We Hereby Refuse

In this interactive timeline you will find documentation to verify the events depicted in the graphic novel, WE HEREBY REFUSE. Click on each story bubble to pop up text, images, and documents.

Use the scroll button on your mouse to advance the timeline. The time span begins with the US entry into WW2 and ends in 1947. Click the "Find out more" buttons where you see them to download primary documents.

1941-12-08 00:00:00

Akutsu at school

Hajime Jim Akutsu was born in Seattle on January 25, 1920. By 1941 he was studying civil engineering at the University of Washington, while his family operated the New Golden Shoe Repair Shop at 422 Sixth Avenue S. and S. King St. They had just purchased new shoe repair machinery for the shop shortly before Pearl Harbor. The site is now part of the extension of Hing Hay Park. Click "Find out more" to read Jim’s full biography at Resisters.com.

1941-12-08 00:00:00

Kashiwagi on the farm

Hiroshi Kashiwagi was born in Sacramento on November 8, 1922. By 1941 his family sharecropped a fruit ranch in Penryn, outside Sacramento. Hiroshi's father suffered from tuberculosis, and for a time kept his distance from the family by living in a tent away from the farmhouse. Click "For more information" for Hiroshi’s full biography in the Densho Encyclopedia.

1941-12-08 00:00:00

Endo at work

Mitsuye Endo was born in Sacramento on May 10, 1920. By 1941 she worked as a key punch operator for the California Department of Employment. Newspapers at the time freely used the racial slur “Jap” to refer to both American citizens of Japanese ancestry and the wartime enemy in Japan. Click "Find out more" for her full biography in the Densho Encyclopedia.

1941-12-08 21:52:44

JACL professes loyalty and informs on Issei leadership

In Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, JACL chapters and regional councils formed defense committees in reaction to the attack on Pearl Harbor and proudly proclaimed acting as informants for the FBI. In Los Angeles, the Southern District Council of the JACL formed the Anti-Axis Committee. In Seattle and San Francisco, they were called Emergency Defense Councils. Click "Find out more" for texts of statements from National JACL and these defense committees, as reported in a 1990 internal JACL investigation commonly known as “The Lim Report.”

1941-12-08 22:32:02

Baseless claims of Japanese American espionage and sabotage

In the days after the Japanese attack, U.S. Navy Secretary Frank Knox spent 36 hours at Pearl Harbor and claimed without evidence that Japanese Americans in Hawai'i had helped sabotage the Island's defenses. In California, state Attorney General Earl Warren argued the very absence of Japanese fifth column activity on the West Coast was evidence that they were secretly planning another attack. Click "Find out more" for the Densho Encyclopedia entry on false claims of Fifth Column activity by Japanese Americans.

1942-01-05 00:00:00

Nisei reclassified from I-A to IV-C

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1942-01-08 21:52:44

Masaoka proposes a Nisei suicide battalion

In an effort to counter cries for the mass removal of Japanese Americans, newly-appointed JACL field executive Mike Masaoka proposed creation of a volunteer Nisei suicide battalion “to spearhead the most dangerous missions,” with their families and friends held by the government as hostages. Click "Find out more" for the JACL’s 1990 internal investigation into this and other wartime JACL activities, commonly known as “The Lim Report.”

1942-02-19 21:52:44

President authorizes mass exclusion based on race

By executive order, President Roosevelt authorized his Secretary of War to prescribe military areas from which any or all persons could be excluded, while others would be allowed to remain. For those excluded, the President authorized any “transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations” as needed. Nowhere does the order mention Japanese Americans, but the meaning was clear. Click “Find out more” for the details of Executive Order 9066 in the Densho Encyclopedia, and a link to the full text.

1942-02-21 00:00:00

Akutsu father arrested by FBI

Kiyonosuke Akutsu was among 103 Issei men arrested in a second sweep of community leaders. He was evidently named by a confidential informant. He was arrested at the home the family owned at 311 Tenth Avenue near Alder Street. Among the items seized was a copy of a Japanese-language magazine, “Sokoku,” published by a group on the Attorney General’s list of subversives. The home was just south of Seattle University and overlooked what is now the King County juvenile justice center. Click "Find out more" to download the FBI arrest report.

