Lima, Peru to Crystal City, Texas
Art (Isamu) Shibayama was born in Peru. He was raised by his grandparents and spent much of his early life under idyllic circumstances. However all this changed when he was thirteen.
Under armed guard, he and his immediate family members were brought to the United States as captives aboard the USAT Cuba in 1944. He and his family were held as hostages in a Department of Justice camp in Crystal City, Texas to be used in prisoner exchanges with Japan during WWII. His maternal grandparents, Kinzo and Misae Ishibashi, were sent away in a POW exchange and were never seen again by their grandson, Art.
After he and his family were released from imprisonment, the US tried to send them back to Peru, but Peru refused to allow his parents to return. Now stateless, the Shibayama family fought deportation to Japan through the efforts of civil rights attorney Wayne M. Collins.
Seabrook Farms, NJ to Chicago
The Shibayama family remained in the United States under the sponsorship of Seabrook Farms in New Jersey. Art and his sister, Fusa, worked to help support their family and forfeited their opportunity to continue their education.
In 1949, Art's father Yuzo Shibayama and his family moved to Chicago. Where Art met his future wife, Betty Morita. After their engagement, he was drafted into the US Army, despite his status as an illegal alien. While in the army, a warrant officer applied for US citizenship on Art's behalf. The application was denied on the basis that Art had come to the United States illegally.
After he was discharged from the Army, he returned to Chicago and then traveled north to Canada and re-entered the United States to gain legal entry status.
Art moved with Betty and his two children to San Jose, California to start his own gas station and car repair business.
Chicago to San Jose, CA
Art finally gained US citizenship in 1972, only to find himself excluded from the settlement of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, granting redress to Japanese Americans. Former Japanese Latin American internees decided to revive their own struggle for redress. Their efforts resulted in an out of court settlement of $5000 in 1999. However, Art rejected it saying that it didn't reflect the scope and severity of the injuries sustained by his family.
In 2000, Art and his two brothers launched the Shibayama, et al. v. US lawsuit, for their exclusion for redress under the Civil Rights Act of 1988. But the lawsuit was dismissed on procedural grounds.
After exhausting domestic remedies through legislation and the courts, the Shibayama brothers filed a petition with the human rights commission of the OAS in 2003. Art and his daughter Bekki testified before the Commission in March 2017.
A ruling by the OAS is still outstanding.