Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Finding aid for the William M. Marutani Papers
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Project Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: William M. Marutani papers
    Dates: 1942-1983
    Bulk Dates: (bulk 1980-1983)
    Collection number: 98.9
    Creator: William Marutani, 1923-2004
    Repository: Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Los Angeles, California 90012
    Abstract: Philadelphia judge, the Honorable William M. Marutani (1923-2004), was the only Japanese American commissioner to sit on the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC). The CWRIC was a congressional commission established in 1980 and charged with studying the mass removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and recommending an appropriate remedy. The collection documents Judge Marutani's participation in the CWRIC, especially the hearings held across the country as part of the commission's research. In addition to hearing transcripts, the collection includes written statements by individuals, organizations, and drafts of Personal Justice Denied (the CWRIC report).
    Physical location: Japanese American National Museum 100 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012


    By appointment only. Please Contact the Collections Management and Access Unit by email (collections@janm.org) or telephone (213-830-5615).

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in this collection must be submitted to the Hirasaki National Resource Center at the Japanese American National Museum (collections@janm.org).

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], William M. Marutani papers. 98.9, Japanese American National Museum. Los Angeles, CA.

    Project Information

    This finding aid was created as part of a project funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The project started in 2007. Project Director was Yoko Shimojo and the Project Archivist was Marlon Romero.

    Biography / Administrative History

    The Honorable William M. Marutani (1923-2004) was a second generation Japanese American (Nisei) born in the state of Washington. During the early part of World War II he was interned for six months in Pinedale and Tule Lake. Later during the war he served in the U.S. Military Intelligence Service as a second lieutenant with the Army of Occupation in Japan. In the summer of 1947, Marutani attended the University of Chicago Law School. With a law degree to his credentials he moved to Philadelphia where he practiced law and established a distinguished legal career as a lawyer and judge. In 1975, he was appointed to the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia County making him the first Asian American judge in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. From 1980-1983, Judge Marutani sat as a commissioner for the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC).
    The CWRIC was created to conduct an official governmental study of the facts, circumstances, and impact surrounding Executive Order 9066. In addition, the commission also reviewed the directives of United States military forces requiring the relocation and detention in concentration camps of American citizens, including Aleut civilians, and permanent resident aliens of the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands. From July to December of 1981 the CWRIC held eleven hearings in ten cities throughout the United States. More than 750 witnesses testified before the commission.
    On February 1983 the commission released its findings in the report titled, Personal Justice Denied. The major finding of the report stated:
    The promulgation of Executive Order 9066 was not justified by military necessity...The broad historical causes which shaped these decisions were race, prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership. Widespread ignorance of Japanese Americans contributed to a policy conceived in haste and executed in an atmosphere of fear and anger at Japan.
    Personal Justice Denied also addressed the injustices experienced by the Aleuts and Pribilof Islanders. The CWRIC accepted the U.S. government's reason for the evacuation of the Aleuts, but they could not find any justification for the treatment of the Aleuts in the camps.
    Four months after the release of the findings, the CWRIC issued out their recommendations for redress.
    For Japanese Americans:

    1. Congress should pass a joint resolution apologizing for the injustice done, and the president should sign this resolution;

    2. A presidential pardon should be given to those convicted of curfew or exclusion order violations;

    3. Congress should direct executive agencies to review with liberality Japanese Americans' applications for "restitution of positions, status, or entitlements lost" during the war;

    4. Congress should appropriate money for an educational and humanitarian foundation that would sponsor research and public educational activities; and

    5. Congress should appropriate $1.5 billion to provide $20,000 in individual compensation to every surviving evacuee and internee.
    For Aleut and Pribilof Islanders:

    1. The establishment of a $5 million trust fund to compensate both the Aleut community and individuals for losses and injuries they suffered because of their evacuation;

    2. Direct individual payments of $5,000 to those surviving Aleuts who were evacuated from the Aleutian or Pribilof Islands by the federal government during World War II;