1942-02-22 21:52:44

Sakamoto testimony to the Tolan Committee

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1942-03-01 04:54:23

Masaoka urges Army to take Nisei volunteers

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1942-03-19 04:07:08

Akutsu father taken to DOJ internment camp

One month after their arrest, 150 Issei men, including the fathers of Jim and Gene Akutsu and future novelist John Okada, were marched a long block from the Immigration Detention Station to King Street Station, where they were put on a train bound for the Dept. of Justice alien internment camp at Fort Missoula, Montana. Note the outstretched arms of their wives and children from whom they were being separated, reaching through the iron bars to shout out their goodbyes in Japanese and English. Click “Find out more” for the Densho Encyclopedia article on Fort Missoula.

1942-03-24 09:35:23

Army posts Civilian Exclusion Orders

The President’s West Coast exclusion order became more real in March and April when the Army posted notices establishing 99 exclusion zones, outlined by street name, with dates by which to report to specified registration centers and details of what possessions could be brought. Click "Find out more" for the Densho Encyclopedia entry on civilian exclusion zones.

1942-03-30 04:54:23

WRA recruits JACL as liaison

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1942-04-01 07:33:14

James Purcell represents state employees

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1942-04-06 04:54:23

Masaoka advises WRA on policy for camps

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1942-04-08 00:00:00

Endo receives suspension letter

Click "Find out more" to download the letter as a PDF.

1942-05-01 09:35:23

Endo detained at Sacramento Assembly Center

early May. Endo goes to Sacramento Assembly Center, aka Walerga. Family

1942-06-20 09:35:23

Endo imprisoned at Tule Lake

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1942-06-28 00:00:00

Kashiwagi imprisoned at Tule Lake

Block 40, Barrack 5-D

1942-07-12 00:00:00

Endo puts her name to writ of habeas corpus

On June 24, 1942, James Purcell sends a petition for writ of habeas corpus to Mitsuye Endo at Tule Lake and asks her to sign and notarize it as he is “anxious to get this matter started by filing it with the clerk of the Court.” On July 12 he files "Endo v. Eisenhower" in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, asking the court to require WRA director Milton Eisenhower, as the person responsible for her detention, to show cause why Endo should not be released from incarceration. Click "Find out more" to download their six-page legal brief.

1942-07-20 00:00:00

Purcell argues before District Court

A week after filing the writ of habeas corpus, James Purcell appeared at the Federal Courthouse in San Francisco for what he thought would be a routine calendar-setting hearing. Instead, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Roche surprised Purcell by asking him to present his argument for Endo's petition for release. Click "Find out more" to download excerpts from Purcell's argument.

1942-08-17 00:00:00

Akutsu imprisoned at Minidoka

Minidoka Block 5, Barrack 4-F

1942-12-06 21:52:44

The Manzanar Revolt

Manzanar delegate Fred Tayama was severely beaten upon his return from the JACL emergency meeting in Salt Lake City. Harry Ueno was arrested, and a crowd stormed the Manzanar Jail to demand his release. Click “Find out more” for a 1996 National Park Service Special History Study of the events of Dec. 6, drawn from internal WRA documents by Harlan D. Unrau.

1943-01-01 04:54:23

Masaoka urges segregation to protect JACL members

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1943-01-23 18:37:33

Masaoka shuts down Civil Liberties League

JACL’s policy was to oppose test cases challenging the government. Mike Masaoka travelled to Minidoka to quash the emerging Civil Liberties League, a group of mostly Portland, Oregon residents collecting funds in support of Min Yasui’s curfew case. Click “Find out more” to read the Naval Intelligence report on the meeting.

1943-02-09 00:50:28


The loyalty questionnaire distributed in February 1943, with its binary yes/no answers, created an administrative class of people who had to be categorized as not loyal when many refused to answer or answered no. Such purported disloyalty existed only on paper, since none had committed any overt acts against the government.

1943-09-23 00:00:00

Endo imprisoned at Topaz

The Endo family was held in Block 39, Barrack 9, Unit B. Mitsuye got a job in the administration office as secretary to relocation program officer Leah Dickinson. Their office manager took the clerical staff out for a memorable dinner at a "fancy hotel" in the nearby town of Delta.

1943-10-10 00:00:00

Endo declines govt offer to leave camp

Although Endo and James Purcell both claimed they never met, Purcell told author Peter Irons in a 1982 interview that he went to Topaz around the fall of 1943 to represent Endo in a meeting requested by the chief solicitor for the War Relocation Authority, Phillip Glick. At this meeting, Glick offered Endo the chance to leave camp, a move that Purcell advised her would end their habeas corpus case. Endo made her feelings clear in a letter to Purcell in advance of the meeting, in which she stated, "I am willing to go as far as I can on this case.” Click "Find out more" to download Endo's letter to Purcell.

