To Tell the ‘Truths’

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The one-man show “Hold These Truths” was the subject of an Oct. 21 gathering at the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute. Playwright and actress Jeanne Sakata discussed how she was inspired by the late Gordon Hirabayashi, who, as a student at the University of Washington, challenged the government’s discriminatory treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II and took his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. She interviewed him, his friends and his family as she wrote her first play. Excerpts were performed by Ryun Yu, who first portrayed Hirabayashi 10 years ago at East West Players and reprised the role earlier this year at the Pasadena Playhouse. Yu and other actors have done the show across the country over the past decade, educating audiences who were unfamiliar with Hirabayashi and the wartime incarceration. Given recent events, Sakata and Yu said the story is more timely than ever. (Photo by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

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