USC To Apologize For WWII-Era Actions That Derailed Japanese American Students’ Educations

The University of Southern California is apologizing to former Japanese American students whose educations were interfered with by the school during World War II.

USC President Carol Folt will issue a formal apology to the former students and award them honorary degrees posthumously, according to the Los Angeles Times. The school is also asking the public for assistance in locating the families of around 120 students who went to USC from 1941-42. 

“This is a stained part of our history,” USC Associate Senior Vice President for Alumni Relations Patrick Auerbach told the Times. “While we can’t change what happened in the past … the university can certainly still do right by their families and let them know that we are posthumously awarding them honorary degrees so that they can occupy that place in the Trojan family, which they deserve.” 

An executive order issued by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943 forced the removal of people of Japanese descent from the West Coast, placing tens of thousands of people in detention camps.

USC refused to release the transcripts of Japanese American students so they could attend another university, the Los Angeles Times reported. When some students attempted to return to USC after the war, the school would not recognize their previously completed courses and told them they would have to start over, their surviving family members noted. 

USC alumni have been pushing for the school to apologize for their actions toward Japanese American students during World War II for years, but the issue gained new momentum after George Floyd’s murder last year, which prompted many institutions to examine their roles in acts of racism.

USC law students last year publicized their research project centering on the issue, titled “Forgotten Trojans,” and an Academic Senate committee also pushed for the school to formally recognize the issue, the Times reported. 

Folt will officially make the apology and award the degrees next spring at an Asian Pacific Alumni Association gala and will also recognize the former students at the school’s commencement in May, according to the Times.

Source: The Hill

Orphaned Toddler Adopted By A Gay Man In Cambodia Is Now A US Olympic Diver

The road to a global sporting event such as the Olympics does not come easy for most athletes, but it’s much more difficult for those without the support and resources to begin with.

“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him, his love, and support,” Jordan Windle told NBC Sports of his father, Jerry Windle.

Jordan, 22, was adopted as an 18-month-old boy in Cambodia. His birth parents died when he was just a year old and, for the next few months, he would live in an orphanage in Phnom Penh.

It was in that orphanage that Jerry — then a single gay man who struggled to adopt in the U.S. — would find him as a toddler suffering from malnutrition, scabies and severe infections. Jerry took him home to Florida, nursed him back to health and ultimately became his father.

Now, Jordan is in Tokyo for the Summer Olympics, representing the U.S. in diving.

Jordan’s Olympic ambitions began at age 7. After catching the attention of Tim O’Brien, son of famed diving coach Ron O’Brien, at a diving camp, Jordan entered the Fort Lauderdale diving program and soared through the ranks, according to Outsports.

It was also during this time when he met Olympic gold medalist and LGBT activist Greg Louganis. He was even called “Little Louganis.”

After three Olympic trials — first at age 13, then at age 16 — Jordan achieved his dream of 15 years and qualified for the men’s platform event in June. And while his father cannot be with him due to COVID-19 restrictions, he is still “super excited” about it.

“I can usually hear (my dad) out of everyone in the audience, which is awesome. Not having him at the Olympics will be different,” Jordan told Today“I wish he was there, but that doesn’t really change what I’m going there to do: To have fun, show off a little bit, and put on a show for everyone. That’s going to be my intention and I’m hopefully going to make him proud.”

The father and son celebrated their story in a children’s book that they co-authored in 2011. The book, titled “An Orphan No More: The True Story of a Boy,” tells the story of a rooster who was told by other animals that he cannot be a father without a hen. One day, he stumbles upon an egg that no one wants. What hatches is a duckling, but despite their different looks, the two would prove, in Louganis’ words, that “where there is love, there is family.”

In 2016, Jordan returned to Cambodia to perform a diving exhibition for orphans. He sought to inspire the children he was once among and show them what they can achieve.

Jordan is competing in the 3-meter and 10-meter events. His first competition (3-meter Springboard Prelim) is scheduled for Aug. 2 at 3 p.m. (Tokyo time).

Source: NextShark

2019 – George Takei On His Memoir, “They Called Us Enemy”

2019 – Veteran actor George Takei may be best known as Sulu from “Star Trek,” but he also has a darker story to tell. During World War II, thousands of Americans of Japanese descent were forced from their homes and sent to internment camps, Takei among them. Now at 82 years old, he says that the Trump administration’s treatment of immigrants motivated him to speak out and revisit this in a new memoir.

Orange Coast College Professor Emeritus John Upton, Noted Photography Icon, Dies

John Upton, one of the founders of the well-respected photography department at Orange Coast College who taught there for more than 40 years, died on Dec. 7 in Petaluma. He was 88.

Upton died due to complications from lung cancer, the school announced.

A former San Clemente and Laguna Woods resident, Upton had moved to Petaluma two years ago to be closer to his family, his daughter, Sean, said.

“He always had an eye for photography,” Sean Upton said. “The day that I drove him to the hospital, which was just two weeks ago, he was looking out the window appreciating places that he may photograph someday. So, he was always looking through the eye of the lens of the photographer.”

John Upton was born in Iowa and moved to the San Fernando Valley when he was 5 years old, his daughter said. He went to art school in San Francisco, at the California School of the Fine Arts, studying with contemporaries like Ansel Adams and Edward Weston before he was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War in 1953.

