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Life History

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September 1939

December 1941


January 1942

March 24, 1942

March 28, 1942

November 1942

April 1943

June 21, 1943

September 1944

November 1946

February 1, 1983

March 1984

November 12, 1986

November 1986

October 5, 1987

November 24, 2015


October 19, 1916


Minoru "Min" Yasui born in Hood River, Oregon. Third son of Masuo and Shidzuyo Yasui.

Admitted to practice law in Oregon, the first Japanese American member of the Oregon State Bar. Unable to find employment with established law firms in Oregon.


Accepts position as Consular Attaché for Consulate General of Japan in Chicago, writing letters and speeches and performing other work requiring use of English.

Immediately following bombing of Pearl Harbor, Min resigns his position with Japanese Consulate and returns to Oregon. He had been commissioned a second lieutenant in the ROTC. Receives orders to report for duty in Fort Vancouver, Washington, but there he is told his service is not acceptable because of his ancestry.


Opens law practice in Portland, OR, to help persons of Japanese ancestry with legal issues during the chaotic and turbulent times following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. He is inundated with requests for legal assistance; at this time, he is the only practicing attorney of Japanese ancestry in Oregon.


Lt. General John L. DeWitt, Military Commander of the Western Defense Command, issues Public Proclamation No. 3, imposing travel restrictions and a military curfew upon German aliens, Italian aliens and all persons of Japanese ancestry. The proclamation applies to American citizens of Japanese descent as well, but not American citizens of German or Italian descent. 


Unable to find a volunteer for his test case, Min walks the streets of Portland. After several hours with no result, Min then goes to the Portland Police station, where he is arrested, and spends two nights in jail.


A Judge concludes that Min renounced his U.S. citizenship by working for the Japanese Consulate in Chicago and therefore had disobeyed a lawful regulation governing enemy aliens, finding him guilty. Min spends nine months in solitary confinement, in a six-by-eight-foot windowless cell in Multnomah County Jail, awaiting his appeal.


After arguments are filed, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals certifies Min’s case to the Supreme Court of the United States.


Marries True Shibata, originally from California, but interned at the Amache Relocation Camp in Granada, Colorado. She relocates to Denver after her release from Amache. Min and True have three children – Iris, Laurel and Holly.


Moves to Denver, Colorado where his mother and sister are residing and enrolls in a bar exam review course at the University of Denver.

Supreme Court rules curfew order constitutional as applied to U.S. citizens due to “military necessity.”

Min’s lead attorney, Peggy Nagae, files a writ of error coram nobis in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon in order to re-open his World War II case based on the release of previously classified documents under the Freedom of Information Act. Min’s petition requests the court to vacate his conviction, dismiss the underlying indictment, make findings of governmental misconduct and declare unconstitutional Public Proclamation No. 3, under which he had been convicted.


1983_coramnnobis team.jpg

Receives U.S. Department of Justice “Community Service Award.”

While his case is on appeal at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Minoru Yasui dies in Denver, Colorado.

The government moves to dismiss Min Yasui’s coram nobis appeal on the grounds that the plaintiff is deceased and, therefore, the case is moot. The Ninth Circuit grants the government’s motion to dismiss, and the case is appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.


The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the lower court’s ruling, thus ending the coram nobis appeal.

Minoru Yasui posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama


Oregon state legislature unanimously designates March 28 as Minoru Yasui Day in perpetuity.

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(with additional dates)

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