Japanese American Courier - Selected Articles


The Japanese American Courier was the first English language weekly published exclusively for the Nisei community. Each issue consisted of four pages and covered national and international news, editorials, features, the local Japanese community and sports. James Sakamoto, the publisher and editor, was a prominent member of the Seattle Nisei community. He was a founding member of the JACL (Japanese American Citizens League) and served as its president between 1936-1938.

December 26, 1941

Ringing Resolution of Loyalty Sent to President from Rally

With more than 1,200 signatures affixed, the resolution of loyalty addressed to President Roosevelt, adopted by enthusiastic acclamation at the Americanism Rally Monday night, was airmailed to the White House on Wednesday.
The resolution reads:

WHEREAS we are now in a war forced upon us by Japan, the prosecution of which toward a victorious end is the principle aim of the American people, and WHEREAS this can be accomplished only by all-out co-operation with the President of the United States and our National Defense Agencies, now
BE IT RESOLVED that we Americans of Japanese ancestry and the members of our parent generation here assembled and elsewhere reaffirm our allegiance and loyalty to the United States of America and pledge our efforts toward a victorious prosecution of the war by extending unstinting co-operation to the Presiden tof the United States and the duly constituted authorities by:
(1) Volunteering for service in the United States military forces;
(2) Volunteering every service to eradicate subversive activities;
(3) Volunteering for service in the Civilian Defense Program;
(4) Volunteering for service in the American Red Cross.
(5) Purchasing National Defense Bonds and Stamps.

January 1, 1942 - page 1

Chance to Assert Loyalty, Cites Sieg
Second Generation Now Have Opportunity to Erase Any Question Raised About Their Devotion to U.S. Flag
University President Optimistic

By Dr. Lee Paul Sieg
(President of the University of Washington)

This Holiday Season brings to every man and woman in this Republic of ours the solemn realization that "Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men" is almost an empty phrase so far as the world at large is concerned.

The United States--this Republic of yours and mine--is now at war. As this was written United States fighting forces were engaging an enemy that attacked in one of the most cowardly deeds in the history of the world.

How Attack Was Planned

The character of the attackers was clearly shown by the fact that the assault was planned and prepared while diplomats of Japan were in Washington, supposedly for conversations to assure peace in the Pacific Ocean. No man can offer an excuse for such action.

I have been informed that there are about 100,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry in this country. They are citizens of the United States and as such there is only one path for them to follow.

Have Great Opportunity

Today, they have before them their greatest opportunity to erase once and for always any question concerning their loyalty to this American Republic. I am confident that the great majority of them will join with all Americans, regardless of ancestry, origin, creed or color, to bring this conflict to a successful conclusion.

January 1, 1942 - page 8

Brilliant Array of Young People Found at Washington University
Second Generation Were Splendid Students, And Now a Fine List of Them Have Returned to Take Their Places at School as Instructors
Success Should Encourage Many Others

By Dr. J. F. Steiner (Professor of Sociology, University of Washington)

For a number of years I have been deeply concerned with the difficulties faced by Japanese Americans in making satisfactory occupational adjustments. So many doors seem closed to them in spite of their educational attainments and habits of industry.

It is a discouraging fact that out of the hundreds of Japanese Americans who have made fine record as students at the University of Washington, not one of them has ever occupied a high school teaching position in the city of Seattle. A news item in a recent issue of the Japanese American Review called attention to the fact that the appointment of Madeleine Yamane as teacher in the Gates High School near Salem, Oregon, was the first appointment of a Japanese American to such a position in the Pacific Northwest. This is at least a beginning in this direction and may encourage others to prepare themselves to fill similar positions.

Many Young on Faculty

Fortunately, the University of Washington extends a welcome to Japanese Americans not merely as students, but also as staff members and assistants in different departments. Henry Tatsumi, who has for more than ten years been a successful teacher of the Japanese language at this university, now holds an assistant professorship in the Far Eastern Department. Masako Takayoshi, for years one of the most popular and capable nurse in King County Hospital, has been made an instructor in the School of Nursing Education. John Maki, recently returned from several years study in Japan, holds an appointment as Associate in the Far Eastern Department.

