'Hold These Truths' is a gripping story of Japanese American internment (review)

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    ‘Hold These Truths’ is a gripping story of Japanese American internment (review)

    “Hold These Truths,” a long one-act play currently at Portland Center Stage’s Ellen Bye Theater, is a one-man show that grips you from start to finish.

    With some fictional touches by playwright Jeanne Sakata, but mostly based on fact, it follows the life of civil rights hero Gordon Hirabayashi, an American sociologist who fought the fact that his constitutional rights were violated when he was assigned to the Japanese American internment camps during World War II.

    He may have lost his case when he was alive, but Hirabayashi, a Quaker (“God is in each heart, not in a church”) and a University of Washington student who was active in the YMCA leadership training program, was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012 by President Barack Obama. Paving the way to Hirabayashi’s ultimate victory, legal historian Peter Irons discovered myriad military documents, letters and memos admitting that confining Japanese Americans to camps had not been a necessary security measure: The camps, they implied, were created out of hysteria and racism.


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