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A look at historical front pages from the Rafu Shimpo

Japanese and Japanese American residents in Los Angeles scan the Rafu Shimpo as they learn news of the Pearl Harbor attack.
Japanese and Japanese American residents in Los Angeles scan the Rafu Shimpo as they learn news of the Pearl Harbor attack.
(Los Angeles Times Library)

These historical front pages from the Rafu Shimpo give a sense of what issues were most important to the Japanese American community in Los Angeles over the 113 years that the newspaper has existed.

Today, the paper faces a new challenge -- if it doesn't raise $500,000 in revenue, an amount that translates to 10,000 new online subscribers, the Rafu could close in December.

Take a look at some of the pre-World War II covers, as well as a front page from the late 1980s.

February 18, 1942

Francine Orr/ Los Angeles Times
Francine Orr/ Los Angeles Times

A day before President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which would force Japanese Americans along the West Coast into internment camps, the Rafu Shimpo wrote, “Our whole immediate future is uncertain” in a front-page article.

February 22, 1942

(Francine Orr/ Los Angeles times)

The lead story on the front page was the roundup of community leaders by the FBI.

February 23, 1942

(Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

Days after Executive Order 9066 was announced, the Rafu Shimpo’s front page was filled with news about the war and its effect on the Japanese American community.

April 4, 1942

Francine Orr/ Los Angeles Times
Francine Orr/ Los Angeles Times

This was the last issue the Rafu Shimpo published before its staff was sent to internment camps. A letter to readers on the front page is titled, “We’ll meet again.”

August 10, 1988

(Francine Orr/ Los Angeles Times)

The lead story on the front page was the signing of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which gave reparations and redress to Japanese Americans who were interned during the war. The act extended a formal apology and $20,000 to each interned individual.

samantha.masunaga@latimes.com

Twitter: @smasunaga


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