Upton came back to Southern California and became a faculty member at Orange Coast College in 1960. He retired in 1999 but continued to teach a gallery class part time for several years.

Upton and his then-wife, Barbara London, published the influential college textbook “Photography” in 1976. There are more than 1.5 million copies in print.

“Things that other people see as common knowledge, John would sort of miss,” said OCC Photography Department Chair Blade Gillissen, a student of Upton’s at the junior college in the 1990s. “He was so tuned into photography. I remember one day trying to talk to him, back when the [Los Angeles] Lakers started doing better again with Kobe [Bryant] and [Shaquille O’Neal]. And he had no idea who I was talking about.”

The gallery class provided joy for Upton later in his life. Gillissen said he and Upton would each drive a van full of students to art galleries and museums throughout Southern California on Saturdays, with Upton acting as a docent.

“I haven’t offered it since he stopped teaching it,” Gillissen said. “I don’t know anyone off the top of my head that could teach it like he did it.”

Sean Upton called her father one of the premier art historians in the U.S. Last January, Orange Coast College opened a survey exhibition of his fine art work at the Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion on campus. The exhibit ran until mid-March, when the school was shut down due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The survey had selections from four main bodies of work: early work, “Japanalia,” “Jungle Road” and the more recent “Petaluma.” John Upton was an avid fan of Asian art and culture and would visit Japan yearly for decades, Sean Upton said.

The exhibition was curated by Tyler Stallings, director/senior curator at the Doyle.

“He was mainly known as an educator, for the book and what he did for the photography department at OCC,” Stallings said. “He’s always been making work, but as a busy teacher, he didn’t always have the time to get his work out there. That was the angle of the show.”

Later in his life, Upton also collaborated with longtime friend and part-time OCC Photography Department instructor John Hesketh, who would print his photography.

“John was one of the sweetest and most giving people around,” Hesketh said. “I had a commercial father of photography [Dean], and John was kind of my fine art father of photography. He was very, very dedicated to photography itself and what it meant to be a fine art photographer, or an artist that was lens-based … He was like this elder statesman that represented photography in its best, kindest way. He was very generous in encouraging other people to do what they could do.”

Source: LA Times

Japan Debuts ‘World’s First Foot-Operated’ Vending Machine For The COVID-19 Era

Before the virus crisis, people would click on the buttons in vending machines to make their purchases but nowadays physical contact is strongly discouraged. So, a Japanese company called DyDo has come up with a new invention. 

It has launched the “world’s first foot-operated” vending machine that is completely “hands-free.” 

The new innovation allows people to use the foot pedals installed in the vending machines to make their selections. They can also opt for contactless payments by tapping their smartphones to the machine’s display. 

Customers can also choose to preorder their items online and then scan their phones to collect their products. 

The machine also includes a food tray, which opens when a customer steps on a lever. It is equipped with UV light sterilization to ensure the products are decontaminated the moment customers retrieve them. 

Source: DesignTAXI

Japanese Pianist Tadataka Unno Badly Injured After Attack In New York Subway – Thought To Be Chinese

A well known musician has been badly injured after being attacked near his home in Harlem.

Now the community has come together to support him.

As CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon reports, New York-based Japanese musician Tadataka Unno is a beloved member of the local jazz community. The 40-year-old is a renowned pianist and composer.

“He really took hold of jazz culture and embodied it,” said Jerome Jennings, an instructor at the Julliard School, and a good friend of Unno’s. “He’s played in bands with Roy Hargrove and great Jimmy Cobb.”

Jennings says Unno is now suffering mentally and physically after being attacked unexpectedly.

It happened on Sept. 27 around 7:30 p.m. Jennings says Unnon was exiting the subway station at West 135th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue when several young people were blocking the turnstiles. Unno attempted to walk around the group, but was yelled at and pushed from behind, eventually punched in the face and body.

“He got up, tried to run, fell again, got back up, tried to run, fell again,” Jennings said.

Jennings says Unno’s wife says there were racial slurs yelled in the process.

“He did hear the word ‘Chinese’ and ‘Asian,’” Jennings said.

Police say no anti-Asian remarks were indicated in the report but the investigation is ongoing. No arrests have been made.

Source: CBS New York

22-Year-Old Naomi Osaka Now the Highest-Paid Female Athlete in History

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According to Forbes, the Japanese-Haitian athlete earned a total of $37.4 million USD from prize money and endorsements between June 2019 and May 2020. Osaka is currently backed by 15 endorsement partners ranging from Nissan MotorShiseido and Yonex, with almost all of them worth seven figures every year. On top of the wins and endorsements, the tennis star’s new and extremely rare Nike contract — which paid her more than $10 million USD — doesn’t require her to play matches in full Nike apparel, giving her space to sign “patch” deals with All Nippon Airways, MasterCard and Nissin Foods.

Source: HypeBeast

Why People Gaslight Asian American Struggles

You don’t have to scroll too far to see comments like these on articles about hate crimes or xenophobia. People seem quick to dismiss news reports of Asian Americans being verbally and physically assaulted, or even use the comment section as a stage to continue the attack from the comfort of their keyboard.

This behavior of denial and gaslighting of crimes against Asians is overwhelming and, frankly, perplexing.

Source: NextShark