Frank Miyamoto, who made a brilliant record as a graduate student in the University of Chicago, returned to this city the past Autumn to accept a position as Associate in the Department of Sociology. Two years ago Charles Kambe spent one year as Associate in the Anatomy Department and then resigned this position to study medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. This makes a total of five university faculty members chosen from the ranks of Japanese Americans.

Others Win High Honors

In addition to these members of the University faculty, there are other Japanese Americans who hold university fellowships, assistantships, and clerical positions in various departmentsof the University. At the present time five have been honored with appointments as university fellows: Nobutaka Ike in the Far Eastern Department; George Sawada in the Anatomy Department (second year); Martha Okuda in the Sociology Department (second year); Toshio Inatomi in the Chemistry Department; and Chihiro Kikuchi in the Physics Department (third year).

In 1930-31 a similar fellowship in Political Science was held by Shigeaki Ninomiya who later returned to the Orient where he was employed by the South Manchuria Railway Company.

Henry Tsuchiya, who held a fellowship in Bacteriology in 1937-38 completed his graduate work at the University of Minnesota and is now a member of the Minnesota State Department of Public Health.

The first Japanese American to hold a fellowship in Mathematices at the University of Washington (1940-41) is Fumio Yagi who is is continuing his graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Taft Toribara, who held a university fellowship in Chemistry in 1938-39 is continuing his work for the Doctor's degree at the University of Michigan.

Trend Shows Increase

It is very encouraging to note the recent trend toward an increase in fellowship appointments among Japanese American graduate students. During the years 1937-38, 1938-39 and 1939-40 there were two such fellowships awarded each year. In 1940-41 there were three, and in 1941-42, five Japanese American students were given fellowships in the University.

Other Japanes Americans whose attainments in the field of scholarship have won them special recognition are Eichi Kowai, a laboratory assistant in the Anatomy Department; Tai Inui, a graduate assistant in the Sociology Department; John Tanaka, design assistant in the Department of Aeronautical Engineering; Hide Morimizu, research assistant in the Bureau of Business Research; and Takuzo Tsuchiya, statistician in the Bureau of Business Research.

Among those employed by the University in a clerical capacity are Florence Tateoka, a cleark in the Purchasing Department, and Atsuko Shimizu, a clerk in the Extension Service. Mention should also be made of the 45 Japanese American students working part time in various departments of the University in return for aid received from the National Youth Administration. These grants to Japanese Americans comprise slightly more than 10 per cent of the total number receiving this assistance during autumn quarter.

The above list is one of which any immigrant group might well be proud. The achievements of these young Japanese Americans in the University appear all the more remarkable when we recall the lowly origin of many of their immigrant parents who have had a long and hard struggle to support themselves and their children in a land that never extended them a cordial welcome.

The place that these young people have made for themselves in the University should be a source of gratification to their parents whose sacrifices have made possible their children's education. And it should bolster up the courage of all our young Japanese American citizens in their effort to solve their occupational problems and increase their determination to give an even better heritage to the third generation.

January 1, 1942 - page 9

War Places Second Generation in Lead Once Taken by Elders
Young Americans of Japanese Ancestry Must Prove Their Right to Claim Protection of Nation; Should Join with Other Citizens
Resources at Hand to Help Solve Riddle

By Frank Miyamoto
(Associate in Department of Sociology, U. of W.)

I was listening to the Sunday afternoon broadcast of the New York Symphony Orchestra when the radio report was made that Japan had attacked Hawaii. At first the news came in a puzzling dribble--something about ordering the air patrol to its station, something about the torpedoing of an American vessel in the Pacific--then, the reporter was saying, "Airplanes bearing the insignia of the Rising Sun attacked the Pearl Harbor naval base about 7:50 this morning."

Theres was the initial moment of surprised unbelief, but after report upon report confirmed the fact, I thought, "Well, here it is at last. But where do we go from here, in particular, where do we Nisei go from here?"

Says Use Common Sense

In response to such a question I suppose a sociologist should have some words of counsel to offer, but I find only the dictates of commonsense, the same thoughts that must arise in the minds of every Nises who has felt the pulse of political life about him, filling my own mind. I need not mention the role which the Nisei must take as loyal citizens of a nation at war. Obviously, the part is not an easy one to play for as the list of American casualties grows increasingly long, we must expect some elements of the American populace will make us the target of their vengeful outbursts.

