Minoru Yasui - Challenged Discriminatory Laws

Minoru Yasui - Challenged Discriminatory Laws Visual Arts American History Civil Rights Famous Historical Events Government Law and Politics Social Studies World War II

Minoru Yashui was the first of three Japanese-Americans to challenge the U.S. federal government for violating the civil rights of ethnic Japanese after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

The Yasui family's story is one example of how hardworking people, who had contributed much to their communities before World War II, were treated by the government. Owners of one of the most-productive fruit-growing businesses in Oregon, before the war, the Yasui family's assets were confiscated by the government after Pearl Harbor.

We learn more from the University of Oregon which has published a story about the Yashui family:

Over the course of 37 years, Masuo Yasui became a highly respected businessman, an important community leader, and one of the most successful fruit growers in the state of Oregon. Within the Japanese community, he provided legal and financial advice and help, often acting as translator and advocate when his fellow immigrants needed the services of the white community, and assisted many of his fellow immigrants in purchasing land of their own. 

Within the white community, Yasui became a prominent citizen, and was the first Japanese person to be elected to the board of directors of the Hood River Valley Fruit Growers Association. Yasui was a very busy and trusted intermediary between both communities.

Immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States government froze all assets of all Japanese Americans.

The Yasui Brothers' store was closed and the family was not allowed to take any supplies from the store or withdraw any of their funds.  All of their lands were seized. As a leader in the Japanese community, six days after the outbreak of war, Masuo Yasui was arrested by FBI agents, and charged with being a "potentially dangerous enemy alien."  He was imprisoned from Dec. 1941 to Jan. 1946.  

In May 1942, Shidzuyo [Mrs. Yasui] and her two youngest children were "evacuated" and "relocated" to the Tule Lake internment camp in California. 

Minoru Yasui (1916-1986), one of the sons, became a lawyer (before the war).  He decided to challenge the government's right to treat ethnic Japanese without regard to even the most-basic requirements of due process.  

After he was arrested, and sentenced to a year in solitary confinement (for breaking a government-imposed curfew), he was stripped of his U.S. citizenship (effectively removing his license to practice law).  After serving nine months in prison, he was relocated to an internment camp.

Minoru Yasui's conviction was later overturned when proof of government evidence-tampering came to light.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5183stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Oct 17, 2019

Media Credits

Image of Minoru Yashio, online courtesy Historical Society of Pennsylvania.  



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"Minoru Yasui - Challenged Discriminatory Laws" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Oct 17, 2019.
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