HomeJapanese AmericanCourthouse in Orange County named after pioneer Japanese American

Courthouse in Orange County named after pioneer Japanese American

The first Asian American attorney and superior court judge in Orange County is being honored with the renaming of the County courthouse, reports the OC Register.

The West Justice Center Courthouse will be named after Stephen Tamura who served in the 442nd Infantry Regiment while his family was incarcerated at Poston in Arizona.

Governor Edmund Brown (an earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the governor) appointed him to the Orange County Superior Court in 1961 and he went on to the Court of Appeal in 1966. He retired in 1981 and died the following year in his early 70’s.

“It was a real privilege to submit the application to name West Justice Center in honor of the late judge,” Superior Court Presiding Judge Kirk Nakamura said in the OC Breeze. “He was a man of many ‘firsts’ and I am very proud to have followed his footsteps to the Bench.”

Tamura’s family is ecstatic that he is being remembered four decades after his death.

“We were really thrilled,” said Susan Kawaichi, Tamura’s daughter. “It’s such an honor and he has been gone for such a long time, It’s nice that he will be remembered again.”

Her father graduated from UC Berkeley and studied law at Harvard in 1943 after authorities allowed him to leave Poston for his studies.

Susan followed in her father’s footsteps becoming an attorney. Her husband is a judge.

“I think it’s just a recognition finally that we are a very diverse society and unless we recognize what everyone has contributed we aren’t going to go very far,” she said.

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