A Principled Stand

The Story of Hirabayashi v. United States

Gordon K. Hirabayashi, with James A. Hirabayashi and Lane Ryo Hirabayashi

  • paperback not available
  • $29.95 hardcover (9780295992709) Add to Cart
  • Published: April 2013
  • Subject Listing: Asian American Studies, American Ethnic Studies, World War II
  • Bibliographic information: 232 pp., 43 illus., map, notes, 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World
  • Series: A Capell Family Book / Scott and Laurie Oki Series in Asian American Studies
  • Contents

"I never look at my case as just my own, or just as a Japanese- American case. It is an American case, with principles that affect the fundamental human rights of all Americans." - Gordon K. Hirabayashi

In 1942, University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi defied the curfew and mass removal of Japanese Americans on the West Coast, and was subsequently convicted and imprisoned as a result. In A Principled Stand, Gordon's brother James and nephew Lane have brought together his prison diaries and voluminous wartime correspondence to tell the story of Hirabayashi v. United States, the Supreme Court case that in 1943 upheld and on appeal in 1987 vacated his conviction. For the first time, the events of the case are told in Gordon's own words. The result is a compelling and intimate story that reveals what motivated him, how he endured, and how his ideals deepened as he fought discrimination and defended his beliefs.

A Principled Stand adds valuable context to the body of work by legal scholars and historians on the seminal Hirabayashi case. This engaging memoir combines Gordon's accounts with family photographs and archival documents as it takes readers through the series of imprisonments and court battles Gordon endured. Details such as Gordon's profound religious faith, his roots in student movements of the day, his encounters with inmates in jail, and his daily experiences during imprisonment give texture to his storied life.

Gordon K. Hirabayashi (1918-2012) was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in May 2012. He was professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton. James A. Hirabayashi (1926-2012) was professor emeritus of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University. Lane Ryo Hirabayashi is professor of Asian American Studies and the George and Sakaye Aratani Professor of the Japanese American Incarceration, Redress, and Community at UCLA.

"A Principled Stand makes an important contribution to understanding both Gordon Hirabayashi's life and the horrible episode in this country's history that was the internment." - Lorraiane Bannai, Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality, Seattle University School of Law

Part I. An Issei-Nisei Family
1. Hotaka to Seattle
2. Growing Up in America
3. "You're Going to College"

Part II. Challenges and Incarceration
4. World War II
5. Arraignment Summons
6. King County Jail
7. King County Jail Mates
8. Jail Visitations
9. World War II Interracial Marriage
10. Prison Meditations 1
11. Pretrial
12. Seattle Federal District Court
13. U.S. Supreme Court
14. Out on Bail
15. Thumbing to Jail
16. Catalina Federal Honor Camp
17. Federal Prison Again

Part III. The Postwar Years and Vindication
18. Early Postwar Experiences
19. Coram Nobis

Appendix 1. Major Publications
Appendix 2. Professional Positions, Honors, and Awards
Glossary of Names
Further Reading
About the Coauthors


“A fascinating look into the inner workings of how one man, with the support of his Christian supporters, took on the U.S. government and ultimately won.” -Martha Nakagawa, Rafu Shimpo, August 27, 2013

"Hirabayashi's . . . struggle and case have been analyzed every which way - but one. It has not been, until A Principled Stand, The Story of Hirabayashi v. United States, that readers have had access to Hirabayashi's reflections at the time of his resistance." - Peter Monaghan, The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 2013

"A long-awaited and richly satisfying memoir that emerges from a dark place in Northwest history. . . . The book puts you there, as a good novel does." -Mike Dillon, City Living, April 2013

"The book successfully reminds us of the struggles needed to secure our freedoms today." -Publishers Weekly, February 2013