Over four years ago, the JACL passed a resolution offering an apology to Tule Lake resisters and promised to take further actions that have not been realized.
On April 20, 2023, an email by Yukio Kawaratani and Kyoko Oda, addressed to JACL leaders and members and published in the Pacific Citizen reminded them of these obligations, but no response was received nor actions taken.
We have provided below the exact text of the closing of the adopted JACL apology resolution for JACL leaders and members to read and to respond by taking actions to fulfill their promised obligations.
“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the National Council of the Japanese American Citizens League that in the spirit of reconciliation, forgiveness, and community unity, a sincere apology is offered to those imprisoned in the Tule Lake Segregation Center for non-violent acts of resistance and dissent, who suffered shame and stigma during and after the war due to the JACL’s attitudes and treatment towards individuals unfairly labeled ‘disloyal,’ and
“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Council commits itself to encouraging all chapters to gain a greater understanding of the issues surrounding the imprisonment, mistreatment, and resistance of Japanese Americans sent to Tule Lake Segregation Center, and
“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Council authorizes the National Education Committee to include the narrative of the Tule Lake Segregation Center in an updated edition of the JACL Curriculum Guide in both printed and online format and to include this narrative as one element of the syllabus for future JACL Teacher Training Workshops, and
“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Council will recognize Tule Lake Resisters at an appropriate public ceremony during the 2020-2021 biennium.”
Note: The National Council did adopt the apology resolution over four years ago, but partly due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the other three resolution commitments have not been fulfilled. Recommended ways these three obligations could possibly be fulfilled by the JACL are as follows:
At the JACL National Convention in Little Tokyo this summer, a workshop titled “Who Were the Tule Lake Resisters?” was held by a panel of five distinguished community members highly versed on the Tule Lake resister experience. Richard Katsuda was the moderator and the other four members were Kyoko Oda, Soji Kashiwagi, Yukio Kawaratani and Stan Shikuma. The very informative workshop with over 50 attendees was filmed and we strongly recommend it be distributed to all JACL chapters to help them gain a greater understanding of the issues regarding Tule Lake resisters.
We are heartened that the JACL has recently started to work on the Tule Lake narrative to update the Curriculum Guide and has invited the panel members from the Tule Lake resisters workshop and the Tule Lake Committee to participate. It is important that the JACL and representatives of the Tule Lake resisters and Tule Lake Committee have a meeting of the minds in order to provide an accurate and authentic narrative.
National Council recognition of Tule Lake Resisters at an appropriate public ceremony still needs to be accomplished. Possibilities may be the July 2024 Tule Lake Pilgrimage, which will have over 400 inspired and interested attendees, or at a large banquet in Los Angeles, as the greatest numbers of Japanese Americans and JACL members live in Southern California.
It has been over four years since the apology resolution was passed, so the JACL should expeditiously strive to meet its promised commitments.
Yukio Kawaratani and Kyoko Oda
San Fernando Valley JACL members and former Tule Lake Inmates