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In Good Conscience
Supporting Japanese Americans During the Internment
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In Good Conscience
Supporting Japanese Americans During the Internment

By Shizue Seigel
2006, 308 pages, Paperback and Hardback.
Book Description from the Front Cover Flap
Comments from Back Cover
Background on the Sponsor and Author

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Book Description from the Front Cover Flap

After Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the United States was gripped by fear, anger and racial prejudice. In the name of national security, 120,000 Japanese Americans-innocent men, women and children, citizens and noncitizens alike-were soon incarcerated in American concentration camps. Not a single one was ever found guilty of espionage or sabotage.

At the time, relatively few Americans recognized that the United States government was committing a great wrong. Who had the courage to stand up for the Japanese Americans? What did they do? What price did they pay?

Author Shizue Seigel sketches vivid portraits of two dozen inspiring individuals who advocated for Japanese Americans in the media, worked in the internment camps, safeguarded their property or helped them start new lives outside the concentration camps. She draws from oral histories, historic documents and interviews to shed light on the character, backgrounds and value systems that transformed ordinary people into extraordinary advocates for justice and compassion.

As homeland security, racism and classism continue erode civil liberties in today's post-9/11 era, these stories take on a compelling new relevance. They have much to teach us about the origins of activism and the far-reaching consequences of courage.

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Comments from Back Cover

"Shizue Seigel has written profoundly moving account about extraordinary individuals who acted out of conscience when others did not. This beautiful tribute, an expression of gratitude long overdue, is another illuminating chapter in the ever-evolving story of the Japanese American internment during World War II."
- Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, author of Farewell to Manzanar and The Legend of Firehorse Woman

"IN GOOD CONSCIENCE opens a new window into race, gender, and generational relations between Japanese Americans and other Americans during the World War II Internment years. Well-written and moving accounts of unsung heroes: those who helped Japanese Americans by teaching students in the camp; by delivering bags of rice; by providing meals and jobs to students; by running hostels for returnees; by keeping alive the Buddhist dharma-and by a thousand other tasks during these times. "This book is especially relevant to readers who are searching for ways to heal and reconcile the rifts that have been drawn in post-9/11 America. In its quiet way, IN GOOD CONSCIENCE offers not only historical - but equally important - a valid moral vision of how ordinary individuals can make a difference in a world torn apart by war, racism, and inequality. The book would be especially useful in a multicultural and multiracial classroom settings. Recommended for all high school and college libraries."
- Professor Russel C. Leong, Editor, Amerasia Journal, UCLA, Asian American Studies Center

"We know of the grave injustices perpetuated on Japanese Americans but know little about the compassion and courage of those who acted against these injustices. They are deserving of our 'kansaha.' They provide a lesson and inspiration to all - that we need to stand up for principles, and against wrongdoings."
- George R. Ariyoshi, Governor of Hawaii, 1973-1986

"IN GOOD CONSCIENCE brings to light the best kind of brave, ordinary heroics. It makes your heart feel proud of what humans of conscience can do even in cruel times."
- Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart and cofounder of Spirit Rock Meditation Center

"IN GOOD CONSCIENCE is a most worthwhile effort as it focuses on the all but forgotten few outsiders who stood by the Japanese American community during their wartime ordeal. After all, Israel, while emphasizing the horrors of the Holocaust, goes out of its way to recognize "righteous gentiles," so it is surely proper that some attention be paid to the "helpful Hakujins" who publicly supported Japanese Americans, particularly those who did so in the terrible months after Pearl Harbor."
- Roger Daniels, Charles Phelps Taft Professor Emeritus of History, University of Cincinnati
Author of Prisoners Without Trial: Japanese Americans in World War II (2nd edition, 2004)

"IN GOOD CONSCIENCE is a unique and welcome addition to the literature on World War II. It tells the stories of ordinary Americans who performed extraordinary acts of principle by standing up for the constitutional rights of Japanese Americans at a time of widespread prejudice and suspicion against them. More than a heartwarming record of human decency, the book is a study of the many different possible forms of resistance to injustice and a testament to the empowering effects of taking positive action in the face of injustice."
- Greg Robinson, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Quebec at Montreal
Author of By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans

"Some of the great stories of the incarceration of Japanese Americans were never told, especially about the generosity and courage, and compassion of those non-Japanese who risked social ostracism, their careers, and reputations helping the Japanese Americans during World War II. These are their unknown stories - a fascinating and wonderful testament to the better angels in America."
- Dale Minami, lead counsel to Fred Korematsu, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for challenging the legality of the internment

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Background on the Sponsor and Author

About the sponsors. In Good Conscience was sponsored by The Kansha Project, a program of the Military Intelligence Service Association of Northern California (MIS NorCal), under the leadership of Col. Harry Fukuhara (U.S. Army, retired) and Sukeo Oji. MIS NorCal is an organization of Japanese American former internees who served as military intelligence specialists during World War II. Many of them volunteered from the very internment camps where they were unjustly incarcerated.

The Kansha Project dedicates this book to those who extended kindness to Japanese Americans and their families during the internment era.

This book was made possible by grants from the California State Library's Civil Liberties Public Education Program and by donations from the many friends of MIS NorCal.

About the author. Shizue Seigel is a third-generation Japanese American whose family was interned during World War II. She is the former editor of Nikkei Heritage, the quarterly magazine of the National Japanese American Historical Society, and former English editor for The Beam. She has written extensively for the Japanese American press.

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