Knowing the sensitivity of the Nisei personality, which is incidentally a mighty desirable quality, I imagine the series of impacts will leave many of us emotionally ragged. In this connection, it should be noted that there is nothing that better gives psychological stability to a person even in the face of adversity, than persistant concentration upon a single set of worth purposes.

Would Join with Others

Perhaps no more worth purpose can be signaled out in the present situation than of joining as completely as possible with others in striving for the downfall of dictorial controls.

To the extent that we participate in this common effort we shall undoubtedly call forth the best elements of democratic idealism in the American people, which is after all a deeply ingrained characteristic of these people, and thus reduce the possibility of friction with the majority group.

Must Assume New Role

There is a new role which has been added to the functions of the Nisei in consequence fo the war. Heretofore, the Nisei have been dependent in more or less degree upon the Issei for economic as well as for moral leadership. The sweeping restrictions placed upon the economic function of the Issei, however, have produced a considerable reversal of position. For us Nisei, by and large, it means the assumption of a role to which we are unaccustomed, and for which our experience is comparatively limited. It means the assumption of responsibilities to an extent that we had not assumed it before.

Human beings are not transformed in their modes of behavior overnight and we may expect that the Nisei will find their new situation somewhat overwhelming.

Problem Has Its Answer

There is nothing which the Nisei cannot do which any other group has done if the situation is met with intelligence. Intelligence means at least two things: the clear recognition of all the existing problems, and a logical analysis of the appropriate mode of attack. To accomplish these ends it is necessary to have access to edquate (sic) information and experience related to the problem, but there are very few problesm for which such resources are not available. As a practical technique it may be desirable to jot down the main ideas that enter one's mind concerning these problems, and carefully think through all the contingencies involved.

Regardless of what may be said against the Issei during the present crisis, they have undoubtedly trained us Nisei well in the ways of intelligent citizenship, and we should strive to use that training to the utmost.

January 1, 1942 - page 9

University Head Asks Confidence
President Sproul Says that Japanese People Should Be Well Treated

Los Angeles--In a special statement released through the Anti-Axis committee, President Robert Gordon Sproul of the University of California urged all American citizens to counteract any unreasonable prejudice towards citizens of races other than white.

His statement follows in full:

"We Americans, in spite of our democratice ideals, too often allow unreasonable prejudice to deprive people of races other than white, of the full privileges that should be theirs as native-born citizens of the United States. This continuing problem threatens to become more acute now as Japanese-American relations become more critical. The American citizen of Japanese ancestry is likely to be discrimiated (sic) against because of superficial physical characteristics that have no influence whatsoever on the quality of his mind, the strength of his character, or the depth of his loyalty to the United States. Every good citizen should recognize this danger and do all in his power to conteract (sic) it, whatever may happen on the other side of the Pacific."

January 1, 1942 - page 10

Restless Students Should Wait Until Called, and Train Selves
Educator Realizes Attitude of Young Men, But Says Moral Must be Maintained, and Government Need Specialized Civil Personnel
Service Behind Lines Seen as Essential

By John McGilvrey Maki
(Associate, Far Eastern Department, University of Washington)

What is the role of education in a world girdled by the hum and clanger of munitions factories, the clatter of machine gunds, the roar of 16-inch guns, the shriek of falling bombs, and the whining snarl of pursuit planes? Compared with the deadly serious business of fighting and production, life in the University class-room appears supremely boaring.

Can't All Go to War

Indeed, the place of every able-bodied American male is either in the armed forces of the nation or in some civilian capacity which is essential to the nation's war effort. But there are some who, because of physical defects or because their government has not yet called them, have not yet found a role in the drive to victory. These young men can and must continue their education until their government calls them for more active duty.

Two Reasons for School

During the Christmas holidays there was apparently an increasing tendency on the part of second generation university students to abandon their university school for the duration. Their reasoning seems to run as follows:

We have not yet been called for service, and places have not yet been found for us in the civilian war effort, therefore, why should we waste our time studying? The answer is two-fold: First, morale, and second, the government's increasing need for specialized civilian personnel. Let it be pointed out that specialized personnel ranges all the way from individuals who can write clear, concise reports to those with highly technical scientific training.

