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Ostracism

After World War II the nation welcomed home the Nisei soldiers as heroes. No one but their families waited for the resisters, who spent an average of two years in prison with time off for good behavior. Their wives returned to the West Coast alone after the war and had to endure the taunts and brush-offs from others in the community. Journalist James Omura said he was hounded from job to job in Denver by fellow Nisei who would whisper to employers behind his back about his wartime arrest for conspiracy; when he would enter a Denver bowling alley, other Nisei would pointedly walk out. After being told not to come back to her own church in Seattle, resister Jim Akutsu's mother took her own life.

By the time we began seeking interviews for this program, decades of isolation within their own community had taken their toll and several resisters declined to be interviewed. One offered money to keep his name out of it. One promised to appear at a 1993 ceremonial homecoming for the resisters in Los Angeles, until his wife begged him not to go.

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Impact on one wife (February 9, 1993)
2 minutes, 8 seconds
Video
Poet Lawson Inada reads a letter of regret from a resister who was unable to attend a Los Angeles ceremony to welcome the resisters back into the community.

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