SAN JOSE — Nihonmachi Outreach Committee presents the 34th annual San Jose Day of Remembrance on Sunday, Feb. 16, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin, 640 N. 5th St., San Jose. The theme is “Civil Liberties and War: Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of Korematsu v. United States.”
The 2014 San Jose Day of Remembrance commemorates the signing of Executive Order 9066, which led to the forced incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese descent, two-thirds of whom were American citizens.
This year’s event features Dale Minami, the lead attorney on the legal team that overturned the conviction against Fred Korematsu in 1983; Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose); and Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj) former president and current board member Joe Yasutake.
The event will also recognize the 70th anniversary of the landmark Korematsu v. United States Supreme Court case. In 1942, Korematsu refused to comply with the executive order and did not go to the government’s incarceration camps for Japanese Americans. After Korematsu was arrested and convicted of defying the government’s order, he appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court. In 1944, the court ruled against him, arguing that the incarceration was justified due to military necessity.
In 1983, UC San Diego professor Peter Irons and researcher Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga discovered Department of Justice documents that revealed that “the government knowingly withheld information from the courts when they were considering the critical question of military necessity in this case.” The documents demonstrated that Japanese Americans had committed no acts of treason to justify mass incarceration.
With this new evidence, a pro-bono legal team that included Minami and the Asian Law Caucus, reopened Korematsu’s 40-year-old case on the basis of government misconduct. On Nov. 10, 1983, Korematsu’s conviction was overturned in a federal court in San Francisco. It was a pivotal moment in civil rights history.
The Day of Remembrance program will also include a performance by San Jose Taiko and the traditional candlelight procession through historic San Jose Japantown.
Free and open to the public. Info: (408) 505-1186, www.sjnoc.org.