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Oregonian Receives Posthumous Presidential Medal Of Freedom

This photo of Minoru Yasui was taken in 1982.

This photo of Minoru Yasui was taken in 1982.

Courtesy of the Yasui Family

Minoru Yasui was a trailblazer. He was the first Japanese American to graduate from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1939 and the first Japanese American member of the Oregon State Bar. He was born in Hood River and devoted his life and career to various social justice causes.

During World War II, he spent nine months in solitary confinement at Multnomah County Jail for challenging the military curfew in place for German nationals, Italian nationals, and anyone with Japanese ancestry. He continued to fight the criminal charges until his death in 1986, arguing that the curfews were unconstitutional.

On Tuesday, Yasui will be posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and members of his family will be at the White House to accept the honor on his behalf.


  • Joan Yasui Emerson: Minoru Yasui’s niece 
history Japanese-American WWII law

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