Principles learned from family guide Tamaki’s dedication to justice

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Blaine Tamaki’s family’s history weighs on him — especially the story about his father, George, who at 8 years old was sent along with his parents to an internment camp during World War II. George Tamaki was among some 117,000 people of Japanese descent — many of them U.S. citizens — sent to the camps as a result of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066.

George Tamaki was the youngest of five children. His parents lost their home, jobs and nearly all of their belongings, Blaine Tamaki, 60, recalled one recent afternoon at his Yakima law office.

“They were given 48 hours to sell everything and report to a station to be transported to a temporary center.” Tamaki said. “They were allowed one or two suitcases each and if they couldn’t squeeze it into a suitcase, they had to leave it behind.”

After three years, George Tamaki’s family was released and they returned to the San Francisco Bay area, where his father worked as a gardener. The family was forced to start over.

That story, Tamaki says, is the driving force behind his efforts as a plaintiff’s trial lawyer — work that has earned him high marks in the legal community across the state.

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