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Community Recognizes Legacy of Minoru Yasui

The theatrical reading of "Citizen Min," performed at Blaine Memorial United Methodist Church on Sunday. Photo by Shihou Sasaki/ The North American Post

By Shihou Sasaki

The North American Post

Minoru Yasui, a notable activist against the military action against the Japanese Americans during World War II, was recognized through events over the weekend in Seattle.

A working documentary film, “Never Give Up! Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice,” was screened at the Wing Luke Museum on Saturday while a theatrical reading of the play “Citizen Min” was performed at Blaine Memorial United Methodist Church on Sunday.

Both programs commemorate the centennial anniversary of Minoru Yasui’s birthday on Oct. 19, 1916. A memorial event is planned in his hometown of Hood River, Ore., in October. “Never Give Up! Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice” will be completed for its premiere showing on his birthday this year.

“Citizen Min,” worked by Yasui’s daughter Holly and drama writer Nikki Nojima Louis, features how Yasui built his faith on justice, faced the Pearl Harbor attack and Executive Order 9066, decided to protest against the government and how he experienced his arrest and trial.

Holly said that the play has many roles and may have some difficulty managing a low budget. However, she added that it might be possible to bring the play to school programs as an educational piece in the future. Beyond Oregon’s community, other regions including Arizona and Colorado are planning to recognize Yasui’s activities.

Yasui’s legacy has been recognized in recent years with the ongoing Minoru Yasui Tribute Project, exemplified when President Barack Obama presented him the Presidential Medal of Freedom post-mortem in November 2015.

The Oregon American Civil Liberties Union and Oregon state declared March 28 as Minoru Yasui Day. Portland’s community members led by Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center joined together in a rally following Yasui’s historic walk to violate the curfew that he claimed as unconstitutional.

“His life and his activities are connected to current events happening around the country,” said Bill Tashima of the Seattle Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League. “I realized how important it is and also inspiration of Min Yasui.”

More information about Minoru Yasui’s centennial anniversary event and project can be found at <www.minoruyasuitribute.org>.

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The North American Post is a community newspaper that celebrates Japanese culture in the Greater Seattle area. Founded by 1st generation Japanese-Americans in 1902, the publication is one of the oldest minority-owned newspapers in the region. Today, with bilingual articles in English and Japanese, the publication connects readers with diverse cultural backgrounds to Seattle’s Japanese community. Our articles include local news, event calendars, restaurant reviews, Japanese cooking recipes, community interviews, and more.