Progress Through Precedent: A Reenactment of U.S. v. Oyama

October 26, 2023
6:30pm - 7:45pm
Virtual and In-Person (UB School of Law)
Young child in a field with a man using a lawn tool in the background

In 1934, Kajiro Oyama, a Japanese-American farmer, purchased six acres of land in Chula Vista, California. In 1937, he bought two adjacent acres. At the time, California’s Alien Land Law prohibited “aliens ineligible for American citizenship” from owning land, and under federal law, Oyama was ineligible for naturalization, even though he had been living in this country for 20 years. Oyama bought the land in the name of his son Fred who was born in California.

The State of California brought an action to escheat the land to the State on the grounds the land was purchased in Fred’s name as “fraud upon the People of the State of California.” The case would eventually reach the United States Supreme Court.

This live and virtual CLE presentation by attorneys of Phillips Lytle LLP and faculty and students from the University at Buffalo Law School features a script prepared by the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) Trial Reenactment Team. Through narration and reenactment of court proceedings, as well as historical photographs, it will tell a story of Kajiro and Fred Oyama, which continues to resonate today.