Kawakita v. United States
United States Supreme Court
343 U.S. 717 (1952)
In 1921, Tomoya Kawakita (defendant) was born in the United States to parents who were citizens of Japan, making him both a United States citizen and a national of Japan. At the age of 18, Kawakita took the customary oath of allegiance to obtain a United States passport and used that passport to travel to Japan. In 1940, Kawakita registered with an American consul in Japan as an American citizen. Kawakita was enrolled in Meiji University when war was declared. Kawakita was unable to return to the United States. In 1943, Kawakita registered in the Koseki, a Japanese family census register. Kawakita had his name removed as an alien and changed his address from the United States to Japan. Kawakita began working as an interpreter with Oeyama Nickel Industry Co., Ltd. (Oeyama) as an interpreter. Oeyama was a private company that produced munitions under contract for the Japanese government. During his employment with Oeyama, Kawakita engaged in abusive conduct towards American prisoners. Kawakita hit, kicked, pushed, and forced prisoners to work more and produce more munitions. In 1945, Kawakita applied for registration as an American citizen and was issued a passport. Kawakita returned to the United States and was recognized by a former prisoner and was arrested. The United States (plaintiff) indicted Kawakita for treason because of the overt acts relating to his treatment of American prisoners. Kawakita argued that he had renounced his American citizenship and was expatriated and that he could only be guilty of treason to the country where he resided. After a jury trial, Kawakita was found guilty of treason. The trial judge imposed the death sentence. Kawakita appealed, and the judgment was affirmed. The Supreme Court granted cert.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Douglas, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 710,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 710,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 44,600 briefs, keyed to 983 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.