Headline News

Response to Cashin' In Panelist Hoenig's Apology for Japanese American Incarceration Comments

October 3, 2014


On September 22, 2014, Fox News aired an episode of Cashin' In that included a segment on profiling, during which guest panelist Jonathan Hoenig stated, "The last war this country won, we put Japanese-Americans in internment camps, we dropped nuclear bombs on residential city centers. So, yes, profiling would be at least a good start."

Several Asian American Pacific Islander groups, including the Japanese American Citizens League, responded with statements demanding an apology from Hoenig and Fox News. 

On Saturday, September 27, Hoenig appeared again on Cashin' In to issue an apology for his earlier comments, though he believed they were misinterpreted. He elaborated, "My point was to illustrate that profiling potential threats based on ideology could be a needed safeguard, and in the context of wartime, I believe being able to identify an enemy's ideology, and be on the alert for it, is the first step to actually achieving peace."

Priscilla Ouchida, Executive Director of the JACL, responded that Hoenig's apology "did not address the root issue which is that there was not a single finding of wrongdoing or any arrest by a Japanese American during World War II, and detention without a finding of wrongdoing or a charge of a crime is just as wrong today as it was then.


The National Council of Asian Pacific Islanders (NCAPA) also found Hoenig's apology "not good enough," adding, "[his] continued support for the use of religious profiling...reinforces negative perceptions about Muslim Americans." 

Jasjit Singh, Executive Director of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), agreed, adding, "By sending the message that groups of Americans, due to their race, religion, national origin, or other background are inherently suspicious, Fox News is fostering an environment of fear, distrust, and ultimately hate."



APAMC Promotes Shows Featuring Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

September 24, 2014


The Asian Pacific American Media Coalition (APAMC) is excited to highlight television shows in the upcoming 2014-2015 season that prominently feature Asian American and Pacific Islander talent.  Premiering next week are the third season of The Mindy Project on FOX, Stalker starring Maggie Q on CBS, and Selfie starring John Cho on ABC.  And stay tuned later in the season for ABC's mid-season family sitcom Fresh Off the Boat, which centers around a Chinese American family, and whose trailer made a big splash at the 2014 JACL Convention!


For APAMC's full press release, and for clips and social media related to these shows, click here.



Statement in Response to Fox News Discussion on Profiling

September 23, 2014


The notion that America's successful prosecution of World War II was attributable to Japanese American incarceration was offered in a discussion on Fox News' Cashin' In moderated by Eric Bolling.  The discussion focused on whether there is a need to profile Muslims.

One guest, Jonathan Hoenig said, "We should have been profiling on September 12, 2001.  Let's take a trip down memory lane here.  The last war this country won, we put Japanese Americans in internment camps; we dropped nuclear bombs on residential city centers.  So, yes, profiling would be at least a good start.  It's not on skin color, however, it's on ideology - Muslim, Islamist, jihadist..."

The JACL rejects the absurd extreme of profiling that would lead to mass incarceration as suggested by Hoenig's statement.  The policy adopted by the Bush Administration to avoid the use of profiling as anathema to our civil liberties values continues today.  It is a policy that must be maintained despite temptations to give in to the fear and hysteria that some would create about Muslims in America.

During World War II, our country was led to believe that Japanese Americans were to be feared and thereby posed a security risk.  This belief led to the dire consequences of establishing and operating American concentration camps based on the racial profiling of a group of people.  Our system of government was established with important guiding principles that do not allow for the selective treatment of individual groups of Americans.  It is a lesson we learned in the aftermath of World War II that must be repeated whenever the suggestion of disparate treatment of vulnerable groups arise.


JACL submitted a letter to Fox Chairman Roger Ailes in response to this incident.  The letter may be viewed here.



Annual Meetings with ABC and CBS Filled with Good News for AAPIs

September 16, 2014



Los Angeles, CA - ABC and CBS rolled out their fall programming last week in meetings with JACL Executive Director Priscilla Ouchida and Daniel Mayeda, Co-Chairs of the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition (APAMC).  The Coalition was founded in 1999 as part of a national multi-ethnic coalition to increase diversity both in front of and behind the camera.

Paul Lee, President of ABC Entertainment Group, announced that the network's new programming will include "Fresh Off the Boat," a sit-com based on Eddie Huang's memoir and featuring an Asian American family.  The show is the first Asian American prime-time series in 20 years since Margaret Cho's "All American Girl."  A preview of the show was shown at the San Jose National JACL Convention, and was well-received.  Other programs include "Selfie" starring John Cho in a comedy roughly based on "My Fair Lady."  Setting a historic precedent, ABC is rolling out a diverse schedule that includes "Black-ish,"an African-American sitcom, and "Christela," a Latina comedy.

Nina Tassler, Chairman of CBS Entertainment, unveiled "Stalker," an intense crime drama starring Maggie Q.  Stalker will be the second CBS series to start an Asian American female ("Elementary" stars Lucy Liu).  A clip from "Stalker" was also shared at the 2014 National JACL  Convention. CBS' 2014-15 season will showcase 15 Asian American Pacific Islander regulars, the most of the four major networks.  Writers for "Hawaii  Five-O," which was renewed for the season, will be recognized at this year's JACL Salute to Champions Gala for the Honouliuli episode which aired in December 2013.

"Now that networks are making a commitment to Asian American programming, it is important the community support the shows through viewership," said Ouchida.  "This is a breakthrough season for Asian Americans which are the fastest growing population in the United States."



