The Importance of Fred Korematsu Day for Children

Why is Fred Korematsu Day important for children? On January 30, we honor the memory of Japanese Americans who struggled for justice after the U.S. government ordered them to internment camps during World War II.

A day in January is set aside to commemorate a civil liberties activist who stood firm in the face of unjust and discriminatory mandates from the federal government. 

January 30 is Fred Korematsu Day in California and a few other states, honoring the life and memory of a man who refused to let his rights be taken away. World War II, the president’s order to remove and incarcerate Japanese Americans, an arrest with his sweetheart, and the beginning of a decades-long conflict between Korematsu and the country he called home.

According to Karen Korematsu, L.H.D., regarding her father, who died in 2005 at the age of 86, “Korematsu’s tale is about how one individual can make a difference.” And now, more than ever, the tale of Korematsu is important because parents and educators are looking for varied stories and historical personalities to commemorate.

A positive role model is essential for children. When adversity comes their way, they may still make an impact.

For What Reason Were Japanese-Americans Confined in Concentration Camps During World War II?=

December 7, 1941, has been a defining moment in the history of the Japanese American community. In the annals of American history, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, will be recognized as a crucial turning point. On this day in history, the lives of Japanese Americans were permanently changed.

As a result of the incident, many people were terrified that their Japanese American neighbors and friends were spies. More and more people of color were banned from owning land because of anti-Japanese feelings.

Order 9066 was enacted on February 19, 1942, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to remove around 120,000 Japanese-Americans from the West Coast and incarcerate them until World War II ended. Many people believe that the word internment camps is a euphemism for prison camps where American citizens were held without due process of law, initially at racetracks and subsequently in lonely prison camps ringed by a barbed-wire fence.

Future generations can learn an important lesson from the persecution of Japanese Americans during World War II: unconstitutional actions by the nation’s leadership will continue uncontested if the people remain silent. When Congress voted to pass the Civil Liberties Act in 1988, they apologized to the victims of mass imprisonment and awarded them compensation for their suffering.

We will never be able to make up for everything that has gone wrong in the past. However, we may take a firm stance for justice and acknowledge the grave injustices done to Japanese Americans during World War II.

To Whom Does This Plot owe its origins?

December 7 marked the beginning of Korematsu’s fight to retain his American-born rights as a second-generation Japanese-American.

During World War II, Korematsu’s family was forcibly removed from their Oakland, California, home and placed in government-run prison camps. Korematsu, then 23, simply refused and stayed put. A day in May 1942, he went for a walk and ended up being caught and sentenced to a year in prison for defying a military order. His fate was sealed when he was interned. It wasn’t until Korematsu took matters into his own hands that he challenged mass incarceration in court. In 1944, the Supreme Court heard his case, Korematsu v. the United States, and ruled against him.

Years later, the government admitted to lying to both the court and the public about Japanese Americans’ threat to the United States during World War II—they were actually neighbors and friends who had become collateral damage in the wartime hysteria.

Korematsu returned to a courtroom in 1983, some 40 years after his first appearance, to be vindicated. His conviction had been overturned, but now he faces a new trial. At the hearing, Korematsu said, “I would like to have the government say they were wrong. For the sake of all American citizens of all races and creeds, do something about this and make sure it never happens again. “

Those who know Korematsu best describe him as a polite and humble person. Ordinariness was the key to his success, yet he had no idea. To help spread awareness of civil rights and social justice issues, he traveled around the country in his later years. Fred Korematsu received the Medal of Freedom from President Clinton in 1998. An understated appearance and demeanor belied his fierce determination to combat erroneous judicial decisions.

How to Make Korematsu Day Fun for Children

How do you fight against unfair laws? The Korematsu technique is to stand up for oneself without putting others down. Knowing that even one person can make a difference by knowing about their rights and standing up for them is the most valuable lesson he has learned throughout his life. January 30 is a great opportunity to teach children about the significance of individual power and disagreement. Also, we need January 30 to teach children and adults about democracy and justice’s fundamental ideals.

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