Monday, January 27, 2014

Date: January 21, 2014

The Cat Who Chose to Dream, A Children’s Book, to be Recognized as Part of Fred Korematsu Day at the California State Capitol on January 30

Dixon, CA – The Cat Who Chose to Dream
, a children’s book featuring the art of Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani, who was formerly incarcerated at Tule Lake, will be recognized at the California State Capitol on Fred Korematsu Day, January 30, 2014.  Fred Korematsu Day commemorates Fred T. Korematsu, a Japanese American who was arrested for his refusal to report to a Japanese American prison camp during World War II. Dr. Loriene Honda, author of The Cat Who Chose to Dream, and Mr. Lawrence Honda, Dr. Honda’s father who was held at Manzanar, will be recognized on the Assembly floor.  Assembly Member Mariko Yamada, herself the daughter of Japanese Americans who were imprisoned at Manzanar, has helped coordinate the recognition for The Cat Who Chose to Dream at the Capitol.   

Fred T. Korematsu was born on January 30, 1919 to Japanese immigrant parents. He refused to go to the World War II prison camps, and was arrested. Fred challenged this breach of constitutional rights in court, losing ultimately at the Supreme Court in 1944. Dissenting from the decision, Supreme Court Justice Frank Murphy pronounced the court’s judgment the “legalization of racism.” After the War, Fred did not talk about what had happened for years. Later in his life, he began to speak out for civil rights again. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton. During the last years of his life, Fred sought to protect the civil rights of people of Middle Eastern descent after September 11, 2001. Fred passed away in 2005 in Northern California.  

The Cat Who Chose to Dream shares the story of a cat’s choice to be incarcerated at a World War II prison camp as a gesture of loving support to the Japanese American family to whom he belongs. We witness through the cat’s eyes the devastating condition of the camp, as well as the sense of injustice he feels seeing his family go through this demoralizing experience. Young readers also share in the cat’s triumph over feelings of hopelessness and anger, as they witness the cat’s use of breathing and visualization exercises that help transport his creative mind to a place in his heart where he no longer feels encumbered and restrained, but self-empowered and free. Through the beautiful artwork of Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani, and the inclusion of therapeutic relaxation and visualization techniques, child psychologist Loriene Honda demonstrates how the imaginative mind can prove to be one’s most powerful tool in surpassing adversity.  

“It is my hope that the book will be of great benefit not only to young readers, grades 2nd to 5th specifically, but to educators, therapists, and general audiences as well.” said Dr. Honda.

Assembly Member Yamada will host a reception for Dr. Honda in Room 317 of the State Capitol on January 30th at 10am.  Members of the public are invited to attend.  Please contact her office at (916) 319-2004 for any questions or to RSVP.   

          For more information and/or to schedule an interview with Dr. Loriene Honda,
          contact Angelina McKinsey at or 707-318-4970.

Other Events:

Fred T. Korematsu Elementary School, Davis, CA, 6:30-8:00pm. Dr. Honda will be included in program,
a reading of children’s book & book signing, 40% of book sales donated to school’s PTO.  

The California Museum in Sacramento offering exhibits related to this topic.

Legacy of a Lost Neighborhood – Jan 25 11:00-1:00;
Art of Gaman – Jan 19-May 11; Time of Remembrance – Jan 21-Mar 21  

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