JACL Submits Comments to Establish a Process for Native Hawaiian Recognition

August 25, 2014


The Japanese American Citizens League submitted comments in support of a proposed rule that will pave the way for federal recognition of Native Hawaiians. The proposed rule will clarify the legal status of Native Hawaiians by establishing a process by which Native Hawaiians would have a government-to-government status similar to what exists for over 560 American Indian and Alaska Native governments.

The comments extend JACL's historical support of Native Hawaiian rights. In 1984, the JACL adopted a resolution in support of sovereignty for the indigenous people of Hawaii; in 1986, the JACL reaffirmed its support of Hawaii's indigenous people; and in 1992, the JACL affirmed its support for the restoration of human, civil property and sovereign rights of Native Hawaiians. The JACL also supported federal recognition contained in the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act authored by Senator Daniel Akaka.

The JACL comments, on view here, were drafted with the counsel of the Honolulu Chapter.



JACL Addresses Net Neutrality Statement in Webinar

August 19, 2014


Miss last night's webinar, featuring Dr. Nicol Turner-Lee, Vice President and Chief Research and Policy Officer of the Minority Media & Telecom Council?  View Dr. Turner-Lee's PowerPoint, or watch the recording of the webinar itself here for a better understanding of JACL's stance towards net neutrality, Title II, and Section 706:




JACL Joins Other AAPI Organizations on Amicus Brief for Bahlul v. United States

August 18, 2014


Washington, D.C. - JACL joined an amicus brief in the case of Bahlul v. United States, as one of several supporting Asian American/Pacific Islander organizations.  The brief, which will be submitted in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, makes a doctrinal and historical argument that the Military Commissions Act used to prosecute Guantanamo detainees violates equal protection because it creates a separate and inferior system of criminal justice exclusively reserved for non-citizens.  It draws historical parallels to the discriminatory policies that led to the internment of Japanese Americans and other shameful episodes in American history.

JACL joined a nearly-identical amicus brief as the lead amicus two years ago in Hamdan v. United States (Hamdan II).  The court did not reach the equal protection issue in that case because it decided the case on other grounds, but the D.C. Circuit has now indicated it will reach that issue in the Bahlul case.  The D.C. Circuit issued an en banc opinion on July 14, affirming Bahlul's conspiracy conviction against an ex post facto challenge, but remanding the remaining issues - including the equal protection challenge - to the original panel.



JACL Statement on HBO Series, "Jonah from Tonga"

August 1, 2014


The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) is disturbed by HBO's decision to air a new Australian "mockumentary" comedy series, "Jonah from Tonga." In the series, a white Australian actor, Chris Lilley, performs in brown makeup and a wig to depict Jonah, a young Tongan teen living in Australia.  Jonah and his Tongan peers are portrayed as disrespectful, aggressive, and delinquent.  Numerous scenes in the series mock or misrepresent Tongan culture and customs.


Although styled as a comedy, there is nothing clever or funny about the harmful and offensive stereotypes perpetuated by "Jonah from Tonga."  Too often, bigotry and racism are employed in the pursuit of humor; when done correctly, satire can be a powerful weapon for revealing and skewering the irrationality and absurdity of the racist ideas.  Yet the juvenile and crude characterizations in "Jonah from Tonga" only reveal Lilley's deep ignorance and disrespect for the Tongan people.


Whether the content of this series is acceptable elsewhere, it is an affront to the sensibilities of American audiences who understand that honoring diversity implies a healthy respect for the dignity of all cultures.  The JACL is disturbed that HBO would condone such a racist and offensive show and urges HBO to pull "Jonah from Tonga" from its lineup.



JACL Objects to Usage of Yellowface and Stereotypes in Seattle Production of The Mikado

July 16, 2014

Washington, D.C. - As the oldest and the largest Asian American civil rights organization in the United States, the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) objects to the use of yellowface and stereotypes in the comic opera The Mikado and condemns the decision to stage a play with such offensive rhetoric to all Asian Americans.

The Mikado, written by Gilbert & Sullivan, is currently playing at The Bagley Wright Theatre in Seattle, WA. Set in Japan, the play is being performed by an amateur troupe of 40 White actors (including two Latinos).

The term yellowface describes an inappropriate portrayal of an Asian character, similar to the practice of blackface. To be more specific, a combination of stereotypical makeup, dress, customs, and behaviors are used that inaccurately and offensively portray Asians.

Although The Mikado was written in the 19th century as a satire poking fun at the British fascination with Japan, the racist portrayal of Japanese people in this play is extremely disrespectful and misleading to those who are not familiar with Japanese culture.  As such, the staging of this play furthers those demeaning stereotypes of Asian Americans in this day and age.

There is nothing timely or clever about the use of these outdated stereotypes and The Mikado should stop playing immediately.



JACL Supports Senate Hearing on Voting Rights Amendment Act

June 25, 2014

Washington, D.C. - The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) joined other civil rights organizations yesterday on Capitol Hill to urge Congress to support the passage of the Voting Rights Amendment Act (VRAA).  Staff from JACL National attended a crowded Senate Judiciary Committee hearing and the following rally outside the Capitol.

JACL submitted a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, noting the importance of the vote for minorities.  Minorities can ensure that they are given fair and just treatment, by electing representatives who are responsive to their concerns.  Few government representatives were sympathetic towards the plight of the Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II, but history may have taken a different path if Issei had been permitted to become naturalized U.S. citizens and vote for delegates who would defend their rights.  JACL supports the VRAA because we believe that all Americans should be able to participate in our political process, regardless of skin color or English language abilities.

