Yet another article appeared in last Saturday's Seattle Times about the Japanese American internment during WWII. This time, Kimiko Nagaoka Mukai received her degree from Seattle Pacific University, over 65 years after she was forced to leave the west coast. She was awarded the degree during her 90th birthday party. SPU has identified seven other Japanese American students who were also forced to leave and has been reaching out to their families.
Many Japanese Americans who were displaced during the war have received diplomas over the past several years. The University of Washington honored more than 450 Japanese American students last year, and Norman Mineta was the keynote speaker at the ceremony. Fewer than 70 former students were able to attend, as many have since passed away.
My dad (as well as his sister Yets) was at Downey High School when their family was relocated. They received their diplomas at the Downey High 2004 graduation, held at Cerritos College, and had a great time that night. Even though my dad has accomplished much throughout his life, he seemed genuinely touched not only by the fact that he got to participate and get his diploma, but that the teenaged graduates cheered each of them.