HomeJapanese AmericanTule Lake resister dies. No No boy dead at 101

Tule Lake resister dies. No No boy dead at 101

A man who dared to stand up for his constitutional rights and refused to declare his allegiance to a country that imprisoned his family because of their race has died at the age of 101.

Nichibei reports Toru Bill Nishimura died on October 19. Details of his death have not been released.

Born in Compton, CA to Tomio and Sada Ito Nishimura, he and his mother moved out of the West Coast Military zone after Pearl Harbor. The FBI had already ransacked the family home and took away his father. Unfortunately, the military zone would expand into Central California and Nishimura and his mother would also be incarcerated.

The government asked if he would swear allegiance to the United States and disavow the emperor of Japan, he answered no, but agreed to serve in the U.S. Military on the condition he be allowed to return to California and live a normal life.

He refused to change his answer despite pressure from the War Relocation Authority. Both he and his father were transferred to Tule Lake, a prison dedicated to those who refused to answer yes to both loyalty questions.

According to Discover Nikkei, Nishimura joined the Sokuji Kikoku Hokoku Hoshidan and renounced his U.S. citizenship in protest of the treatment of Japanese Americans.

In an interview in 2002 with the Japanese American Museum of San Jose, Nishimura disclosed his love for the United States would grow after the war.

“I did not say yes to anything that the government had asked me. I went “no” all the way through. And saying that “no” wasn’t easy either because back of my mind, I had the feeling like, what’s going to happen to me? I always had that sort of fear-like concern. And yet, I did not like the way they treated me. Oh, that really blew me up. I just didn’t like the way they treated me so I went all out and went against them to the very bitter end. But when the war ended, when I was in Santa Fe, the government made a statement that, “We are not deporting you to Japan.” However, if you wish to go you may do so but if you wish to stay here, we’ll gladly accept you. That statement gave me — I felt, “Oh gee, Uncle Sam still has a warmth in his heart.” And my feeling toward U.S. changed 180 degrees. I was so happy. I thought I was sure to be deported. And really there was nothing to look forward to going back then.”

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