The passage of the VRAA would reinstate and strengthen provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that were struck down through the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County v. Holder exactly a year ago yesterday.  The Supreme Court's ruling deemed the formulas for mandatory pre-clearance of certain regions outdated.  Section 5 of the VRAA would restore the pre-clearance protections removed by the Supreme Court.  These protections demanded that jurisdictions (states or counties) with histories of voting discrimination be required to prove to the U.S. Department of Justice that any changes in voting laws or practices would not have a discriminatory impact on minorities.

The VRAA is critical to protecting voting rights for minorities before elections even occur, preventing costly litigation and allowing voters to freely elect the candidates they want to represent them.  JACL hopes that the House of Representatives will soon follow the Senate's lead and hold a hearing for this important piece of legislation.



JACL Mourns Passing of Grayce Uyehara

June 25, 2014


During her tenure as the executive director of the JACL Legislative Education Committee (JACL-LEC), Grayce Uyehara was known for her "Action Alerts" sent to AJCL chapters and others, which provided updates on the status of the Redress campaign, and more importantly, imparted upbeat inspiration to continuously motivate all who participated in the effort to successfully seek remedies for the injustice of the incarceration.


Grayce, 94, passed away on June 22, following a brief illness at Virtua Memorial Hospital in Mount Holly, New Jersey.


Born Grayce Kaneda on July 4, 1919, in Stockton, California, Grayce and her family were incarcerated at the Stockton Assembly Center and the Rohwer concentration camp.  A lifelong member of the JACL, Grayce served in leadership positions at all levels of the organization, including as president of the Philadelphia chapter and governor of the Eastern District Council, in addition to service on national JACL committees.


In 1985, Grayce was appointed as the executive director of the JACL-LEC, which was established to provide lobbying for the final phases of the Redress campaign.  Upon her appointment, Grayce said, "You have my commitment to redress and willingness to do the best I can.  I ask for your support and patience... I do think that if the JACL wants redress... we have a good chance of reaching our goal."


Grayce became a catalyzing force in organizing the JACL effort by encouraging participation at all levels of the organization, including the LEC Board of Directors, JACL governors, JACL Redress coordinators, JACL staff, and the JACL membership.


During the final phase of the Redress campaign to get President Ronald Reagan to sign the bill, Grayce devised a plan to mobilize grassroots support by issuing her Action Alerts to inundate the White House in a letter writing campaign.  She declared, "The time has come to mount a massive campaign to urge the President..."  In her usual manner, Grayce set high expectations requesting 50,000 letters and 5,000 mailgrams.


Following the success of the Redress campaign, Grayce became the chairperson of the JACL Legacy Fund campaign that raised over $5 million to be used to support JACL programs.


The JACL will remember Grayce Uyehara for her dedication and persistence in pursuing issues of social justice for all Americans.  During a critical time for the Japanese American community, Grayce responded by using her enthusiasm and tenacity to successfully guide a campaign to secure Redress legislation.  And, as a fixture at JACL events, she served as a model of leadership for succeeding generations of Japanese Americans.


Grayce is survived by her husband, Hiroshi; sons Paul, Christopher, and Laurence; daughter Lisa; a brother, a sister, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.



Historic Wintersburg Named One of "Most Endangered Historic Places" in USA

June 24, 2014


Washington, D.C. - Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach, California, has been selected as one of the 2014 America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


Historic Wintersburg, which currently contains six extant pioneer structures and open farmland, is one of the only surviving Japanese-owned properties acquired in California before the passage of anti-Japanese "alien land laws" in 1913 and 1920.  The structures, and the three-generation narrative of the Furata family that they trce, provide a testament to the resilience of Japanese immigrants to the United States in the early 20th century, in spite of the hardships and discriminatoin that they faced, as well as rare insights into Japanese American daily community life and spirituality in the era before World War II.


Priscilla Ouchida, Executive Director of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), stated, "Wintersburg is an unique resource that captures the story of the everyday lives of Asian immigrants.  Because of the impact of the Alien Land Act, the loss of property during the forced imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and redevelopment projects, there are very few physical structures that represent early Asian American history.  Wintersburg is an irreplaceable national treasure which offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to preserve an important part of the American story."


The property is currently owned by Rainbow Environmental Services (Rainbow), a waste transfer company.  Although the JACL and other community organizations opposed a petition by the company to raze the site, the Huntington Beach City Council voted 4-3 in November 2013 to certify an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), wihch rezones the property from residential to commercial/industrial.  The Council also approved a Statement of Overriding Consideration - the action which allows demolition of all six structures.  Although Rainbow agreed to provide preservationists until mid-2015 to find solutions to save the historic property, demolition of the site remains a possibility.


The America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list spotlights important examples of the nation's architectural, cultural, and natural heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreplaceable damage.  More than 250 sites have been on the list over its 27-year history, and in that time, only a handful of listed sites have been lost.



From the JACL Digest: "JACL Joins Other AAPI Organizations to Reveal Congressional Comprehensive Immigration Reform Score Card"

June 10 - June 17, 2014


Washington, D.C. - JACL National is collaborating with OCA National - Asian Pacific American Advocates, the National Korean American Service & Educatoin Consortium (NAKASEC), and the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) on the creatoin of a score card that "grades" all 435 members of the House of Representatives, based on their voting record on comprehensive immigration reform (CIR).  The score card aims to allow voters - and especially Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters - to identify more clearly the voting records of their Congresspeople on CIR.

