Eulogy for Mr. Norman Mineta by President Fujisaki

Former US Congressman and Secretary of Commerce and Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta passed away. What sad news. He was a great stateman and will be missed by so many Americans and Japanese alike. I always felt I was so lucky to be a contemporary and friends with two giants of the Japanese American community. They of course are Congressman Norman Mineta and Senator Daniel Inouye. There never have been such giants before and is unlikely that we will have them in the foreseeable future. Norm was a man of insight, decision and wisdom. But he always covered them with decency and smile. His accomplishments are well known including his instant decision to order the grounding of all the airplanes flying above the States right after the 9.11 attack. Here, I would write only my very personal memory regarding him. About 10 years ago, I came across him at LaGuardia Airport, LA. Both of us were trying to catch the red eye flight to go back to DC. Going through the airport security system, Norm had trouble passing that transparent tube where one has to raise both arms like facing a hold-up. He was asked to try three times. The famous former Secretary of Transportation obeyed the instruction gently without any grumbling. Only a shy smile. I thought “That’s Norm !” Second time was when I thought Japanese American Community should more remember and honor wartime Colorado Governor Ralph Carr, who was against internment of Japanese Americans only to ruin his own political career. I could think of no one to confer with but Norm who had experienced internment himself. He instantly agreed to establish Ralph Carr Award in the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). He did not show any hesitation and madethe decision right away. I thought, “That’s Norm!”

A giant star has fallen. He has left legacy to all of us in the States and in Japan. May his soul rest peacefully in heaven.


Ichiro Fujisaki

President, The America-Japan Society Inc.





会長 藤崎一郎