Efforts to Stop the Newspaper Industry’s Use of the Word “Jap” – Shosuke Sasaki

Efforts to Stop the Newspaper Industry’s Use of the Word “Jap” – Shosuke Sasaki


When you were in New York, you wrote a pamphlet
called “How to Attack the Newspaper Use of the Word ‘Jap.'” And you wrote a long sample
case history of how to do it. Can you tell us, just in brief, how did you get, why did
you launch that campaign in New York and how did you get them to stop using the word “Jap”
in newspapers? Well, I got — at Standard and Poor’s was
one unit, a Newspaper Guild unit representing the Standard and Poor’s group. In time they
came, they asked me if I would serve as an alternate delegate to the monthly meeting
of the guild organization, representing the guild. And when they asked me if I would become
an alternate delegate, I said, “Well, might as well.” So I did. And when I went to those
meetings as an alternate delegate, I learned that the guild had a provision already enacted
stating themselves to be against the use of derogatory epithets in American publications.
So I asked them, “How about the word ‘Jap’? It’s not in the prohibited list,” and they
said, “Well, I guess that’s because we never thought about it. Nobody asked.” So I said,
“Well I’m asking right now that that be on the…” [Laughs] They took it up with the
next guild executive committee meeting and they put the word “Jap” there on the proscribed
list. And not only that, they thought that was such a good idea, that they volunteered
to bring it up at the national guild convention that was being held in the autumn of that
year in Portland and so they revised my original proposal a little bit. No real substantive
change and they presented it with the backing of the Standard and Poor’s unit and they passed
the thing applying on a national basis. And that’s what really did the trick. That piece
of news got into practically every newspaper in the country. Really? Yeah. It was the first? First time any organization had come out in
open opposition to the use of the word “Jap.”

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