Discussion of ‘Hold These Truths’ at Gardena Valley JCI

GARDENA — On Saturday, Oct. 21, the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute will present a program featuring playwright Jeanne Sakata, who will talk about her critically acclaimed play, “Hold These Truths.”

The program will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. at GVJCI’s Nisei Veterans Memorial Hall, 1964 W. 162nd St. in Gardena.

Playwright Jeanne Sakata and actor Ryun Yu (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

The play tells the inspirational true story of Gordon Hirabayashi (1918-2012), a civil rights pioneer, to whom President Obama posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2012.

During World War II in Seattle, Hirabayashi fought the U.S. government’s curfew imposed on Japanese Americans and its subsequent orders to forcibly remove and mass incarcerate all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast. As he struggled to reconcile his country’s betrayal with his passionate belief in the U.S. Constitution, he began a 50-year journey toward a greater understanding of America’s triumphs — and a confrontation with its failures. His resistance resulted in the case that bears his name, Hirabayashi v. United States.

Sakata’s one-man play as been performed from coast to coast to rave reviews; it was last produced by the Pasadena Playhouse in June. Sakata will talk about her play, followed by the performance of several key scenes by actor Ryun Yu, who starred in the Pasadena Playhouse’s production as well as the original production, then titled “Dawn’s Light,” at East West Players a decade ago.