Fred Koewmatsu's Fight for Freedom for his People

Fight for Fred and Japanese Freedom

Japanese in America are Controlled

March 27, 1942 - April 20, 1942

General John L. DeWitt, commander of the Western Defense Area, prohibited Japanese Americans from leaving the limits of Military Area No. 1, in preparation for their eventual evacuation to concentration camps.

Fred Arrested

May 30, 1942 - June 13, 1942

Arrested for being Japanese -brought to trial and received high bail. He was asked by Ernest Besig, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union in northern California, if he would be willing to use his case to test the legality of the Japanese American internment. Fred said yes.

Fred's Case Loss and Concentration Camp Life

June 12, 1942 - March 27, 1943

Fred was taken to a camp to work and earned very low pay.

Fred's Appeal to Supreme Court to Grant Japanese Americans their Freedom

March 27, 1944 - December 18, 1944

Went to Supreme Court but it turned out to be a 6-3 decision from Justice Black that America was doing this out a war time situation and he was turned down.

Fred's Case Win

1980 - 1981

Evidence found that Charles Fahy, the Solicitor General of the United States who argued Korematsu v. United States before the Supreme Court, had deliberately suppressed reports from the FBI and military intelligence which concluded that Japanese-American citizens posed no security risk. These documents revealed that the military had lied to the Supreme Court, and that government lawyers had willingly made false arguments. Irons concluded that the Supreme Court’s decision was invalid since it was based on unsubstantiated facts, distortions, and misrepresentations. Along with a team of lawyers headed by Dale Minami, Irons petitioned for writs of error coram nobis with the federal courts, seeking to overturn Korematsu's conviction.

America Recognises Japanese Citizens

1980 - 1988

President Jimmy Carter appointed a special commission to investigate the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. The commission concluded that the decisions to remove those of Japanese ancestry to prison camps occurred because of "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership". Congress apologized and granted personal compensation of $20,000 to each surviving prisoner.

Fred's Speech

November 10, 1983 - November 11, 1983

Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of U.S. District Court in San Francisco formally vacated the conviction. Korematsu stood in front of US District Judge Marilyn Patel and said, “I would like to see the government admit that they were wrong and do something about it so this will never happen again to any American citizen of any race, creed, or color.”

Fred's Award


President Bill Clinton awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States to Korematsu, saying, "In the long history of our country's constant search for justice, some names of ordinary citizens stand for millions of souls. Plessy, Brown, Parks ... to that distinguished list, today we add the name of Fred Korematsu." That year Korematsu served as the Grand Marshal of San Francisco's annual Cherry Blossom Festival parade.

Fred's Participance in Freedom Rights

September 11, 2001 - September 13, 2001

Korematsu spoke out about how the United States government should not let the same thing happen to people of Middle-Eastern descent as what happened to Japanese Americans. When prisoners were detained at Guantanamo Bay for too long of a period, in Korematsu’s opinion, he filed two amicus curiae briefs with the Supreme Court and warned them not to repeat the mistakes of the Japanese internment.

Fred's Death and Last Words

March 30, 2005 - March 31, 2005

One of the last things Korematsu said was, “I'll never forget my government treating me like this. And I really hope that this will never happen to anybody else because of the way they look, if they look like the enemy of our country”. He also urged others to “protest, but not with violence, and don’t be afraid to speak up. One person can make a difference, even if it takes forty years.” Korematsu was buried at the Mountain View Cemetery.

Going on in World

World War II

Jan 30, 1933 - Sep 2, 1945

Starts with Hitler becoming Chancellor of Germany and ends with official peace document sighed by all countries that participated. All conducted by UN.

Bombing on Pearl Harbor

December 7, 1941 - December 8, 1941

Japanese launched a surprise air attack on the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. After just two hours of bombing, more than 2,400 Americans were dead, 21 ships had either been sunk or damaged, and more than 188 U.S. aircraft destroyed.

Atom Bomb #1

August 6, 1945 - August 12, 1945

Bomb is dropped on Hiroshima.

Atom Bomb #2

August 9, 1945 - August 15, 1945

Second bomb dropped on Nagasaki.

Japan Surrenders

September 2, 1945 - September 5, 1945