2015 / Historical Society places monument for Issei civil right activist Sei Fujii in Little Tokyo

Steel Lantern Memorial for Sei Fujii

Steel Lantern Memorial for Sei Fujii (Cultural News Photo)

Organizers from the Little Tokyo Historical Society have announced a special “Sei Fujii Day” to take place on Saturday Aug. 1 in Little Tokyo.

Though forgotten by many in the community, Sei Fujii will be remembered on this day for his many works on behalf of the Nikkei community and for two landmark court cases which changed our society for the better.

There is scheduled at 12:30 pm a program to unveil a steel lantern that stands 8 feet tall which will be dedicated in a ceremony to the memory of pioneer civil rights activist Sei Fujii.

The lantern has been meticulously designed by Rhode Island School of Design Graduate Miles Endo, son of taiko master Kenny Endo.

The dedication will take place at the Second Street entrance of the Japanese Village Plaza between San Pedro St. and Central Avenue (near 341 East Second Street), and dignitaries and other special guests have been invited.

The unveiling will take place at precisely 1 pm at which time all of the sponsors who contributed a total surpassing $30,000 for the Lantern will be recognized.

Following the Lantern dedication will be a panel presentation beginning at 2 pm at the Japanese American National Museum Democracy Center (100 North Central Avenue) on the topic of Sei Fujii’s extensive civil rights work, with a special focus on the overturning of the Alien Land Law in which Sei Fujii won a California Supreme Court ruling in his favor.

Speakers include Superior Court Judge Bruce Iwasaki and retired Associate Dean of USC Law School John Tomlinson.

A short film “Lil Tokyo Reporter” will also be shown; this award-winning drama sponsored by the Little Tokyo Historical Society & Visual Communications and directed by Jeffrey Gee Chin, shows a chapter of Sei Fujii’s struggle on behalf of the community. ¬†Lead Actor & Academy Award-Winner Chris Tashima and Executive Producer Fumiko Carole Fujita will also join the panel.

The seminar program is free with the purchase of a JANM admission.  There will be a Q & A session and a light reception to follow at 4 pm.

For questions, please contact Bill Watanabe (billwatanabe@earthlink.net).