Martha Nakagawa with journalist Kenji Taguma (left) and Topaz draft resister Ken Yoshida at the celebration of life for Heart Mountain draft resister Mits Koshiyama in 2009 at Wesley United Methodist Church in San Jose Japantown. (Hokubei Mainichi)


Some years back, I was with Paul Tsuneishi in Arizona for the dedication of the Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Park and a young wisp of a girl joined our group. Little did I  know that I was meeting for the first time a powerful journalist and activist.

That wisp of a girl was Martha Nakagawa.

Over the years I was very pleased that she wrote supporting articles on the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee resisters of conscience. She was one of few who understood the reasoning of the resisters. From her writings, more are now aware that civil rights were denied to those of Japanese ancestry.

As time passed, Martha became one of my close friends. Reading in The Rafu Shimpo, I was very shocked to learn of her passing.

Sayonara, my good friend. Rest in peace.

From a Heart Mountain resister of conscience. Kokoro kara.


Dr. Takashi Hoshizaki, Ph.D. grew up in Los Angeles and during World War II was incarcerated at the Heart Mountain concentration camp in Wyoming, where he attended meetings of the Fair Play Committee and became a draft resister. The Heart Mountain resisters served two years at the McNeil Island federal penitentiary but were pardoned after the war by President Harry Truman along with all of the other Japanese American wartime draft resisters.

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