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Law professors update seminal book on Asian-American civil liberties

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Julia Wieting, (808) 956-9774
Assistant for Special Projects, William S. Richardson School of Law
Posted: Jul 8, 2013

Cover of second edition
Cover of second edition

The second edition of the seminal book Race, Rights and Reparation: Law and the Japanese American Internment, coauthored by law professors Eric K. Yamamoto, Margaret Chon, Jerry Kang, Carol Izumi and Frank H. Wu, has just been published by Aspen Publishers.

The first book of its kind dedicated to the legal history of Asian-American civil liberties, it provides in-depth analysis of the legal battles that Asian Americans have faced over the 20th century. In doing so, the new edition incorporates discussion of contemporary issues of national security, civil liberties and redress for historic injustice in a post 9/11 global environment.

“Key among the many strengths of this book is how it uses deep understanding of the Asian-American experience to illuminate crucial civil liberties and civil rights matters that affect us all,” said Dean Avi Soifer of the William S. Richardson School of Law on the UH Mānoa campus. “In fact,” Soifer added, “this book does even more through its innovative insights concerning the crucial issue of how we might remedy past wrongs.”

The book's publication comes on the heels of the recent creation of the Civil Liberties and the Constitution Day of Observance by the Hawai'i State Legislature, which was inspired by the journey of Japanese Americans who fought against forced internment during World War II. William S. Richardson School of Law Professor Eric K. Yamamoto worked on the 1980s coram nobis reopening of the case of Fred Korematsu, one of several American citizens incarcerated for fighting internment.

“As a member of the team that worked on the Korematsu coram nobis writ, and now a civil rights law professor, I've brought to the project both an insider's ‘political lawyering’ insights and a scholar's theoretical assessments about the internment cases’ impact," said Yamamoto.  "Indeed, those cases influence both the tenor of national security/civil liberties tensions in post 9/11 America and the shape of present-day redress/reconciliation initiatives in the U.S. and beyond.”

The breadth of experience between the coauthors results in a diverse set of analytical viewpoints, each of which supports the rigorous standard of scholarship present in Race, Rights and Reparation. The outcome is a text with insights that are widely applicable to different legal and scholarly arenas.

Two chapters of the book are available for free download at

From the Publisher’s website:

The Second Edition of Race, Rights and Reparation: Law and the Japanese American Internment has been substantially revised with new chapters and updated material, including:

  • A comprehensive overview chapter covering the text’s larger themes and significant legal specifics.

  • Completely new chapters that link the internment cases and Japanese-American reparations to post-9/11 national security and civil liberties issues.

  • Updated material on scholarly and judicial treatment of the World War II and coram nobis internment cases.

  • A multidisciplinary approach appealing to scholars, students and instructors of ethnic studies, history, sociology, as well as law and legal studies.

  • Contextualization of Japanese-American internment and reparations, facilitating understanding of what happened and why.

  • An examination of how social policy and politics both enabled and constrained legal decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court.

For more information, visit: