Quiet Defiance: Alaska's Empty Chair Story

By Karleen Grummett
John Tanaka was about to graduate as valedictorian of his class when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. After he and 52 Japanese Americans were taken by Army transport from Juneau, Alaska, to incarceration camps, an empty chair was left at graduation to honor John, and by extension, all those taken from their homes. This book narrates the history of Japanese Americans in Juneau when it was a small, tightly-knit and remote community accessible only by water. It shows how they reacted to their forced removal from Juneau, how their spirit and resolve helped them live during imprisonment and how they renewed their lives following it. The story also describes how the community's cross-cultural ties and friendships rallied support for their missing friends and led to a quest for justice more than 70 years later.