Last Tuesday, a preliminary press conference was held at Cannon House Office Building to announce the AAPI CIR score card.  Speaking at the press conference were Priscilla Ouchida (JACL executive director), Ginny Gong (former OCA National president), DJ Yoon (NAKASEC executive director), and Ben Monterroso (Mi Familia Vota Education Fund executive director).  The speakers discussed the impact of CIR on the AAPI community, as well as potential opportunities for coordination between the AAPI and Latino communities to press Congress to actualize CIR.


The final score card is expected to be released in late July 2014.  Please stay tuned for further social media announcements and updates.


Click here for more from this edition of the JACL weekly Digest.



From the JACL Digest: "The Art of Gaman to Open in July in Bellevue, Washington State"

June 3 - June 9, 2014

Bellevue, WA - The Art of Gaman showcases more than 120 artifacts made by Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II. It explores the creativity and ingenuity of these internees, as well as the concept of gaman, a Japanese expression for "enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity." Works, ranging from tools, everyday objects, woodcarvings, paintings, furniture, toys, and more, are presented with historical context through photographs, documents, and films.

All members of the Japanese American Citizens League will receive $2 off the admission price if they show their JACL membership card. Members are also encouraged to upgrade to the Thousand Club, Century Club, or Millennium Club. When you upgrade before June 25th, you will receive a complimentary copy of The Art of Gaman book and an invitation to The Art of Gaman VIP pre-opening reception. 

The Art of Gaman originally debuted at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art in San Francisco and has already been viewed by nearly half a million people. The Art of Gaman was also at the Smithsonian Renwick Gallery from March 5, 2010 - January 30, 2011. The display at BAM marks the exhibition's much-anticipated return to the U.S. after its recent tour in Japan. Most of the objects on view are on loan from former internees or their families, but The Art of Gaman also includes works by renowned artists such as Ruth Asawa, Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani, Chiura Obata, and Henry Sugimoto.

Soon after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, all ethnic Japanese on the West Coast-more than two-thirds of whom were American citizens by birth-were ordered to leave their homes and forced into ten inland camps. The first group to be interned was 226 Japanese Americans living on Bainbridge Island. Given only a few days' notice, they departed by ferry on March 30, 1942. Only 150 returned to the island after the war ended.

While in these bleak camps, many of the internees used scraps and found materials to make furniture and other objects to beautify their surroundings. The act of creation became essential for both comfort and emotional survival. A dark, yet important chapter in American history, The Art of Gaman is a moving display of the perseverance, resourcefulness, and human spirit of these internees.

The exhibition is curated by Delphine Hirasuna, a third-generation Japanese-American. Hirasuna was organizing family belongings after her mother's death when she found a hand-painted bird pin, stashed away in an old wooden box. It was this pin that inspired Hirasuna's 2005 book, The Art of Gaman, and eventually led to the exhibition. Hirasuna will be giving a curator talk at Bellevue Arts Museum on July 3 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

The Art of Gaman is organized by curator Delphine Hirasuna, with advisory support from the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Japanese American Citizens League. The local presentation of this exhibition is curated by Stefano Catalani.

The Art of Gaman: Arts & Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942-1946
will be shown from July 3 - October 14, 2014, at the Bellevue Arts Museum in Washington State.

Click here for more from this edition of the JACL weekly Digest.

From the Digest: "JACL Issues Response to 'Colbert Report' Controversy"

April 1 - April 7, 2014


JACL issued a version of the following statement on Wednesday, April 2, 2014.

In a recent episode of "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central, Stephen Colbert aired a segment that addressed the controversy surrounding Washington Redskins' owner Dan Snyder. Snyder, who has already been under fire for refusing to change his team's name that uses a racial slur, exacerbated his offense by creating a new foundation for Native Americans that continues to feature the slur (Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation). Colbert, like many others, chose to poke fun at the tone-deaf nature of Snyder's gesture.

In his segment, Colbert reprised a stereotypical Asian character he has used in past shows to announce the creation of the "Ching-Chong Ding Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever." Colbert's depiction of this "mascot" of his show was an amalgam of various offensive Asian American stereotypes.


On Monday, Colbert responded to the backlash generated by his segment from the Asian American community. Colbert touted his sensitivity towards the Asian American community, citing the knowledge he gained from Michelle Malkin's In Defense of Internment, a work that has been widely discredited for its historical distortions and specious conclusions that justified the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans.  


Much of the humor on "The Colbert Report" is based on the premise of the outrageous character played by Stephen Colbert, a caricature of a racist, sexist, over-the-top right-wing conservative media personality. Yet too often, the guise of humor and satire are used to absolve individuals of all responsibility when their humor misses its mark and becomes offensive.  


The JACL objects to Colbert's use of racist jokes to make a larger point about bigotry and ignorance. There is much to criticize around Dan Snyder's racial insensitivity and the enormous amount of privilege he wields in actively perpetuating the use of a racial slur. However, there is nothing clever or humorous about resorting to tired, racist stereotypes that target another marginalized group in order to make this point.

Click here for more from this edition of the weekly JACL Digest.


From the Digest: "JACL Fasts in Solidarity for Immigration Reform"

March 19 - March 24, 2014


Washington, D.C. - JACL joins with communities across the country in the "Fast for Families Across America" bus tour, a national campaign calling on the House of Representatives to pass commonsense immigration reform this year. The campaign launched on February 24, 2014, from Los Angeles City Hall with two buses traveling along a Northern and Southern route, bringing together community members, leaders and advocates, in more than 100 congressional districts, to fast for reuniting families that are separated by outdated immigration laws and for a path to citizenship.


