PASADENA — Retired Judge Lance Ito will speak on “Japanese American Draft Resistance from Inside the Heart Mountain Relocation Center” at a meeting of the Pasadena Rotary Club on Wednesday, Sept. 4, from 12 to 1:30 p.m. at University Club Pasadena, 175 N. Oakland.

Lance Ito

At the beginning of World War II, all persons of Japanese heritage living in the three states along the Pacific Coast, more than 110,000 people, most of whom were U.S. citizens, were involuntarily removed to isolated camps where most were detained for the duration of the war. Though they were initially classified as persons ineligible for military service, the War Department determined that Japanese American men should be subject to the draft and placed in segregated Army units.

At the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming, a group of men decided to resist induction into the Army unless and until due process was restored and the Japanese American community was released from incarceration. Ultimately 85 young men from Heart Mountain refused induction, were prosecuted in federal court, and sentenced to three years in prison.

In December of 1947, President Harry Truman granted the Heart Mountain draft resisters a full pardon.

Ito, whose parents were held at Heart Mountain, recently spoke at the Heart Mountain Pilgrimage.

The meeting, which includes a lunch buffet and complimentary valet parking, is open to the public. The cost is $33. Contact Wendy Anderson at or (626) 683-8243.

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