OCHAZUKE: My Thoughts On JACL

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By MAGGIE ISHINO

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(First published in The Rafu Shimpo on April 22, 2010.)

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I was  going to write a letter to the Editor of the Pacific Citizen expressing my objection to do away with the printed copy of the Pacfiic Citizen, but when the Rafu Shimpo Editor, Gwen Muranaka, asked me to write an Ochazuke, it gave me an opportunity to express myself without writing a letter.

Kudos to Mr. Hugh Burleson’s article, “Paper or Perish?” in the Pacific Citizen, April 2-15, 2010. It was an excellent article, well-written and expressed my exact sentiments. I hope that Mr. Burleson will not object to my quoting him: “The current leadership has earlier seen us lose many Nisei members when they adopted new stances and policies on controversial issues. In the midst of efforts to build up JACL membership, what would be the consequences of again giving the oldsters the cold shoulder by ending the print edition?” In two sentences, I am sure that Mr. Burleson stated precisely what the “older” generation think of the no-print edition.

I say, perish the thought. I do not have a computer so without the print edition, I will no longer be able to keep up with the “Pacific Citizen” news. I have enjoyed and appreciated the “new” look in having the photo of the author along side of his/her article. It gives such a personal and friendly appearance.

Since the early 1950’s I have been a member of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). In those days, the JACL was most conscious of life in the Japanese community and maintained a solid ground.  One wonderful aspect was the passage of the Walter-McCarron Act in 1952, which allowed the Issei to become naturalized citizens.  I was Haruo Ishimaru’s secretary at that time and assisted in a small way by “translating and/or interpreting” the questions on applications for the Issei who applied. (It was then I met and shared an office with Masao Satow, then Director and his wife, Chizuko (Chiz), who was the accountant and Daisy (Satoda) Uyeda, Mr. Satow’s Secretary. Those were wonderful days.)

My father became a  naturalized citizen and he was so very proud of the Certificate of Naturalization he received, he had it framed. My mother never became a naturalized citizen, but she attended a few classes. We used to kid her about the questions asked and one was, “How long is the term of the U.S. President?” Her reply was, “Four years and if he lucky, eight.” We really got a charge out of her answer.

The JACL also had a great deal to do with the Redress which allowed those who were incarcerated in the various Concentration Camps to receive $20,000, under the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.  It is regrettable that those who really deserved this $20,000, such as my parents and other Issei, did not receive anything because of their demise prior to 1988.

The above-mentioned are the two most significant events that the JACL took part in to make a better world for those in the Japanese community. All the hard work and efforts of the JACL personnel involved in making these events a reality is truly gratifying.

Not having or relinquishing the print copy of the Pacific Citizen, I assure you, will lose more members, especially the Issei and older Nisei. Give them a break. They are in their Golden Years and let them enjoy the printed copy of the Pacific Citizen in order to keep abreast of events/happenings in the Japanese community.

Another issue which bothers me is that why does the JACL sent out thousands of letters to join this or that, or sign up for this and that? If this information was printed on the front page of the Pacific Citizen to, say, “advertise” then the members of the JACL can decide whether they want this or that. Wouldn’t that save a lot of unnecessary expenses?

My prayer is that the Japanese American Citizens League will always be in existence and that the Pacific Citizen will maintain their present printed copy editions.

Amen!
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Maggie Ishino is a Rafu typist. Ochazuke is a staff-written column. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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