Chiye Tomihiro

Chaired the Chicago JACL's Redress Committee.

Duties of the Witness Chair Too Ashamed to Tell Don’t Make Waves What to Do Next

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Chiye Tomihiro was born and raised in Portland, OR. She was 16 years old when World War II broke out. The FBI detained her father shortly thereafter because he was a former president of the Japanese American Chamber of Commerce. Tomihiro was first held at the Portland Assembly Center and later incarcerated at Minidoka in Idaho. Her father meanwhile, was placed in a jail camp in New Mexico for the next three years.

After the war, her family was reunited and resettled first in Denver, CO and later in Chicago, IL. Tomihiro became an active member of the Chicago chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League. In 1981, Chicago was one of the sites for federal hearings by the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. Chairing the Chapter’s Redress Committee, Chiye Tomihiro mobilized local volunteers to speak about their experiences. In 1983, the CWRIC concluded that the incarceration of Japanese Americans had not been justified by military necessity, but instead was based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership." (April 15, 2008)

coram nobis CWRIC redress camps incarceration internment World War II identity WRA

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