On November 3, at the 2017 NAPABA National Convention, AABANY’s Trial Reenactment Team, led by Hon. Denny Chin and Kathy Hirata Chin, performed its 11th trial reenactment, “Fred Korematsu and His Fight for Justice.” 

Joining the cast and playing themselves were 

  • Dale Minami, part of the legal team that successfully fought to overturn Fred Korematsu’s conviction during World War II for challenging Executive Order 9066 that led to the internment of some 110,000 Japanese American citizens; 
  • Neal Katyal, the former Acting Solicitor General of the United States who issued a Confession of Error in 2011 acknowledging that the Solicitor General at the time withheld key facts from the United States Supreme Court when that office was called upon to defend the internment order; and 
  • Karen Korematsu, daughter of Fred Korematsu and Founder and Executive Director of the Korematsu Institute.

The reenactment played to a standing room only crowd. Many were moved by Karen Korematsu closing out the performance by reading from her February 2017 Op-Ed letter to The New York Times, marking the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 being issued:

Executive orders that go after specific groups under the guise of protecting the American people are not only unconstitutional, but morally wrong. My father, and so many other Americans of Japanese descent, were targets of just such an order during World War II…. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush declared, “The internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry was a great injustice, and it will never be repeated.” But it can happen again….

“Stand up for what is right,” my father said. “Protest, but not with violence. Don’t be afraid to speak up. One person can make a difference, even if it takes 40 years.”

Thanks to everyone who came out to see the Korematsu trial reenactment at the NAPABA National Convention. Thanks also to Dale Minami, Neal Katyal and Karen Korematsu for their participation which made the performance extra special, impactful and memorable.  

For those in New York City, please write the New York City Council and support the efforts to recognize January 30 each year as Fred Korematsu Day. Visit the Korematsu Institute website to learn about the movement around the country to mark January 30 as Fred Korematsu Day.

To see more photos from the reenactment, click on the cast photo above. To learn more about AABANY’s Trial Reenactments, visit the website here.