Law professor Eric Yamamoto honored by a national law consortium

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Cynthia D. Quinn, (808) 956-7966
Interim Associate Dean for Student Services, William S Richardson School of Law
Beverly Creamer, (808) 389-5736
Media Consultant, William S. Richardson School of Law
Posted: Feb 1, 2012

Eric Yamamoto, a professor at the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, recently received an important honor that recognizes his devotion to the struggle for justice and his mentorship of promising legal scholars.

The nationwide Consortium of Asian Pacific American Law professors created an annual award in his name – the “Professor Eric Y. Yamamoto Emerging Scholar Award” – to be given to an early-career law professor at any law school in the United States who demonstrates outstanding promise.

Law School Dean Avi Soifer said, “This truly is a perfect fit--it rightfully honors Professor Yamamoto for his own extraordinary work in seeking restorative justice while it also celebrates and aids others who are following his exemplary professional career.”

Yamamoto is an internationally-renowned authority on issues of redress and reconciliation and he has written and spoken extensively about how healing the wounds of past injustice by “doing justice” now can reach deeply into a nation’s social fabric.

He served as a member of the Korematsu coram nobis legal team that, in 1984, successfully challenged the unconstitutionality of the government’s World War II incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans. This rarely-granted legal action revealed falsified government claims of military necessity. It also exposed racial prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership and it became the legal cornerstone for the federal 1988 Civil Liberties Act, including a presidential apology, reparations, and a public education fund.

“Redressing the deep wounds of injustice has become significant to the future of civil societies almost everywhere,” Yamamoto said in his keynote speech in September at last year’s Hawai‘i State Bar Association annual convention. “Japanese American redress opened society’s eyes to the value of healing the wounds of government injustice.”

Yamamoto inspires law students and beginning lawyers through the rigorous Scholar Advocates program he created, which is designed to generate and translate cutting-edge justice theories for front-line practice. He also does extensive work with new law teacher-scholars to encourage success throughout  the arduous process of writing and publishing.

The new, annual “Eric Y. Yamamoto Emerging Scholar Award” recognizes Yamamoto for his long history of inspiring promising legal scholars and for his own exemplary scholarly achievements, as well as for his abiding commitment to encouraging and mentoring promising emerging scholars.