March 10 Program Recognizes Those Who Battled World War II ‘Fake News’

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DENVER — While President Trump may have popularized the term “fake news,” the late Nisei journalist Jimmie Omura (1912-1994) and the draft resisters were battling fake news long before Trump was even born.

Prof. Arthur A. Hansen, professor emeritus of history at CSU Fullerton, will share excerpts from an upcoming memoir of journalist Omura, which will touch upon Omura’s World War II court trial that stemmed from his support of the Heart Mountain draft resisters, his subsequent ostracism from the Nikkei community, and his re-emergence as a civil rights leader during the 1980s.

Omura’s memoir, “Nisei Naysayer,” will be published by Stanford University Press in late 2018 and is based, in part, on journals kept by the Bainbridge Island-born Omura, who moved to Denver to avoid camp incarceration and lived out his post-war years in the area. As editor of The Rocky Shimpo, he stood trial along with members of the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee for conspiracy to counsel draft evasion, but was acquitted on the basis of his First Amendment rights.

The program will take place at the Mezzanine meeting area of Sakura Square from 1 p.m. It is being co-sponsored by the Japanese American Resource Center of Colorado (JARCC), the Japanese American Association of Colorado (JAAC) and the UCLA Asian American Studies Center’s (AASC) Eji Suyama Endowment, which strives to preserve the history of Japanese American dissent during World War II, including, but not limited to, the 100th/442nd draftees, Army and draft resisters, No-Nos and renunciants.

This 60-minute program will begin with a short introduction about the Suyama Project by Prof. David K. Yoo, vice provost for the Institute of American Cultures and professor of Asian American Studies and History at UCLA. There will also be a website presentation on the Suyama Project.

This will be followed by Hansen, in dialogue with Prof. Lane Hirabayashi, emeritus professor of Asian American studies and the former George and Sakaye Aratani Endowed Chair at UCLA. Also participating will be Martha Nakagawa and Tam Nguyen on the Suyama Project.

Hansen is a renowned historian whose life’s work revolves around the collection, analysis and presentation of original and historical interviews having to do with Japanese American incarceration. Over the past four decades, he has also put Nisei resistance to this injustice on the record. Hansen’s many publications and books exemplify the history of resistance that the Suyama Project website (http://suyamaproject.org) aims to reinforce and expand through the digitization of artifacts such as letters, diaries, photos, and other evidence from the 1940s.

There will also be a Q&A session and a reception with light refreshment after this.

Sakura Square is located at 1905 Larimer St. in downtown Denver. To get to the meeting room, the Mezzanine is located at ground level on Larimer Street between 19th and 20th streets, and not at the regular Sakura Square address.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Marge Taniwaki at [email protected] or call (303) 333-2130.

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