Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
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-01-0019

<Begin Segment 19>

AI: Well, you just mentioned the violence, and I was wondering if you would just tell us about that time in 1933 when violence was directed against your farm.

KK: The violence was really directed against the Filipino farm workers. And at that time there was a number of Filipino young men who -- I can't remember whether the women were allowed in or not -- whether they were under quota. But there were, the population of the Filipino young men who were farm workers, many of them worked, I think they either went to the cannery in the summertime and came back in time to harvest, or they stayed on the Japanese farms. And it was, they targeted the Japanese farmers that had hired Filipinos. And it was really directed toward them, although I'm sure that they're willing to bomb a Japanese farm as well as anybody else. And there were about five, I think, four or five bombings of, mainly of greenhouses or some structure that was on, not the residences, normally, but generally some structures that were on the farms. And they were not devastating bombing, but enough to do some damage and, of course, to frighten people.

And ours happened when our front porch was set on fire. And I remember my father getting out and stamping it out with -- he was already in bed and taking off his, his nightclothes -- and stamping out the fire. But, and we had a Filipino farm worker living in our mobile home, and he realized who it was directed to. And I can remember he went to tell him that everything was okay, and he had his knife out, sharpening his knife, and it just really brought... it really sort of frightened us then. But they did catch the, many of the arsonists later, and it's usually the names that we were aware of that were anti-Filipino, anti-Japanese people.

AI: It must have been really scary.

KK: Yes, it was. It was scary. But, what can you do? You hope that, that those who were enforcing the law would do so. But I don't think that any of us were knowledgeable enough to really pursue it -- to demand some sort of extra protection or care. By that time, I do believe that the law enforcement became aware that it could get out of hand. And then, I'm sure it would be interesting to look at this through the eyes of those who were directly affected; the Filipino farmers or Filipino young men who were, were the subject of the, the bombing and of the, the terror -- we would call the terrorist acts. But I think most people, minorities, who experience this kind of, what would be considered violence, or terror, now, have to live through it gradually over the years. I think the first one was in 1907, I believe it was. And to different degrees of what happened, you live with it. You live with that, and you don't like it. You barely tolerate it, but you have to wonder, "What else can be done?" And they prefer to stay and raise their families and make a living and whatever.

GN: Did your father talk to you about this stuff? It must have been quite frightening for you all. And what did he say?

KK: I think that we probably were just, by that time, most of us were old enough to realize the seriousness, but, and we were made more acutely aware of the possibilities of more violence, but I don't think our parents probably were as frightened as we were. And probably we had to try to assure them as things occurred in ensuing years leading toward evacuation.

GN: How about your classmates? It was, did they say anything to you?

KK: I can't remember that they did. If they did -- oh, I don't think they would talk about it as young people. I doubt it very much.

AI: Did your father continue to hire Filipino workers?

KK: Well, yes. He stayed on. I remember Pete stayed on, and I imagine he was quite frightened, too, though, because I'm, I'm sure he realized it was really directed to him. And I'm sure he felt bad that it was the house that was fired upon. And it, and I'm sure these, as it turned out, they were teenagers, probably, older teens or teenagers who did this.

AI: When some of these arsonists were caught and convicted, were you surprised that anyone was actually --

KK: Yes, I think we were. I think we, some of them we knew. The word gets around, who were the instigators. Some of them we knew. Others, we were surprised. And some of the families have become upright citizens. [Laughs] As the years go on, I think then the kids grew up, and I don't, whether they got into further trouble or not. But some of them turned out to be good citizens and others, I think, probably not. We didn't follow their careers or anything. [Laughs]

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.