Seattle JACL Oral History Collection

Seattle Chapter JACL
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In September 2021, the Seattle Chapter of Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) celebrated its 100th Anniversary. This collection of interviews is a part of Seattle JACL's project to document and pass on its history and legacy. Underwritten by grants from the National JACL Legacy Fund and the Robert Chinn Foundation, teams of Seattle JACL members and University of Washington student interns interviewed key Seattle JACL leaders. In cases where a key leader is deceased, the interview team led a conversation with the leader's friends and family. In researching Seattle JACL's history, the Chapter recognized the debt owed to leaders who had the vision and perseverance to inspire members and transform the Chapter into an organization of activism and advocacy. The interviews were designed as "conversations" not only to focus on facts and events, but to delve deeper into the climate of the period in which these leaders served and the barriers that they overcame. The interviews involved iconic leaders from earlier years who created Seattle JACL legacy of today and also current leaders who are creating Seattle JACL legacy for tomorrow.



Seattle JACL

Courtesy of Seattle JACL, Densho

21 Objects

In Memory of Phil Hayasaka Interview (ddr-sjacl-2-22)
vh In Memory of Phil Hayasaka Interview (ddr-sjacl-2-22)
In this interview, Camila Nakashima and Bill Tashima interviewed Lois Hayasaka, widow of the late Phil Hayasaka, Seattle JACL Chapter President in 1961. Hayasaka was a visionary leader who fiercely advocated for JACL to advocate for all people in the 1960's civil rights struggles. As chair of the Chapter's Civil Rights and Human Rights committee and …
Tomio Moriguchi Interview (ddr-sjacl-2-23)
vh Tomio Moriguchi Interview (ddr-sjacl-2-23)
Kristen M. Eng and Bill Tashima interviewed Tomio Moriguchi. While Moriguchi is often associated with Uwajimaya, Moriguchi's community activism includes co-chairing MOHAI"s "Pride and Shame" exhibit, displaying WWII JA experience through the "Pride" of the Japanese Americans and the "Shame" of racial prejudice, wartime hysteria, and lack of government leadership. This exhibit later toured throughout Washington …
Janice Deguchi Interview (ddr-sjacl-2-24)
vh Janice Deguchi Interview (ddr-sjacl-2-24)
Alison Fujimoto and Joy St. Germain interviewed 1998 Chapter President, Janice Deguchi. During her tenure, third generation Sansei Deguchi was one of the youngest Chapter Presidents. Deguchi helped lead the Chapter in forming a coalition of PoC groups to fight an initiative that would bar Affirmative Action programs in Washington State. Although unsuccessful, Deguchi and other …
Ryan Chin Interview (ddr-sjacl-2-25)
vh Ryan Chin Interview (ddr-sjacl-2-25)
Camila Nakashima and Bill Tashima interviewed Ryan Chin. Ryan Chin was Seattle JACL Chapter President in 2011 and was also a three-time National JACL Vice-President. Chin became active with Seattle JACL as a student at UW and organized successful events. As President, Chin was transformative in bringing the Chapter into the age of technology and worked …
Akemi Matsumoto Interview (ddr-sjacl-2-26)
vh Akemi Matsumoto Interview (ddr-sjacl-2-26)
Alison Fujimoto and Dr. Kyle Kinoshita interviewed Akemi Matsumoto. Akemi Matsumoto first joined Seattle JACL in the 1970s as a fresh Sansei student activist. Thiis activism continued through her Chapter Presidency in 2001. Matsumoto was a firm believer achieving change through political clout via effective coalition building. Matsumoto continued her activities with Seattle JACL by connecting …
Sharon Sobie Seymour Interview (ddr-sjacl-2-27)
vh Sharon Sobie Seymour Interview (ddr-sjacl-2-27)
Kristen M. Eng and Bill Tashima interviewed Sharon Sobie Seymour. Seymour was Seattle Chapter President in 2000 was the first "hapa" or mixed-race Japanese American Seattle JACL President. Seymour represented a new wave of JACL leaders. Seymour led the Chapter to engage in broadening the Chapter's educational programs by teaming with other Chapter members to conduct …
HyeEun Park Interview (ddr-sjacl-2-28)
vh HyeEun Park Interview (ddr-sjacl-2-28)
Brent Seto and Bill Tashima interviewed HyeEun Park. HyeEun Park was Chapter President in 2013 and as a Korean American was the Seattle JACL's first non-Nikkei President. Park was deeply concerned with the lack of equity and equality in our justice system. Park pushed the Chapter to host an event to remember the anniversary of Vincent …
Gabrielle Nomura Gainor Interview (ddr-sjacl-2-29)
vh Gabrielle Nomura Gainor Interview (ddr-sjacl-2-29)
Ana Tanaka and Dr. Kyle Kinoshita interview Gabrielle Kazuko Nomura Gainor. Gainor is a mixed-race Gosei (fifth generation Japanese American) who represents the next generation of mixed-race Nikkei activists and artists who use their skills as a platform to raise their voices to bring issues of BIPoC legacy and social justice to the table. As a …
Theo Bickel Interview (ddr-sjacl-2-30)
vh Theo Bickel Interview (ddr-sjacl-2-30)
Elaine Kim and Joy Misako St. Germain interviewed Theo Bickel. Theo's introduction to JACL was as an intern at the National JACL. At a JACL National Convention in Las Vegas, Bill Tashima invited Theo to work with and collaborate with the Seattle JACL Chapter. Theo's focus has been to strengthen communications among JACL members, executive JACL …
Sarah Baker Interview (ddr-sjacl-2-31)
vh Sarah Baker Interview (ddr-sjacl-2-31)
Brent Seto and Bill Tashima interviewed Sarah E. Baker. Baker was a four-time Chapter president from 2016-2019, two-time National JACL Vice-President from 2018-2022, local activist, community organizer, actor/dancer/director who balanced these tasks while working full time and being a full-time undergraduate/graduate student. Baker organized two community-wide gatherings to support API LGBTQ+ youth and families, galvanized Seattle …

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