USC to issue degrees, apology to displaced nisei students – Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii 2021-10-17 06:05:00 –

In 2007, Jonathan Kaji, then president of the University of Southern California’s Asia-Pacific Alumni Association, asked in 1942 about the school’s behavior towards Japanese students. That year, President Franklin Roosevelt issued an enforcement order 9066. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he detained Nikkei from the west coast.

He read that a university in Washington issued an honorary degree to Nisei (children of Japanese immigrants) who were prevented from completing their studies by executive order.

The school’s professor of history returned to him the fact that he felt uneasy. Many universities in California, Washington, and Oregon have accepted Japanese-American students from other institutions to encourage them to complete their studies and avoid detention. However, then USC President Rufus von Kleinmid was notorious for his support for anti-Semitic and eugenics studies and refused to publish transcripts of Japanese-American students. , Prevented them from getting a degree elsewhere and forced many to start over.

Kaji immediately apologized to the USC Board for his actions during World War II and petitioned a second-generation student who was denied writing to issue a post-mortem honorary degree.

Almost 15 years later, USC acknowledged Kaji’s request.

On Thursday, the university announced that it would give more than 100 second-generation students who were denied copying a posthumous degree. The university is urging citizens to help find student descendants to honor them during the April gala.

Carol Folt, USC Chairman from 2019, “”Made a decision to correct a historical mistake,Patrick Auerbach, senior vice president of alumni association, said Thursday.

The USC granted former second-generation students honorary graduate status in 2008 and issued honorary degrees to some living second-generation students in 2012.To do,“Auerbach said.

Folt will make a public apology to 120 students during the gala.

The USC passed state law in 2009, partly drafted by Kaji, and awarded an honorary degree to all Japanese-American students living or deceased at California State University and California Community College System schools. I have faced pressure to honor students since I mandated them to do so.

In 2009, Kaji recalled that he received a reply from then-USC president Steven Sample that the institution did not follow the state university.

Dr. Fujioka Larry, a Hawaiian dentist, feels that this degree is “closed” to the children of most deceased students. For him, this degree felt “much more meaningful” than any recognition his father, one of the prestigious students, John Masato Fujioka, had received in the past.

He said previous school attempts to honor students evacuated in 2008 and 2012 did not represent “a true apology and a true gesture by the university to really understand what they did.” Stated.

Fujioka, 68, said his father “has never had a grudge against USC, despite what they did.” He rarely talked about what happened after Executive Order 9066, but he always wore a USC sweatshirt.

“He always felt like a USC guy,” Fujioka said. “I think he is very happy with this.”

Joan Kumamoto said his father, Jiro Oishi, was very happy with the news, but it was a bittersweet moment for her. Her father died in 2002 and was not recognized at previous ceremonies.

“I’m really happy with my dad because I know he really wanted it,” said Kumamoto, 76. As far as she remembers, he was proud to be a Trojan horse. He wore school colors, cardinals and gold and had season tickets for USC football and basketball games. Kumamoto was in high school when he realized that his father hadn’t graduated from USC.

“Personally, I’m a little more, you know, I’m sorry this didn’t happen before,” she said. “But I think it’s a good step for USC, so I’m trying to stay positive.”

Kaji said there have been many changes since 2007, including the new president’s openness to tackling the racist chapter of USC history. But most of the time, it was the context that changed, he said.

“The wave of scandals blaming the USC in recent years, combined with public unrest after the George Floyd incident and the wave of anti-Asian violence during the COVID pandemic, has been combined to move the matter forward,” Kaji said.

Kaji remembers leading a protest of 10 people in front of the auditorium, which was awarded the first installment of an honorary degree in 2012. He didn’t think the school was doing enough. His parents, both Nisei, along with him, knew the students affected by the executive order.

“Before they died, I promised them to continue this effort,” Kaji said. “So I believe this is to complete the promise to them.”

USC to issue degrees, apology to displaced nisei students Source link USC to issue degrees, apology to displaced nisei students

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