Emi, Frank Seishi


Frank Seishi Emi was born on September 23, 1916, in Los Angeles, to Yonosuke and Tsune Emi. He had a brother and two sisters. Emi attended local schools and in 1937 traveled to Japan for three months as part of a wrestling team. After school, he worked first in his father’s fruit and vegetable market and then started his own grocery store. Emi, his wife Amy, and daughter Kathleen lived in the Los Angeles neighborhood known as J-Flats. During the forced removal, they were sent first to the Pomona Assembly Center on May 10, 1942, and then to Heart Mountain on August 21, 1942. The family lived in 9-21-C, where they had a son, Grant, who was born on December 5, 1943. 

Emi answered No to Question 27 of the loyalty questionnaire. He gave a vague answer to Question 28, adding that “I am mentally incapable of answering surely.” He remained in Heart Mountain and became active in the Fair Play Committee after the start of the military draft in early 1944. Despite his activity in the Fair Play Committee, Emi was granted leave clearance in June 1944. Before Emi could leave, however, he was arrested on July 20, 1944, for encouraging men to violate the Selective Service Act with the other leaders of the Fair Play Committee. Emi was tried and convicted with the other Fair Play Committee leaders in October 1944. He was sentenced to four years in the federal prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. But the federal appeals court in Denver overturned the conviction on December 26, 1945, ruling that the judge had erred in making his instructions to the jury in the 1944 case. 

After his release from prison, Emi returned to his family in Los Angeles, where he worked for the U.S. Postal Service. Emi appeared in documentaries about the draft resisters and spoke often to groups about the civil rights issues involved in the resistance. He died on December 1, 2010, in West Covina, California.

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