We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration by Frank Abe, Tamiko Nimura, Ross Ishikawa, and Matt Sasaki
Chin Music Press
Publication Date: May 18, 2021
We Hereby Refuse illustrates the experiences of three individuals—Jim Akutsu, Hiroshi Kashiwagi, and Mitsuye Endo—caught up in the US government’s decision during World War II to treat Japanese Americans as traitors. Betrayed and wronged by their country, they fight to keep their families together while struggling against physical and psychological violence and misleading information. However, their decision to challenge the loyalty oath contract causes problems within the US government and the Japanese American community. The choices they make will lead them to life-altering consequences.
Rich in detail with captivating illustrations, this graphic novel will transport readers to a time in history when Japanese Americans lost their freedom and suffered injustices. We Hereby Refuse starts unflinchingly straightforward and continues that pace until the end of the book. The book presents an in-depth view into the actions of the US government and the reactions, conflicts, and disagreements of the Japanese American community. The two art styles complement each other as it further intensifies the narrative with its surreal qualities. This heartbreakingly hopeful story encourages empathy and calls out for us to not stand by silently when others face injustice.
Fans of comics will also enjoy Displacement by Kiku Hughes, When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, and They Called Us Enemy by George Takei. Fans of films will love The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, War Horse, and The Book Thief.
Other Nominated Titles
- Asadora! v.4 by Naoki Urasawa (October 19, 2021)
- Sleepless Domain, v.1 by Mary Cagle and Oskar Vega (August 3, 2021)
- I Think Our Son Is Gay, v.2 by Okura (October 26, 2021)
- Come Home, Indio by Jim Terry (October 13, 2020)
- Sugar Falls by David A. Robertson and Scott B. Henderson (May 25, 2021)
The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.
Each week, the teams will feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation will be listed as well. At year’s end, the team will use that list of nominated titles to select a final list and Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are also made available on The Hub.