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Hirabayashi to be Honored by College of Arts & Sciences

Story by
Nancy Joseph

Each year the College of Arts and Sciences honors one or more alumni at its Celebration of Distinction, in recognition of exceptional lifetime achievement. Gordon Hirabayashi, who asserted his Constitutional rights despite the personal consequences, will be the honoree for 2000. The dinner will be held May 9, beginning at 6 p.m.

The evening will be both lively and thought-provoking. KING 5 News’s Lori Matsukawa will serve as emcee, and Kokoro Dance Company will perform a powerful piece, The Believer, choreographed by Jay Hirabayashi, Gordon’s son.


Kokoro Dance Company performing The Believer.

Kokoro Dance Company performing The Believer.

The Believer draws its inspiration from the courage and resilience of Americans and Canadians of Japanese ancestry who suffered undeserved hardships during and after World War II. It is a multi-disciplinary performance that combines dance, taped music and text, live drumming, lighting, and slide projections. The images are taken from the family albums of Jay Hirabayashi and include actual newspaper headlines stemming from his father’s decision to fight government relocation and curfew orders in court.

Also in conjuntion with Gordon Hirabayashi’s award and UW visit, the Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest is presenting a conference, “The Nikkei Experience in the Pacific Northwest,” on May 5-6. The conference sessions will examine Japanese Americans’ experiences throughout the twentieth century in the Pacific Northwest. Guest speakers include Peter Irons, whose research led to the overturning of Gordon Hirabayashi’s conviction, and Frank Abe, who will present a sneak preview of his new documentary "Conscience and the Constitution," a presentation of the Independent Television Service. Most sessions will be held in the HUB. For more information, contact the Center at (206) 543-8656 or