Creative Arts & Essay Contest

Linking Japanese American Internment to Your Rights Today

Deadline: Friday, January 4, 2002 at 5pm

3 Categories: Traditional Essay, Spoken Word/Poetry, Visual Art
Prizes: $500/$300/$100 in each category
Open to all Northern California high school students, 18 and under
Class projects & group entries welcome

During World War II, the federal government ordered the removal of all Japanese Americans on the West Coast, and their detention in concentration camps. This act, a violation of the Constitution, still reverberates today, or does it? Is the incarceration of Japanese Americans something in the past that won't happen again? Have you or someone you know experienced similar treatment? Can you relate internment to a situation in which the Constitutional rights of a person or group is being ignored today? If so, what does that mean to you and other Americans; if the rights of any individual or group is violated, how does that affect others?

Co-sponsored by NJAHS, the ACLU of Northern California, and the San Diego Public Library.


The National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS), the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU-NC), and the San Diego Public Library (SDPL) thanks the over 260 students who participated in the annual California state-wide creative arts competition: LOCKED IN/LOCKED OUT, funded in part by the California Civil Liberteis Public Eduction Program administered through the State Library of California.

The purpose of the contest was to 1) enable high school students to examine present-day analogies to the incarceration of Japanese American during World War II and 2) invite students to participate in the competition through publicity and outreach.

Judding from the Art, Essay and Poetry/Spoken Word categories was conducted by a panel of reviewers and representatives from each of the organizations, namely NJAHS Curator Robert Hanamura, designer Pamela Matsuoka, Principal Steve Hirabayashi, ACLU Public Relations Director Elaine Ellison, and Development Director Stan Yogi, SDPL Programs Librarian Lynn Whitehouse, and Library Assistants Eric Rife, Tony DiLullo and Luan Phan.

Finalists win $500, $300, $100 in the respected categories. NJAHS, ACLU-NC and SDPL congratulate the following winners:
The organizers are pleased to announce the winners in each category.

Essay Category:

  • 1st Place: "Kawaru" (To Change), Lauren Hashimoto, Senior, Castro Valley High School, Castro Valley.
  • 2nd Place: "The Past Will Repeat Itself," Boris Bulayev, Junior, Lowell High School, San Francisco.
  • 3rd Place: "A Blurred View of Freedom," John Burton, Junior, Narbonne High School, Harbor City.

Poetry/Spoken Word Category:

  • 1st Place: "Free Fences," Marianna Tekosky, Senior, Hamilton High School, Los Angeles.
  • 2nd Place: "Invisible Handcuffs," Elizabeth Leong, Junior, Lowell High School, San Francisco.
  • 3rd Place: "American's Rights," Oleg Ivanov, Junior, Lowell High School, San Francisco.

Visual Art:

  • 1st Place: "War Games," Candace Papp-Keeler, Sophomore, Poly High School, Riverside.
  • 2nd Place: "Freedom," Hyeihn Helen Rhee, Junior, Monta Vista High School, Cupertino.
  • 3rd Place: "Behind Protective Wires," Dung Nguyen, Senior, Hawthorne High School, Hawthorne.

We thank the following sponsors for their outreach efforts, Asian Week, KPIX-Channel 5, San Diego's KGTV Channel 10. the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego, and Japanese American Citizens League, San Diego Chapter.
(Works by the winners and honorable mentions were formally presented on February 24, 2002 at the annual Day of Remembrance Program in San Francisco at the AMC Kabuki 8 Theatres and at the JCCCNC.)


For any other questions, contact us at (415) 921-5007 or email to

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