    3. The government restoration of Aleut village churches that were damaged or destroyed during World War II;

    4. The removal of military debris remaining on the Aleutian Islands; and

    5. A declaration by Congress that Attu Island is native land and the transfer of Attu Island to the Aleuts Native Corporation.
    Commissioner Marutani was a strong supporter of monetary compensation for internees. He felt that, "this society's currency medium of acknowledgment of wrong involves something more than an apology. An apology may be helpful, but the currency medium is money...I think as a group we were torn a little bit between the cultural aspect of an apology, which means a great deal within the Asian culture. But within the western culture, it is money which has significance." (Marutani 1998, 26) As a commissioner of the CWRIC he felt it was important to relinquish any monetary redress payments to ensure his credibility and to avoid any criticism on his participation on the commission.
    The CWRIC's findings helped educate and change the public perception about the experiences of camp internees. No longer was there any argument on whether internment was wrong or right. The argument now focused on what the government can do to right the wrong. Personal Justice Denied "dispelled the myth of military necessity and indicated that the exclusion and incarceration were the result of failed political leadership." (Maki, Kitano, and Berthold 1999, 115) The commission hearings and findings helped convince members of Congress to redress the wrong and unjustifiable acts conducted by the government during World War II.

    Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. Personal Justice Denied. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, December 1982.

    Maki, Mitchell T., Kitano, Harry H. L., and Berthold, S. Megan. 1993. Achieving the Impossible Dream: How Japanese Americans Obtained Redress. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

    Marutani, William. Redress Oral History Project (1998-1999). Mitchell Maki interviews the Honorable William Marutani, Media, Pennsylvania, August 27, 1998. Los Angeles: Japanese American National Museum.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Judge William Marutani Papers focus on the work and research of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC). The principles of provenance have been closely followed to preserve Judge Marutani's original filing arrangement. This collection of manuscripts is divided into six series: Administrative Records, CWRIC Report, Hearings, JACL, Statements and Testimonials, The Alaskan Experience.
    Series 1: Administrative Records

    This series contains administrative records of the CWRIC. There are financial records, staffing information, meeting minutes, and resumes of applicants requesting to be a part of the CWRIC staff.
    Series 2: CWRIC Report

    This series focuses primarily on the CWRIC's report entitled Personal Justice Denied. There are four sub-series in this section: Personal Justice Denied, Economic Losses, Remedies, and Research Materials.
    The first sub-series titled Personal Justice Denied contains various drafts of the redress report created by the CWRIC as well as the drafts of the commission's recommendations on redress. The drafts are arranged chronologically and are followed by papers on terminology and William Marutani's notes.
    The second sub-series contains reports on the income and property losses experienced by internees. Two sets of economic reports were compiled for the CWRIC by ICF Incorporated.
    The third sub-series consists of various recommendations on remedies for redress. These were submitted to William Marutani as suggested inclusions for the CWRIC's official recommendations report. There are recommendations submitted by Gordon Hirabayashi and the JACL to name a few.
    The fourth sub-series contains research materials collected by Judge Marutani. Some materials include newspaper clippings, a U.S. government organizational chart during World War II, a writ of error coram nobis of Korematsu v. United States, and the Munson Report. These are arranged alphabetically by folder title.
    Series 3: Hearings

    This series contains transcripts from the CWRIC hearings in Washington D.C., New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The hearings are arranged chronologically.
    Series 4: JACL

    The fourth series contains the correspondences and reports from the JACL that Marutani collected. The series is arranged by dates; documents with no dates are placed at the end of the folder.
    Series 5: Statements and Testimonials

    The fifth series is the largest series in the collection, it contains a mixture of academic papers, oral testimonies, and written testimonies that were presented to the CWRIC. Some of the testimonials included are from key political figures during World War II such as John McCloy and Karl Bendetson. The series is arranged alphabetically by the name of the geographic location then within those folders the statements are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the person. The final two folders in this series are organized based on Judge Marutani's original arrangement. It includes a table of contents as a guide.
    Series 6: The Alaskan Experience

    This series contains all of the materials relating to the Aleuts and Pribilof Islanders. There are testimonies, transcripts of hearings, and examinations of the Aleut Experience during World War II. This series is arranged alphabetically.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Marutani, William M.
    Japanese Americans
    World War II
    Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945.
    Civil rights
    20th century
    Reparations for historical injustices.
    United States. Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians
    United States. Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. Personal justice denied