The upcoming graphic novel We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration offers a new take on the history of World War II — one told through the resistance of three people. Revolving around the experiences of Jim Akutsu, Hiroshi Kashiwagi, and Mitsuye Endo, We Hereby Refuse weaves their acts of refusal into one overarching plot. A result of a collaboration between co-authors Frank Abe and Tamiko Nimura, illustrated by artists Ross Ishikawa and Matt Sasaki, the 160-page graphic novel is co-published by the Wing Luke Museum and Chin Music Press. The book is slated for release on May 18.
In telling Akutsu, Kashiwagi, and Endo’s stories, “We decided not to do it as three different chapters but as one timeline, one story arc that would interweave these three characters. The focus is not ‘These are three heroes of camp resistance.’ No. There’s an overarching narrative of the incarceration experience,” said Abe. “We call it the ‘story of camp as you’ve never seen it before.’”
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(A version of this article originally appeared in the Seattle Globalist.)
“I know your grandmother’s real name.”
Those were the words of Denise Grollmus’ mother on her 28th birthday — the day she found out she was Jewish.
The Holocaust destroyed most of the Jewish population in Poland before 1945. Jews that survived did so by physically going into hiding or by renouncing their Jewish identity.
That’s what Grollmus’ grandmother did. In Nazi-controlled Poland, the family begun masquerading as Catholic to avoid persecution … and kept the charade going for generations.