Densho Digital Archive - Kara Kondo Interview (denshovh-kkara-01-0051)
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Title: Kara Kondo Interview
Narrator: Kara Kondo
Interviewers: Alice Ito (primary), Gail Nomura (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 7 & 8, 2002
Densho ID: denshovh-kkara-01-0051

<Begin Segment 51>

AI: I'm wondering about the process of getting support from the other Japanese Americans, themselves.

KK: Well, there were... some among us who felt that this was unnecessary. They wouldn't take the money even if it was approved. I don't know, I didn't question why they would not support it or why they felt that way. I don't think we need to challenge these ideas unless they are, wish to be challenged. But in preparing for the hearings that occurred in Seattle, I remember that the JACL had invited people with stories that, of their coming, returning, and some of the reasons for their support of redress, to come for a, just an initial planning meeting. And it was there that I believe some of the people talked about their firsthand experience for the first time. And there were many instances that really pointed out what we knew was unfair and unjust and... but having their, the third generation, or the second, Niseis, tell what happened to their parents, what happened to their business, what happened to... what toll it took.

I remember, particularly, about this man that had a, whose parents had a dairy farm on the peninsula around, I think it would be, oh, around Bremerton, or perhaps in that area there, that probably -- I don't really remember, but I thought, what a strange, you know, we never knew that they had dairies out there, and it was run, a very large dairy farm, successful dairy farm, was run by a Japanese family. And he talked about his father, who had never talked about being, evacuation. When he was in the hospital, how all this came out. And that it was when the son who was telling this story, and how his father died. And how, how it had affected his father, who had been silent and had accepted and had gone through the period and how it had affected him. And, of course, they were never able to regain that, their dairy. And so the son, who told the story... it made a lasting impression on me.

And there were stories that -- unbelievable stories -- that people told for the first time and probably never, they didn't appear at the commission hearings, either. But, so the process of securing redress in its many forms. It were the, they were the personal stories that really made the difference, I think, to the, to the commission themselves.

AI: You're speaking of the United States Commission --

KK: Yes.

AI: -- on Wartime --

KK: Wartime --

AI: -- Internment and Relocation of Civilians. [Ed. note: interviewer is referring to the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians.]

KK: And I've heard George Somekawa talk -- who was on the commission -- telling about that, too. That it was the stories that made the difference.

<End Segment 51> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.