Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Unique WWII Nisei Journey

I did an interview in Berkeley with Norm Hirose who had a unique journey during World War II. From Berkeley, Norm’s family was removed and incarcerated at Topaz. When his parents decided to be repatriated to Japan, Norm renounced his US citizenship so that he would remain with his family. While waiting to be transferred to Tule Lake with his family, Norm was drafted in the US Army, and because he didn’t want to go to prison, decided to fill out the necessary paperwork. Then his father became ill, canceling the family’s transfer to Tule Lake. The government then decided to separate Norm from his family and transferred Norm, who had renounced his U.S. citizenship to the Santa Fe Department of Justice internment camp. After being released from Santa Fe after the war, Norm was inducted into US military service, where he served in Japan. In summary, Norm answered No-No in the loyalty questionnaire, renounced his citizenship, served time in an internment camp as an enemy alien, and then served in the US Army in Japan making this one of the more unusual journeys that I’ve heard.


BetterWorld said...

Hi Tom, Megan

Center for Japanese Studies or other departments might be good place to visit next time you have a chance to visit Berkeley.

Bill and Prof Steven Vogel came to Tokyo earlier this year to speak at Cal Alum get together.

I think Universities play important role in shaping our moral standards.

Principal of Communities:

I got below e-mail and realized that just as CEOs of corporation need to set expectaton on business moral, chancellers of universities must show leadership in setting moral standard in how we treat each other in our community.

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert J. Birgeneau, Chancellor [mailto: XYZ]
Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2008 10:25 AM
To: Staff, All Academic Titles, Other Members of the Campus Community, Academic Senate Faculty, Students,
Subject: Principles of Community

Dear Campus Community:

Last week, posters at a bus stop in front of Eshleman Hall promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace were defaced with signs equating the Star of David with a swastika. Although this hateful act of vandalism was not on campus property and may not have been perpetrated by our members, it is an act deeply hurtful to our Jewish students, and other members of the Jewish community who may have seen it, in this very busy student precinct. As a university community that does not condone any acts of intolerance or hate, we must speak out against this anti-Semitic obscenity. Deplorable acts of hate are the antithesis of a university community. As a center of higher learning we must stand in opposition to such acts and strive to promote a climate of understanding and acceptance for all groups on campus.

I believe that this is an opportune moment to remind the campus about our Principles of Community. The University has a unique role in society in guarding the principles of freedom of inquiry and free speech. These principles have been won over the centuries in the face of numerous attempts to thwart them. Academic freedom and freedom of speech are among the most important values held by the American university system and must be vigorously defended. Of necessity, this means that there must be freedom to examine, discuss, debate and communicate controversial issues.

A vibrant academic community supports open and honest dialogue in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Our discourse must be both open and civil. Academic freedom must always be accompanied by academic responsibility. As an institution of higher learning, we have a responsibility to promote constructive dialogue that does not foster a climate of intolerance or give license to prejudice. By fostering discussion in a reasoned, civil and respectful exchange of views among all members of our community, we can contribute to the emergence of understanding and solutions to important challenges facing our world today.

We have an obligation to give our students the broadest range of learning opportunities as they prepare to understand and engage in an increasingly heterogeneous and global community. I call on all of us to join together against cowardly acts of hatred and reflect the ideal of that global community here on our campus.

I encourage each of you to review our Principles of Community at

Yours sincerely,

Robert J. Birgeneau

Tom Ikeda said...

Dear betterworld,

Thank you for your comment. I strongly agree that leadership, whether business, academic, government or non-profit, needs to articulate and follow high moral standards. I applaud Chancellor Birgeneau message to the campus community.