Priscilla Ouchida will be joining the tour on Saturday, March 29th at Xavier University (Xavier Yard) at 1:00 p.m. in Cincinnati, Ohio, and fasting in solidarity with fellow JACL members and advocates across the nation.   


Join JACL in our social media campaign for commonsense immigration reform from March 27th - April 9th and urge Congress to act.


  1. Click here to download, print, and fill out a sign.
  2. Upload a photo of you with your completed sign to Facebook.com/JACLNational or Twitter using: #ImmigrationReform #Fast4Families @JACL_DC.
  3. Take the pledge to fast on Saturday, March 29 with JACL members and advocates across America by clicking here.

"My grandfather died before he could realize his dream of becoming an United States citizen. Immigration laws barred his family from joining him in this country. Today, there are many just like him who have been waiting for decades for citizenship and family reunification," said Priscilla Ouchida.


To see if a bus tour is traveling through your city, please click here. For more information about Fast for Families, visit fast4families.org.


Click here for more from this edition of the weekly JACL Digest.

Applications for Legacy Fund Grants Now Available

February 3, 2014

The Legacy Fund Grants Committee Co-Chairs, Janice Faden and Jane Katsuyama are pleased to announce that the application process is now open for the 2014 Grants program.  All JACL chapters in good standing, District Councils, and members of the National Youth/Student Council are eligible to apply for a grant.* Completed and signed applications must be either postmarked by April 1, 2014, if delivered by hard copy via surface mail, or time stamped and received by midnight (PST) April 1, 2014, if submitted electronically. Application forms and instructions can be accessed by following the link below.

Click here for application and instructions.

Applications for JACL/OCA Washington, D.C. Leadership Summit 2014 Available

The Washington DC Leadership Summit is an annual program of the JACL in partnership with OCA National and will be held on March 8-11, 2014. This four-day conference provides an opportunity for emerging leaders of all ages to learn firsthand about current national public policy issues facing our communities. 

Click here for more information.

JACL Announces Launch of the KAKEHASHI Project:
The Bridge for Tomorrow Program

December 27, 2013

The JACL is now accepting applications for the "KAKEHASHI Project:  The Bridge for Tomorrow" program.  Funded by the Japan - U.S. Educational Commission (Fulbright Japan) and co-organized by the Japan Foundation and the Laurasian Institution in the U.S., the KAKEHASHI Project is short-term study tour for undergraduate and graduate students ages 18 - 25 years old.   Promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan, the program is designed to heighten potential interest in Japan and increase the number of overseas visitors to the country.  To learn more about the program and how to apply, click here.


JACL Statement on Katy Perry Performance

November 27, 2013

The JACL respects the space needed by performance artists to apply their creativity.  However, this space does not extend to the perpetuation of racial stereotypes that hold the potential for harm.  The thoughtless costuming and dance routines by Katy Perry played carelessly with stereotypes in an attempt to create a Japanese aesthetic.  The JACL believes it is important for all who are involved in entertainment production to understand that while audience approval is important, caution must also be the byword to avoid denigrating and marginalizing a portion of that viewership.

Click here to read the full statement.

2014 National JACL Scholarship Applications Now Available

JACL announces its National Scholarship and Awards Program for the 2014 academic year. The JACL annually offers approximately 30 college scholarships for students who are incoming college freshmen, undergraduates and graduates, and those specializing in law and the creative/performing arts. There is also a scholarship for those in need of financial assistance in this era of rising tuition costs. JACL, in partnership with Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo, also offers a U.S.-Japan Scholarship for an incoming college junior who wishes to study in Japan. 

Click here for more information. Click here for information on the Meiji Gakuin University Scholarship.

JACL Now Accepting Applications for the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program Internship

The application for the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program Part-Time Project Internship Position in Seattle, Washington and Los Angeles, California is now open.

Funded by the Department of Interior, National Park Service (NPS) through the Japanese American Confinement Site (JACS) grant program, Passing the Legacy Down: Youth Interpretations of Confinement Site in the Western Untied States focuses on the importance of preservation, interpretation and relevance of the Confinement Sites, and the incarceration of Americans of Japanese ancestry, to civil and human rights today.

The JACL is seeking applicants for two part-time Project Intern positions to help develop and implement the program through JACL regional offices located in Seattle and Los Angeles.  The Project Interns will gain valuable hands–on experience in the development of a program that supports and promotes community engagement, advocacy and public education.  

 Click here to download the job description.

Applications are due by November 1, 2013.  Questions regarding the application process or position may be directed to JACS@jacl.org or by calling PNW District office at (206) 623-5088.

JACL Hosting National Gala on October 10

The JACL will host its annual National JACL Gala Awards Dinner, "A Salute to Champions," in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at the Capital Hilton (1001 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20036).

This year we celebrate "Champions of Diversity," and recognize individuals and organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to promoting diversity in their respective field or industry.  The JACL is pleased present the "Salute to Champions" Award to Jonathan B. Jarvis-Director, National Park Services; Daphne Kwok; and Toyota.  We will also recognize the leadership of Congressman Mike Honda and present Southwest Airlines with our Corporate Partner Award.

There will be a reception at 6:00pm and the dinner and program will begin at 7:00pm.  Individual tickets are available for $200 ($150 for non-profits) and Tables of Tens can be reserved at $2,000 ($1,500 for non-profits).  To purchase tickets online, please go to:  https://2013jaclgala.eventbrite.com.

There are also sponsorship and advertising opportunities.  For more information, please click here or contact the JACL DC office at gala@jacl.org or(202) 223-1240.

