Michi Weglyn

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Michi Nishiura Weglyn
Born (1926-11-29)November 29, 1926
Stockton, California
Died April 25, 1999(1999-04-25) (aged 72)
Nationality American
Spouse(s) Walter M. Weglyn

Michi Nishiura Weglyn (November 29, 1926–April 25, 1999) was the author of the book Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of America’s Concentration Camps, which fueled a movement leading to reparations for Japanese Americans interned during World War II.[1] She was also a vocal advocate for those denied redress under the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 and for the more than 2,000 Japanese Peruvians who were taken from their homes by the U.S. government and used in a hostage exchange program with Japan.[2]

Biography[edit]

Michiko Nishiura was born into a farming family in Stockton, California in 1926. In 1942, she was interned with her family at the Gila River War Relocation Center in Arizona.[3]

Nishiura attended Mount Holyoke College in 1944 and 1945, but a bout with tuberculosis forced her to withdraw from college without a diploma.[4] She later attended Barnard College in 1947 and 1948. Weglyn then moved to New York City, where she met her husband, Walter Weglyn whom she married in 1950. During the 1950s and 1960s, Weglyn was a designer and manufacturer of theatrical costumes, and worked for the Perry Como Show during the 1950s.[2] During her eight years with the show, she became the first and only Japanese-American of the era to achieve national prominence in theatrical costume design.[5]

During the 1960s, Weglyn began work on the influential Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of America’s Concentration Camps, which was the first book to be written on the internment by a Japanese American.[4] Published in 1976, it detailed U.S. governmental misconduct aimed at Japanese Americans following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and offered a staunch rebuttal of the military necessity argument for incarceration.[4] The book would win one of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards in 1977 and helped launch the movement that led to reparations Japanese Americans interned during World War II.

Following the book's publication, Weglyn became an advocate for Japanese Americans denied redress under the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 and for Japanese Peruvians who had been taken from their homes by the U.S. government and used in a hostage exchange program with Japan.[4] For her work, Weglyn received honorary doctorates from Hunter College, California State University, and Mount Holyoke College.[4]

Weglyn died in 1999 in New York City at the age of 72.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Pace, Eric (May 2, 1999), "Michi Weglyn, 72, Who Wrote Of Interned Japanese-Americans", The New York Times 
  2. ^ a b Nash, Phil Tajitsu (April 29, 1999). "Michi Weglyn, 1926-1999". 
  3. ^ "National Archives: Michiko Nishiura". Retrieved 2011-12-30. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Michi Nishiura Weglyn". Retrieved 2011-12-30. 
  5. ^ Mount Holyoke Alumnae Association, Alumnae and Students of Color Conference, November 2007, p. 3. Retrieved March 22, 2014.

External links[edit]