GORDON KIYOSHI HIRABAYASHI Biography - Activists, Revolutionaries and other freedom fighters


Biography » activists revolutionaries and other freedom fighters » gordon kiyoshi hirabayashi


Name: Gordon Kiyoshi Hirabayashi                                                     
Born: 23 April 1918                                                                 
Gordon Kiyoshi Hirabayashi (born April 23, 1918) is a Japanese American             
sociologist, best known for his principled resistance to the                         
Japanese American internment during World War II, and the court case which bears     
his name, Hirabayashi v. United States.                                             
Hirabayashi was born in Seattle to a Christian family who were associated with       
the Muky┼Źkai Christian Movement. He graduated from Auburn High School in Auburn,   
Washington, and in 1937 went to the University of Washington, where he received     
his degree. At the University he participated in the YMCA and became a religious     
Although he at first considered accepting internment, he ultimately became one       
of three to openly defy it. He joined the Quaker-run American Friends Service       
Committee. In 1942 he turned himself into the FBI, and after being convicted for     
curfew violation was sentenced to 90 days in prison. He did this in part to         
appeal the verdict all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court with the backing of the     
ACLU. However the court unanimously ruled against him in Hirabayashi v. United       
States in 1943. Curiously they would not pay for him being sent to prison so he     
hitchhiked to the Arizona prison where he was sentenced to reside. Once there       
they stated they lacked the sufficient papers as he was two weeks late. They         
considered letting him just go home, but he feared this would look suspicious.       
After that they made the suggestion he could go out for dinner and a movie which     
would give them time to find his papers. He agreed to this and, by the time he       
finished doing so, they had found the relevant paperwork.                           
After the war he went on to earn B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in sociology from     
the University of Washington. He taught in Beirut, Lebanon and Cairo, Egypt,         
before settling at the University of Alberta in Canada in 1959, where he served     
as chair of the sociology department from 1970 until his retirement in 1983.[2]     
As a sociologist he did studies of Jordan and the Russian Doukhobors in British     
Columbia, Egyptian village political awareness, Jordanian social change, and         
Asian-Americans. He has been an active member of Canadian Yearly Meeting of the     
Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Since retirement he has been active in       
behalf of human rights.