Click here for more information.

JACL Now Accepting Applications for Daniel K. Inouye Fellowship

August 7, 2013

Washington, D.C. - The application for the 2013-2014 Daniel K. Inouye Fellowship position in the Washington, D.C. office of the JACL is now available. Named after the late Honorable Daniel K. Inouye, former Sentor from Hawaii and Presidential Pro Tempore of the Senate, this fellowship focuses on public policy advocacy in the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.

Click here for more information.

Call for Teaching Activities!

Submission deadline: July 15, 2013

The National Education Committee (NEC) invites teachers, scholars, and community members to share effective educational activities for the new edition of the JACL’s Curriculum Guide. The curriculum guide is a comprehensive tool that helps teachers educate students about Japanese American history, experiences, and contemporary issues. The JACL is in the process of updating its curriculum guide and would like to expand its collection of creative, engaging, and effective teaching activities.

Click here for more information.

JACL National Youth/Student Council Concludes Spring 2013 Youth Leadership Summit

May 30, 2013

San Francisco, CA — The JACL National Youth/Student Council (NY/SC) hosted its sixth youth leadership summit in San Francisco on May 18, 2013. The one-day summit, “Empowering Communities: A Youth Focus on Community Building,” created a space for students and young professionals to network, gain new skills in communication, and learn best practices in creating community partnerships. With nearly 40 registered participants, the summit brought together a diverse group of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community leaders from Northern California.

Click here for more information.

JACL Accepting Applications for Mineta Fellowship

Washington, D.C.- The Norman Y. Mineta Fellowship position in the Washington, D.C. office of the JACL is now open and due by Friday, June 7, 2013.  Named after the Honorable Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, former Secretary of Transportation and former Secretary of Commerce, this fellowship focuses on public policy advocacy in the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.

Click here for more information.

Southwest Airlines offering special discount for 2013 JACL National Convention

Washington, D.C.-  Southwest Airlines® is the Official Airline of the 2013 JACL National Convention in Washington, D.C., where we will be celebrating the 25-year anniversary of the signing of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 (the Redress Bill).  The Convention will be held from Wednesday, July 24 through Friday, July 26, at the Renaissance Hotel (999 Ninth Street, N.W.) in downtown Washington, D.C.
Southwest Airlines® is proud to be the Official Airline of JACL and to offer a 15% special discount to those traveling to/from Baltimore/Washington (BWI), Washington DC Dulles (IAD), and Reagan (DCA) airports to/from all scheduled Southwest Airlines service between 7/22/13 and 7/30/13 (blackout date applies on 7/28/13).

Click here for more information.

JACL Announces the Opening of John Moy & Southwest Airlines Internship

April 17, 2013

The John Moy & Southwest Internship provides current college students and recent graduates the opportunity to work in the Washington, D.C. office of the JACL. The internship is a 10-week program that starts in mid-May and runs through the end of July. Duties and responsibilities will include assisting in research and coordination on public policy initiatives, administrative tasks, and the preparing for the 2013 JACL National Convention. Attendance of the Convention in Washington, D.C. on July 24-26 is mandatory. A stipend will be provided for the 10-week period.


Applicants must be a JACL member. All applications must be submitted to inouyefellow@jacl.org by Monday, May 6, 2013. For more information, please contact the DC office.

Click here for application.

JACL NY/SC Announces Youth Delegate Campaign

April 11, 2013

San Francisco, CA - The NY/SC has recently announced the launch of the 2013 Youth Delegate Campaign for the JACL National Convention in Washington, D.C. on July 24-26, 2013. The purpose of this campaign is to ensure greater representation of students and young professionals at the annual conventions, while providing them with the tools and training necessary to become active contributors and advocates for the organization. In support of this campaign, chapters are encouraged to name a youth member as one of their delegates for the upcoming convention.

Click here for more information.

JACL Announces the Opening of Online Registration for the 2013 JACL National Convention

Washington, D.C. - This year's JACL Convention brings headline events that will engage new delegates and veteran delegates alike. And with Washington, D.C. as this year's host city, there are a variety of options around historical sites and entertainment for delegates, boosters, friends, and family. This Convention will honor the 25th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act, with the theme "Justice for All" capturing the spirit of the activities and events.

Online registration for the 2013 JACL National Convention is now open!! Online registration is recommended and encouraged; when registering online, the only payment option accepted is credit card.

Click here to access the 2013 Convention's Registration Webpage for more information

JACL Announces Opening of the Mike M. Masaoka Congressional Fellowship Application

Washington, D.C.- The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the nation's oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization, is now accepting applications for the 2013-2014 JACL Mike M. Masaoka Congressional Fellowship.

The Mike M. Masaoka Fellowship Fund was established in 1988 to honor Mike M. Masaoka for a lifetime of public service to the JACL and the nation. Masaoka was the JACL's national secretary, field executive, national legislative director of the JACL's Anti-Discrimination Committee, and the JACL Washington, D.C. Representative. He worked tirelessly to advance the cause of Japanese Americans during difficult times in our history. He was instrumental in the formation of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and for the abolition of many discriminatory laws against Asian Americans. Mike M. Masaoka passed away in 1991.

The Masaoka Fellowship is designed to develop leaders for public service, particularly at the national level. The JACL Masaoka Fellow will be placed in the Washington, D.C. Congressional office of a member of the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate for a minimum period of six months. The Masaoka Fellowship provides the opportunity to experience being part of the process that enables a Member of Congress to serve not only his or her own district, but the entire country as a legislator.

