Victory Without Swords: The Story of Pat and Lily Okura, Japanese American Citizens in 1941 America
by Robert B. Kugel, M.D.
This is the story of Pat and Lily Okura, Japanese American citizens who were caught up in the unhappy and shameful circumstances following the declaration of war against Japan in 1941 and were declared aliens. Pat and Lily were first sent to the center at Santa Anita Race Track outside Los Angeles, California. Through a series of fortunate events, they were able to leave several months later when Pat, the first graduate of Japanese ancestry from the UCLA psychology department, was offered a position as a psychologist at Father Flanagan's Boys Town in Nebraska. Prejudice against them continued, but they overcame adversity, and prospered, later moving to Washington, D.C., when Pat accepted a position as Executive Assistant to the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health. When the $20,000 reparation money was awarded to these citizens who were discriminated against in 1941, the Okuras used this money to establish a foundation to benefit mental health professionals of Asian background.
The story of the Okuras and the internment of other Japanese American families during World War II is compelling. Another interesting aspect of this story is The Japanese American Citizens League, the background of the organization, and the pivotal role they played in promoting a better life for their constituents.