Must Maintain Morale

One of the outstanding lessons of the two and one-half years of the present war is the paramount importance of maintaining civilian morale at a high level. An idle civilian is one whose morale is bound to be low. He is filled with a sense of his own uselessness, he is too willing to pick up and pass on any idle rumor (and an idle rumor is as dangerous as a deliberately planted one) that he might encounter; he will act as a drag on the efficiency of his more active fellows.

Aimless idleness, even while awaiting a call to action, is an extravagance in these grave times.

Civilian Workers Needed

A trained civilian personnel is as essential to a nation's war effort as the weapons and the men to man them are on the actual field of battle. Perhaps, in the days of primitive warfare, the entire male population was required to engage in active fighting, but in modern warfare, the fighting man in the field must be supported by the trained civilian at home.

No one will win a medal of bravery at a typewriter or before a drawing-board, or at a purchasing center, but his quiet unspectacular devotion to duty will enable those on the battleline to keep fighting at top efficiency. England, faced with a much greater shortage of manpower than we shall ever experience, has not committed the error of depriving herself of a reservoir of trained civilian personnel by closing her universities for the duration.

Must Train for Services

This is a war that can and must be pushed to a victorious conclusion against Germany, Japan, Italy and their minor satellites who are attempting to stifle, to throttle those values which gave humane life is (sic) dignity, its worth and its spiritually significance. It is a war that can be won only if each and everyone of us fucntion as an active and efficient unit of our democratic society. The student, through (sic) his role is passive, can contribute his bit by continuing his education so as to fit himself to be more efficient whenever his government calls for his services.

Let this be the vow of the student citizens today: I pledge my services to my nation; I shall hold myself ready to answer my government's call; and until that call comes, I shall, by continuing my university training, equip myself to become as efficient as humanly possible, be it on the field of action or on the front at home.

January 9, 1942

Danger Yet Ahead, Secretary Thinks
Masaoka Warns League Members that Kindness of Recent Months May Turn into Hate as War Brings Outrages
Chance for Greatest Triumph

San Francisco--In a New Year message from national JACL headquarters, Mike Masaoka, national secretary, calls upon all members of the League to rededicate themselves to the cause of America during this year. Especially timely is is warning that danger may lie ahead for members.

The secretary voices the gratitude felt by all for the consideration shown the Japanese on the Coast. In return, he says that the second generation must prove worthy of the trust imposed. But he warns that as the war drags on, and casualty lists are published, there may be a decided change in public opinion. Main points in the message are as follows:

A year ago, although dark clouds loomed on the horizon, few--if any of us anticipated a war, least of all with Japan, the land from whence our parents came. We stoutly and vociferously insisted that we were all 100 per cent Americans and that we only wanted a chance to prove it.

Today, we are at war. Today the chance to prove that boast is ours. Today, we are on the proverbial spot.

We Must Reciprocate

Since Japan's treacherous attack upon American lives and territory some four weeks ago, the American public at large has been most considerate and sympathetic of our precarious position. The time has come when we must show our appreciation to our government and our true friends who went out of their way to demonstrate their trust and confience in us as 100 per cent Americans. We cannot let them down--for those people exemplify the finest spirit of American goodwill and sportsmanship. America is our only home. We are pledged to her preservation and perpetuation.

Just because many of the restrictions against the Japanese are being relaxed and conditions seem to be returning to normalcy, we must not dismiss the troubles of the past month as a horrible nightmare and confidently await a return to our former status. Actually, conditions are becoming worse.

The longer the war drags on--and casualty lists are published, west coast cities are shelled or bombed, atrocities committed--the tougher our situation will become. Public sympathy may wear away and, perhaps hate and prejudice will replace the present tolerance and forbearance.

We must gird our loins, as it were, tighten our belts and prepare for the hardest fight in our generation--a fight to maintain our status as exemplary Americans, who, realizing that modern war demands great sacrifices, will not become bitter or lose faith in the heritage which is ours as Americans, in spite of what may come; a fight that will not be won in a week, or a month, or even a year; a fight which will test our mettle and our courage; a fight in which we must make heroic sacrifices equal to or greater than those made on the battlefield, but also a fight in which we will be subjected to suspicions, persecutions, and possibly down-right injustices.

