On April 2, you published a response by Larry Grant, governor of the Intermountain District Council of the Japanese American Citizens League, to my article concerning the "Day of Remembrance."
In his response, Mr. Grant accuses me of using "half-truths, tired arguments and incorrect facts to support a position that is not supportable." I take this as a very serious charge from a leader of an organization that is so familiar with the use of these tactics.Grant claims there was no threat. Four months after the brutal, racist and well-publicized "Rape of Nanking," the Utah chapter of the "Association of Japanese in America Obligated to Military Duty" (to the Empire of Japan), headquartered at 124 W. 100 South in Salt Lake City, announced in its prospectus: "We are the most patriotic, second to none. . . . All we Japanese brothers are expressing our loyalty to our own country (Japan). Moreover, we intend to help the war operations. . . . We are able to talk and act proudly every day even though in a foreign country. This privilege, needless to say, would never have been granted for us without the background of Japanese might and power in the world. . . . We demand you to cooperate with this help to the fatherland in the time of this emergency."
Grant claims that there is no relevance in my contrasting my own experience in civilian Japanese concentration camps with relocation centers. Indeed there is. Grant and others don't seem to know what a concentration camp is. I do.
Concentration camps don't provide free medical care, pay for work, assistance in securing jobs and moving, help enrolling and attending colleges and universities, unemployment insurance, clothing allowances and access to mail order shopping. Concentration camps don't have recreation halls, high school proms and yearbooks, stores, Scout halls, banks, post offices, a liberal leave policy and application forms for entrance if otherwise not qualified.
Certainly there is nothing wrong with recalling relocation. It is an important part of our national history, but let's recall it, warts and all, as it really was, not as the JACL has made it out to be. And, for heavens sake, for the next "Day of Remembrance," let's not have the governor of our state signing a declaration that is a gross misrepresentation of historical fact.
Salt Lake City