Click here to read more

JACL Announces 4-Day Leadership Program for Bay Area High School Students

San Francisco, CA -- The JACL, in collaboration with the San Francisco Bay Area Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Tule Lake Committee, will be sponsoring a program whose goal is to bridge communities and build partnerships of understanding.   Titled “Bridging Communities:  Preserving the Legacy,” the program is funded by the National Park Service Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) Grant Program. 

Click here to read more.

Action Alert! 
JACL Members:  Contact Your Member of Congress
Urge Them to Support a Letter Initiated by U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley to Track Hate Crimes Against Sikh, Hindu and Arab Americans

Washington, D.C. - Currently, a letter is circulating in Congress requesting that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) track hate crimes against Sikh, Hindu, and Arab Americans. Although the FBI has various categories to track hate crimes, a category for crimes directed at these three communities does not currently exist on the tracking form, and as a result many crimes may be incorrectly categorized as "anti-Muslim." It is imperative that these categories are added to the tracking form in order to correctly address the problem and implement measures to protect these communities. As the massacre at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek has shown, hate crimes against Sikhs, Hindus, and Arab Americans is a severe issue and should be treated accordingly.

JACL strongly urges members to send a letter to their local member of Congress to sign on to this letter to the FBI Criminal Justice Information Service's Advisory Policy Board and advocate for the FBI to collect data on hate crimes committed against Sikh, Hindu, and Arab Americans.

A sample letter can be found by clicking here.


2013 JACL National Convention Materials Now Available!

Washington, D.C. - Registration and Sponsorship Materials for the 2013 JACL National Convention are now available for download! Check out all the insider information from the 2013 Convention Committee!

Inside the Registration and Sponsorship Materials you'll find schedule and hotel information, as well as the advertising, sponsorship, exhibit, and registration forms. (Online registration will be available beginning March) With the convention only 5 months away, don't wait to plan your trip to the Nation's Capitol!

Click here to go to the 2013 JACL National Convention webpages

Click on the images below to download the PDFs


The JACL Legacy Fund Grants Committee Opens the 2013 Grant Application Process

January 25, 2013

San Francisco -- Chapters, Districts and the National Youth/Student Council (NY/SC) may now apply for a 2013 Legacy Grant.  Eligible entities may submit more than one grant and may also apply with another eligible chapter, district or the NY/SC.  The maximum amount for each grant, including those awarded to joint applicants, is $3,000.  Partial grants may also be awarded.  Grant awardees will be announced at the 44th National Convention in Washington, DC this summer in July. The deadline for applications is April 24, 2013.

Click here to read more.

JACL Announces San Francisco High School Program to Bridge and Build Communities

December 6, 2012

San Francisco -- The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), in collaboration with the San Francisco Bay Area Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Tule Lake Committee, will be sponsoring a program whose goal is to bridge communities and build partnerships of understanding. Titled “Bridging Communities: Preserving the Legacy,” the program is funded by the National Park Service Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) Grant Program.

Click here to read more.

JACL Announces the 2013 Collegiate Leadership Conference

December 6, 2012

The JACL is now accepting applications for the 2013 Collegiate Leadership Conference, which will be held on March 15-18, 2013, in Washington, D.C. The Collegiate Leadership Conference is an intensive three-day leadership development program that introduces Asian Pacific American student leaders to the national policy-making arena. Applications are due on Friday, January 25, 2013.

Click here for more information.

JACL Works to Pass Marriage Equality Ballot Initiatives

[Update November 7, 2012]
Ballot initiatives in Washington, Maine, and Maryland have legalized same-sex marriage; Minnesota has voted down the amendment to define marriage as being a union solely between a man and a woman.

(Heather Villanueva, Rachel DeCruz (Seattle King-County NAACP Board Member), Kiku Hayashi (Seattle-JACL Board Member) at an event supporting the legalizatin of same-sex marriage)

(Original Digest Article, Week of October 8-12; abriged preview)

Seattle, WA - On the ballot in the state of Washington this year is Referendum 74, a measure which will grant marriage rights for same-sex couples. A bill legalizing same-sex marriage was passed by state lawmakers in Olympia and signed into law by outgoing Gov. Chris Gregoire in February. The law was slated to take effect earlier in the year, but implementation was delayed by gay marriage opponents, who submitted more than double the required number of signatures to trigger a statewide vote in November.

The Seattle Chapter of JACL has supported the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington since November 2011, when board members voted unanimously to endorse the Washington United for Marriage organization, a coalition comprised of individuals, businesses, unions, churches, and civil rights organizations. As Bill Tashima, President of Seattle JACL states, "We believe that like the Issei when the Alien Land laws were repealed and like the Nisei when WWII Redress and an apology from the government was issued, the freedom to marry in Washington will permit our gay and lesbian friends, sons, daughters, uncles, aunts, cousins, and neighbors to be complete and whole as citizens of our state." JACL strongly encourages members to support the measure in Washington and the similar measures in Maine, Maryland, and Minnesota.

Click here to read the full article

JACL and OCA Announce 2013 DC Leadership Summit

Washington, D.C.- The 2013 JACL/OCA Leadership Summit will be on Saturday, March 16 through Tuesday, March 19, 2013.

The 2013 JACL/OCA Leadership Summit is a joint program organized by the Japanese American Citizens League and OCA, the second largest Asian Pacific American civil rights organization in the United States. This four-day conference provides an opportunity for thirty emerging leaders of the JACL and OCA to learn firsthand about current national public policy issues facing our communities.


