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No Anti-Asian Crimes Noted as Pearl Harbor Day Ends

TIMES STAFF WRITER

To the relief of Japanese-Americans, Pearl Harbor Day passed without incident despite fears that the intense focus on the 50th anniversary of the Japanese attack could trigger hate crimes or other animosities toward Asians in America.

“Our office was quiet yesterday, which was really comforting,” Jimmy Tokeshi, head of the Japanese American Citizens League in Los Angeles, said Sunday. Tokeshi said he was not aware of any racially motivated attacks or other incidents in California or across the nation.

“I don’t think we were over-concerned,” Tokeshi said, noting that Pearl Harbor retrospectives had dominated newspapers, magazines, radio and television for a solid week. “I think it’s important that we took steps to be cautious.”

In the Bay Area on Dec. 2, three Molotov cocktails were thrown at the home of an elderly Japanese-American couple in San Leandro. Police said the explosives did not ignite, and no one was injured, but the incident created fears among Japanese-Americans in the Southland.

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Responding to such concerns, members of the Guardian Angels mounted volunteer patrols in Little Tokyo on Saturday, but Los Angeles police and Sheriff’s Department spokesmen said they received no reports of trouble.

Some Japanese-Americans said they decided to mark the anniversary by staying home and out of harm’s way.

“I was scared so I stayed home in bed,” said Ai Kato, 79, who went shopping at Yaohan Plaza in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday instead. “On Japanese TV, I saw it all on the news, and there were patrols all over the place. They were afraid something would happen.”

Kato said she was relieved that the anniversary was over. “There was nothing. I am thankful to America,” she said.

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Other Little Tokyo shoppers said Sunday that they felt both U. S. and Japanese media coverage of the anniversary was overblown.

“On the Japanese side, they made too much of it,” said Hideya Ohnuma, a Japanese businessman on temporary assignment here. “They thought America would come after them. I thought those fears were exaggerated.”

Kiyoko Matsuura, a 62-year-old survivor of the bombing of Hiroshima now living in Torrance, said she wished both sides would let painful memories of World War II be forgotten.

“I started crying when I saw it all on TV, all those young American boys who died,” she said. “It’s so sad. War is horrible. . . .

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“There’s nothing you can do about the past, so it’s better to go on and make a happy future,” Matsuura said. “If you keep reliving everything, there is no end to it.”


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