematsu, all lost their cases at the time.

Iva Toguri was a Japanese American in Japan before the war who broadcast what she thought were innocuous music shows over the radio to US troops on the Pacific. After the war, she was given the nickname “Tokyo Rose” even though she never called herself that, and was convicted of treason. She was pardoned by President Gerald Ford in 1977.

Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga was the lead researcher of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, the bipartisan federal committee appointed by Congress in 1980 to review the causes and effects of the Japanese American incarceration during World War II. She discovered the document that showed the government knew that Japanese Americans didn’t pose a threat to the US, but went on to imprison 120,000 people in concentration camps anyway. Her research led to the redress and government apology provided in the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. Herzig-Yoshinaga died last year, just weeks before the 30th anniversary of the signing of the “Redress Bill” by President Ronald Reagan.

Keynote Speaker Dr. Satsuki Ina (http://satsukiina.com/), who was friends with Herzig-Yoshinaga, was born in the Tule Lake Segregation Center, one of the 10 Japanese American concentration camps. She has a private psychotherapy practice in the San Francisco Bay Area specializing in the treatment of community trauma. A community activist, writer, and filmmaker, she has produced two award-winning documentary films about the WWII Japanese American incarceration: Children of the Camps and From A Silk Cocoon. There will be a panel discussion and Q&A with audience members following the keynote.

Earlier Event: February 16
Mile High JACL Film Screening
Later Event: February 20