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-01-0034

<Begin Segment 34>

AI: Well, today is December 8, 2002, and we're continuing the interview with Kara Kondo that we began yesterday. And again, I'm Alice Ito at Densho with Gail Nomura of the Department of American Ethnic Studies at University of Washington. We're here in Seattle at the Densho office. So thanks, again, Kara, for continuing with us. When we left off our interview yesterday you were still in Heart Mountain, Wyoming, camp, and it was, you had told a little bit about the Christmas of 1943 in camp. And also you were --

GN: '42.

AI: I'm sorry, 1942 in camp. And had told us a little bit about your work on the Heart Mountain Sentinel -- the newspaper. So I thought we could start off today, this morning, with talking a little bit about the New Year of 1943 in Heart Mountain, and I wanted to ask you to, here is a copy of the Sentinel, if you could hold that up. And you can see that the big headline is "Stimson Opens Army to Nisei." So that was one of the big topics of conversation that new year in January.

KK: Yes, it was. Of course, mainly to families with, with men or young, or young boys. Perhaps I was not so personally involved because we were a family of three girls. But it was a topic of interest because, I'm sure that people were wondering what the status of the young men who were in camp. And to have Stimson open up army to the Niseis, and it will be on a volunteer basis. So that really created a lot of interest in camp.

AI: There were a lot of people also very active and, and some concern about the registration going on at the same time -- that it was, the registration was sometimes called the "loyalty questionnaire."

KK: Well, yes. The survey or the questionnaire form.

AI: Right.

KK: And it was a, one that was aimed at the residents. But, of course, it was really more strategic for the young men who would be directly affected at that time. I don't think the women even thought that they were the ones who would be involved. But... and it, particularly, emphasis on two questions. And while I was there, the controversy seemed to be brewing among people of different opinions: those who volunteered readily and wished to do so, others who questioned, questioned their status depending on the conditions of the camp. Of their families. And, and, and perhaps the question of their treatment if they got out of camp. And if they volunteered what would, what their, their status as a military personnel would be. So there were many troubling questions to all of us. But, of course, it would affect those who were more directly affected.

AI: Right. Because the, for those who were not young men of draft age, or military service age, the questionnaire title was actually something like "Application for Leave Clearance," I believe.

KK: Yes. And, of course, everyone had some clearance to leave camp. But this was a particular one on the military. And the, the issues remained. And I think even to this day of what happened during the incarceration. And, but by and large, many volunteered, and many volunteered after some thought. Others resisted because of their own personal reasons, and others... and, but the underlying causes were numerous.

<End Segment 34> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.