Challenge Must be Met

Ours is a difficult task; and yet, the very tragedy of our postion becomes a great challenge; a challenge to win our way through the ordeals ahead in such a commendable manner that we shall win for ourselves and our posterity a pinnacle in American society from which no one can ever dislodge us, or question or loyalty or doubt our sincerity. Yes, we are on the spot. But being on that spot, we are in a postion to gain the noblest triumph that ever fell to our lot; to survive this baptism of fire and to emerge a better American for it.

During these first days of the most portentious new year in history, let us solemnly resolve with full cognizance of these awful times, that we shall direct and devote our entire efforts to the great task that lies ahead: the preservation of the liberty and the sovereignty of humanity through the utter and absolute rout of tyranny's menace. For this great task, we must rally every American, regardless of his race, color, or national origin. For this great task, we must be prepared to pay the supreme price, if need be, that the dignity of mankind may be consecrated for all eternity.

April 3, 1942

Nisei College Students Might Continue at Eastern Schools

Berkeley, Calif.--In an effort to maintain the scholastic status of American-born Japanese students at the University of California, Dr. Robert Gordon Sproul has contacted a number of universities in the Middle West with a view of providing continuance for the young people. The results were rather satisfactory.

Dr. Sproul said that among those which have offered to cooperate were the University of Nevada, University of Idaho, Iowa State college, University of Kansas City and Colorado State college.

Thirty-two colleges were asked to consider accepting the students from the University of California and to waive tuition and non-resident fees. Most of them, Dr. Sproul said, have agreed to conoperate. Appoximately 315 students at the university here would be affected.

Only two outright refusals were received, from the University of Iowa, already crowded with a naval aviation training program, and from the University of Wichita, which turned down the request on the basis that Wichita had important war industries which might be endangered.

April 10, 1942 -- page 2 editorial

Don't Forget Education!

A cultural problem that has developed in connection with the evacuation of the Japanese people from the West Coast is that of caring for students in the higher educational institutions, and pupils in the high and elementary schools.

While this is a serious situation, yet it is pleasing to note that educational leaders and state officials are giving it attention, and that some progress has been maded. If the young people are to take their place in the life of the nation after the dark days are over, as all hpe will be the case, they should be better prepared than ever to meet the duties of now rudely interrupted by the exigencies citizenship. Should their education be of the emergency, they will not be prepared properly. [It appears that the typesetting has gone awry and the sentences should be: If the young people are to take their place in the life of the nation after the dark days are over, as all hpe will be the case, they should be better prepared than ever to meet the duties of citizenship. Should their education be now rudely interrupted by the exigencies of the emergency, they will not be prepared properly.]

California appears to have taken the lead in this problem, perhaps because of the larger number of students and pupils in that state. The University of California we understand, has queried 32 inland universities and colleges as to receiving students in the higher grades. At last reports 14 had responded favorably, with the proviso that they must be citizens, and comply with the usual regulations. Governor Olson and leading educators approve the plan.

At the University of Washington the students have been registered, with a transfer in view, and the same, we understand is being done in Oregon.

Yet, it is the children in the high schools and the elementary schools that offer the big problem. California educators have offered a program, and other states should do likewise. We venture the hope that our government will not be unmindful of these children.

April 10, 1942 -- page 4

Educators Would Assist Students
Inland Universities Would Receive Citizens; School Children Big Problem

Continuation of educational facilities for Japanese students in universities and colleges, and for pupils in the elementary and high schools is being considered along the Coast.

At the University of Washington, students were registered last week at the Japanese Students Club under the direction of Robert O'Brien, assistant dean of arts and science. Of 400 probably evacuees, about 370 are Japanese Americans. Similar registration was held elsewhere.

A dispatch this week from Berkeley said that the University of California has queried 32 inland colleges and universities about probably (sic) transfer and that 14 thus have replied favorably. It was stipulated that the candidates must be American citizens. No aliens will be accepted.

In Los Angeles at a conference with authories and educators, Gov. Culbert L. Olson approved the plan to transfer California senoirs. Plans are being made to contact federal authorities for consent.

Prospective college students in local high schools were to meet this morning at Eagleson Hall on the University campus to discuss their future. Robert O'Brien of the University, and M.D. Woodbury of the University YMCA, who attended the Berkeley conference, will be present.