By Stan Shikuma
Judge Johnny Gogo has been traveling across the country with a 48-Star U.S. flag (the number of stars during WWII) and asking surviving Japanese Americans who were wrongfully incarcerated during WW II to sign the flag to help honor their family sacrifice, honor their memory, and honor their legacy. Judge Gogo traveled first to the East Coast to have Secretary Norman Mineta sign the flag, then to Los Angeles, the Bay Area, San Jose and on to Sacramento to have folks sign the flag. The flag is kept in his chambers and will eventually be donated to the Japanese American Museum of San Jose on Korematsu Day, January 30, 2022.
Johnny Gogo is currently a judge with the Santa Clara County Superior Court in San Jose, CA. His parents were small children on Guam when the island was invaded and occupied by Japanese Imperial Forces from 1941-1944 during WWII. His friend on the same Court, Judge Roberta Hayashi, started promoting Korematsu Day outreach and events about six years ago, which Judge Gogo supported over the years. Armed with a desire to do more to help promote Korematsu Day — and involve more survivors and their families – Judge Gogo developed this Flag Signing Project.
Judge Gogo will travel to Seattle on May 21 and May 22. If you are a Japanese American who was incarcerated in one of the War Relocation Authority (WRA) or Department of Justice (DOJ) camps during WW II, you are cordially invited to sign the Flag. Judge Gogo is willing to come to you, or you can come to a:
- “Drop-In and Sign” Session
- NVC Memorial Hall, 1212 South King Street, Seattle, WA
- Friday, May 21, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm PDT
Masks and physical distancing will be required.
Contact Stan Shikuma at email@example.com for directions or information.
The Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution is celebrated on January 30 in California to commemorate the birthday of Fred Korematsu, a Japanese-American civil rights activist (see Korematsu v. US). It is the first day in U.S. history named after an Asian American. It was signed into law by then-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on September 23, 2010