SAN FRANCISCO — The Japanese American National Library is sponsoring a free community forum, “Establishment Rebels: The Northern California Committee on Fair Play and Opposition to World War II Japanese American Exclusion and Incarceration,” on Saturday, May 30, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. in the Hospitality Room of Union Bank’s San Francisco Japantown Branch, 1675 Post St.

(Go to Peace Plaza, Post and Buchanan streets, and enter from the Japan Center’s East Building.)

Masanori Hongo
Masanori Hongo

According to UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library, “The Pacific Coast Committee on American Principles and Fair Play was organized in January of 1943 with the express purpose of insuring the constitutional rights of persons of Japanese ancestry who had been evacuated from the Pacific Coast and relocated to the interior of the country by presidential proclamation in 1942.

“The committee was an outgrowth of the Committee on National Security and Fair Play, which had been originally constituted in October 1941, under the name of the Northern California Committee for Fair Play for Citizens and Aliens of Japanese Ancestry …

“The committee acted as an unofficial public relations representative of the War Department, the Justice Department, the State Department, the War Relocation Authority, and any other government body or civil servant whose responsibility it was to express a considered opinion concerning persons of Japanese ancestry in the United States.

“The work of the committee included disseminating educational materials to the public, providing public speakers, holding conferences, correcting distorted statements in the press, carrying on a dialogue with governmental officials and leaders of community groups, investigating conditions at relocation centers, and monitoring the return of the evacuees after the centers were closed. Chapters were formed in Fresno, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Santa Barbara, Portland, and Seattle.

“After the closing of the relocation centers, committee members decided that other, broader-based interracial, intercultural community organizations could more effectively continue the work of the committee and incorporate its programs into their own. To this end, the Pacific Coast Committee for American Principles and Fair Play dissolved itself in December 1945.”

Speakers will be:

• Charles Wollenberg, historian, author, educator, UC Berkeley convener of the California Studies Seminar, and fellow and past board member of the California Historical Society.

• Masanori Hongo, UC Berkeley graduate; former 15-year manager of the California Flower Market in San Francisco, and affiliate of the Asian American Curriculum Project in San Mateo.

• Rita Takahashi (moderator), professor at San Francisco State University.

For more information, call (415) 567-5006.

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