CWRIC hearings in Seattle, Washington, 1981. (Photo Credit: National Archives and Records Administration / Densho Encyclopedia)
By Guest Contributor: Sean Miura (@seanmiura)
My mom was about my age when she testified in support of Japanese American redress.
Fresh out of law school, she had moved to Seattle a few years prior and quickly found herself pulled into the local Japanese American community as a young leader, eventually becoming president of the Seattle Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League. Seattle, beautiful rainy Seattle, is a city of left-leaning intellectuals and artists, organized and ready to mobilize with fiery intent and focused action. The Japanese Americans were (and are) no different.
When communities across the country began the push for recognition of wrongdoing in the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans, Seattle became one of the centers of organizing and strategy-setting.
And there was my mom, alongside so many others who fought to make it happen in a layered, complex, beautifully complicated weaving of people who came together to make it happen.
And happen it did.
Continue reading “The Power of Untidy Movements: 30 Years after the Fight for Japanese American Redress”
The Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society’s production of comic-opera “The Mikado” has caused controversy due to the nature of the show and the production’s use of White actors to play Japanese characters. LA-based community organizer Sean Miura (@seanmiura) reflects on his experience with the “The Mikado” and the society’s response to the backlash.
I hold a special place in my heart for the people of Seattle.
Seattle is the city where my great grandmother settled after leaving Japan, going on to raise four daughters as a single mom. Seattle is where my great uncle crossed the Bainbridge Island pier to board boats to buses to trains to concentration camps in the wake of Pearl Harbor hysteria. Seattle is where my mother moved after law school, became chapter president of the local JACL, fought for redress and reparations, and fought to right the conviction of a man who resisted being imprisoned in a World War II concentration camp. Seattle is where my mom met my dad. Seattle is where I was born.
Seattle is not where I grew up, but Seattle was the closest I had to an Asian American community with the International District, Uwajimaya food court lunches, and the salmon my uncle Tike would catch fresh in the mornings. My mom drove me, 10 years old at the time, from our home in Vancouver to see David Henry Hwang’s “Golden Child” at the Seattle Reparatory Theater, the first time I saw Asian Americans telling our own stories live.
I saw The Mikado a couple years later.
Continue reading “Undoing “Mikado”: Japan is not an imaginary place, and I am not a metaphor”