1944-01-31 00:50:28

Draft reinstituted for Nisei in camp

The reinstitution of compulsory military conscription in January 1944 for the Nisei in camp created another division between those who complied with their draft orders, and those who refused to report for induction on principle.

1944-02-20 22:22:53

Mothers Society petitions the President

100 Issei women at Minidoka sign a letter to President Roosevelt pleading for restoration of full citizenship rights for their precious sons before they’re sent off to the front to fight and die. Click "Find out more" to read the two page letter with signatures.

1944-07-01 01:11:35

Congress Offers Nisei a Chance to Voluntarily Renounce Their Citizenship

In a compromise with lawmakers who sought to strip the Nisei of U.S. citizenship, which Attorney General Francis Biddle advised them was unconstitutional under the birthright citizenship guaranteed by the 14th Amendment, Congress passed the Denaturalization Act of 1944. It allowed American-born Nisei to voluntarily renounce their citizenship during time of war, which 5,000 at Tule Lake did, based mostly upon rumor and misinformation. Hiroshi Kashiwagi renounces under pressure and immediate regrets it. Click “Find out more” for the Densho Encyclopedia entry.

1944-07-20 00:00:00

Akutsu arrested, taken to Boise jail

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1944-09-13 00:00:00

Akutsu trial for draft resistance

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1944-10-02 00:00:00

Akutsu sentencing for draft resistance

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1944-10-06 00:00:00

Akutsu imprisoned at McNeil Island

Jim and Gene enter McNeil, Jim’s inmate number is 17189.

1944-10-11 00:00:00

Purcell argues writ before Supreme Court

James Purcell arrived three days before his scheduled argument before the Supreme Court to prepare and observe the court's procedures. The arguments presented that day are best summarized by author Peter Irons in his seminal 1983 book, JUSTICE AT WAR.

1944-12-17 15:02:47

Army lifts exclusion order, WRA orders closure of the camps

With the Supreme Court set to announce its decision in favor of Endo on a Monday, the Western Defense Command was ordered to proactively announce on the Sunday before that it was lifting its West Coast exclusion order, effective January 2, 1945. Click on the button to download Public Proclamation No. 21 signed by the new head of the Western Defense Command, Major Gen. Henry Pratt. Click "Find out more" to read the full proclamation.

1944-12-18 00:00:00

Endo wins at Supreme Court

When they heard the exclusion order was lifted, Janet Masuda said she knew Endo had won her case. When Endo came running a few days later with a telegram from Purcell confirming the ruling, Masuda said "we were so happy that we actually danced around the room." Click "Find out more" to download a PDF of the telegram.

1945-05-24 00:00:00

Endo leaves Topaz for Chicago

Endo stays in camp for five months after her court victory to arrange for resettlement of her parents, then goes to live with the oldest of her sisters in Chicago. Chicago Mayor Edward Kelly offers her a job as office manager for his Committee on Race Relations, located in the Metropolitan Building at 134 N. LaSalle St., directly across from Chicago City Hall.

1946-02-23 07:33:14

JACL convention considers ID cards for Tuleans

At the first postwar convention of JACL, delegates at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Denver held informal discussions for a resolution calling for the immediate deportation of renunciants at Tule Lake, and requiring Tuleans to carry ID cards. Masaoka and others shot down the ideas as liable to ricochet on JACL.

1946-03-07 00:00:00

Kashiwagi released from Tule Lake

Kashiwagi’s leave Tule Lake for Loomis, 12 days before camp is completely closed.

1947-04-03 02:44:35

Akutsu brothers released from prison

With parole, Jim and Gene served 2 years and 7 months in prison, well well over two-thirds of their of their 3 year, 3 month sentences.

1947-04-06 22:22:53

New Golden Shoe Repair - after the war

Shoe shop at 619 Weller St.

1947-04-06 22:22:53

Eleanor Roosevelt replies to Mothers Society

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1947-09-25 23:19:47

Akutsu mother takes her own life

AKUTSU MOTHER commits suicide - Nao Fukui Akutsu – born 17 Nov 1887 to Choji Fukui and Shin. Nao married Kiyonosuke Akutsu and had 2 children. Or Kinonusuke. Died age 59. Funeral service at Nichiren Buddhist Church

We Hereby Refuse

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