CARL R. GRIFFITH, JR., COUNTY JUDGE
                                                                                                        JULY 8, 2004
1149 PEARL STREET
BEAUMONT, TX 77704-4025
THE HONOURABLE CARL R. GRIFFITH, JR.     

    MY NAME IS MASARU YAMASAKI, AN AMERICAN OF JAPANESE DESCENT.  A CALIFORNIAN BY BIRTH, AND NOW A RESIDENT OF HOUSTON.  I WAS INCARCERATED IN AMERICA'S INFAMOUS CONCENTRATION CAMP DURING WORLD WAR 2.  DURING THE WAR AND AFTER, WE WERE CONSTANTLY BADGERED AND SUBJECTED TO  THE SLANDEROUS AND DEROGATORY TERM "JAPS".  BECAUSE OF OUR CONDUCT AND OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTIONS TO OUR COUNTRY, AND ESPECIALLY OUR ALL JAPANESE AMERICAN VOLUNTEER COMBAT UNIT, THE 100TH. AND 442 FOR THEIR HEROIC EFFORTS ON THE BATTLEFIELD, THE TERM "JAP" SLOWLY DISSAPEARED.  BUT NOT COMPLETELY.  AFTER THE WAR, GOVERNOR JOHN CONNALY OF TEXAS INVITED THE MEN OF THE 442, "GO FOR BROKE" TO DALLAS AND HONORED THEM BY MAKING THEM HONORARY TEXANS. THE 442 COMBAT UNIT HAD RESCUED THE LOST TEXAS BATTALION, THE 36TH. FROM BEING WIPED OUT BY THE GERMANS. 

      RECENTLY, COACH BILL PARCELLS USED THE WORD JAP AND WAS TOLD THE TERM WAS NOT ACCEPTABLE.  HE APOLOGIZED PROFUSELY AS WELL AS THE DALLAS COWBOYS ORGANIZATION.  OUR PROFESSIONAL SPORTS TEAM HAS IN THE PAST YEAR MADE AN OUTSTANDING EFFORT TO REPLACE ANY TEAM NICKNAME THAT WOULD BE DEROGATORY OR DEMEANING.  OUR UNIVERSITIES HAVE ALSO TACKLED THIS PROBLEM.  IN HOUSTON WE HAVE SATSUMA ROAD AND MYKAWA ROAD, HONORING THE EARLY JAPANESE SETTLERS.      I HOPE THE GOOD CITIZENS OF JEFFERSON AND ORANGE COUNTY WILL REVISE THEIR THINKING AND ACCEPT A NAME CHANGE THAT WILL TRULY HONOR OUR EARLY JAPANESE SETTLERS. 

SINCERELY, MASARU YAMASAKI