This year, the JACL will only offer online applications. Applications must be received by January 20, 2013. Each JACL District has a separate application. Please make sure to fill out your district's application.

Click here to access the 2013 Leadership Summit webpage for application links and further information.


JACL Statement on the Musical Allegiance

(From left to right: VP-Public Affairs Craig Tomiyoshi, Michael Kurima, George Takei, Executive Director Priscilla Ouchida)

September 19, 2012

San Diego, CA - JACL commends the producers and writers of Allegiance, a new American musical that premiered on September 19, for promoting an increased awareness and interest in the Japanese American experience during World War II. Check this page for our official statement. Also available on the page are historically accurate documents regarding JACL and the Japanese American experience.

JACL Provides Testimony for Senate Hearing on Hate Crimes and Domestic Extremism

(Photo via SAALT)

September 19, 2012

Washington, D.C. - JACL submitted written testimony today to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on The Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights at a hearing on hate crimes and the threat of domestic extremism. The hearing was spurred, in part, by the recent tragedy in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, where a gunman with ties to a white supremacist organization killed six people at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin.

Click here to read more.

JACL and OCA Unite to Support the Sikh Community

August 10, 2012

Washington, D.C. - The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and OCA have established a joint rund to raise money to support the victims of the mass shooting at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin. Contributions to the fund will be used to support the victims of the shooting, the injured officer and their families.

Click Here for More Information



and Political


July 19, 2012 - A congressional race in New York reminds us we shouldn't become complacent about racism.  Nate Shinagawa, the Democratic nominee in New York's 23rd congressional district was the recent target of a racist attack by WYSL radio hosts Bill Nojay and Bob Savage.  Photo via Ithaca Journal


Click here to read more

Photo Credit:  Mark L. Dodge    

Newly Elected Officers Sworn In During National JACL Convention

July 17, 2012

Washington, D.C. - The Japanese American Citizens League is proud to announce its newly elected national board officers for the 2012-2014 biennium. 

Click here to read more


Concludes Successful Collegiate Leadership Conference

June 14, 2012

Washington, D.C. - The JACL held its fourth annual Collegiate Leadership Conference in the nation’s capital from Thursday, June 7 through Sunday, June 10. Sponsored by UPS Foundation and Southwest Airlines, the Collegiate Leadership Conference gathered ten Asian Pacific American student leaders from around the country to explore ways to effectively create positive change on their own campuses and beyond.

Click here to read more.

JACL Now Accepting Applications for Mineta Fellowship

June 11, 2012

Washington, D.C. – The JACL announces an opening for the JACL Norman Y. Mineta Fellowship in the Washington, D.C. office of the JACL. This fellowship is in the Washington, D.C. office of the JACL and will be focused on public policy advocacy in the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. The fellowship is named for the Honorable Norman Y. Mineta, former Secretary of Transportation and former Secretary of Commerce, and is funded by AARP.

Click here to read more.

NY/SC Concludes Fourth Youth Leadership Summit

June 8, 2012

Portland, OR - The JACL National Youth/Student Council (NY/SC) hosted its fourth Youth Leadership Summit in Portland this past weekend. The summit comprised of 25 participants from the local community representing diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, age, generational status, and involvement with JACL.

Click here to read more.

JACL Praises President's Position on Marriage Equality

May 11, 2012

Washington, D.C. -- The JACL praised President Barack Obama for his support of marriage equality for same sex couples. The organization commended the President for his historic stance as the first President to recognize the rights of same sex couples to marry.

Click here to read more.

President Obama Speaks at APAICS Event

May 9, 2012

Washington, D.C. -- President Barack Obama spoke to a large gathering at the 18th Annual Gala Awards Dinner for the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, May 8, 2012. The President spoke of the importance of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in this country and mentioned his upbringing in Hawaii.

Click here to read more.

JACL Saddened at Passing of James Murakami

May 2, 2012

San Francisco – Leaders and members of the JACL were saddened by the passing of James Murakami, past JACL National President, on April 28, 2012. He leaves behind his loving and devoted wife of 59 years, Margarette; son Alan (Renee); daughter Kimiye; grandchildren Michael, Mark, Danny, Ray; sister Fuji Kamatani, and many relatives and friends.

Click here to read more.

Presidential Medal of Freedom to be Awarded Posthumously
to Gordon Hirabayashi

April 26, 2012

Washington, D.C. -- The White House announced today that President Obama will be honoring Gordon Hirabayashi posthumously with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Click here to read more.


JACL Statement on Marion Barry Remarks

April 25, 2012

Washington, D.C. -- The JACL condemns Washington D.C. City Councilman Marion Barry for his continued bigoted remarks concerning the role of Asian Americans in the city's economy. Barry needs to apologize for continuing to point to Asian Americans as the problem and should recognize that the American people of Asian heritage are as American as anyone else and have been a key in the economic growth and development of small business and the health sector.

Click here to read more.


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2013 JACL Annual Report

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December 3- December 10, 2014


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JACL Programs and Resources

The JACL Anti-Hate Program responds to incidents of defamation and hate crimes and promotes the values and practice of tolerance and diversity in our schools, businesses and communities.

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The JACL seeks to educate and train members of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community so they may become effective leaders and contribute to the well-being of their respective communities and the public at-large.

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The NY/SC is comprised of representatives from JACL's seven districts across the country. The NY/SC organizes programs to actively engage students in campus, community and civil rights issues.

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The JACL provides educational materials to promote a better understanding about the history and contributions made by Japanese Americans, which reflect on the American value of creating an acceptance of diversity in our society.

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