Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Art Shibayama Interview
Narrator: Art Shibayama
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: October 26, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-sart-01-0037

<Begin Segment 37>

AI: Well, and what was, I understand there's a fairly large Japanese American community in the San Jose area, too.

AS: Uh-huh.

AI: So did you and Betty start getting involved with them? Or you had almost half your family out there already.

AS: Yeah, we... it took a while to get more, because in San Jose, unless you were in Japanese town you don't get to see too many Japanese there. But there were few Japanese that went to the school our kids went to. So that way we got to meet a few of them.

AI: And when you were --

AS: And then we joined the, we joined the JACL, and that's how we got to meet more people.

AI: Well, I wanted to ask you about the San Jose Japantown. When you, when you first saw that area, what did you think when you saw it?

AS: It was, it was kind of unusual because we didn't have a Japantown in Chicago. Here you see all these stores and all these restaurants in the same place, although we, although we had Chinatown in, I mean, we had Chinatown in Chicago, so kinda similar. Everything's in one spot. So it wasn't really a big shock. And then, plus, plus we heard that San Jose had a Japantown.

AI: So then you were saying that you had joined the JACL. And it was during the 1970s that the JACL and some, several other organizations, the National Coalition for Redress and Reparations, and the National Coalition for Japanese American Redress, several national groups and some local groups were working for redress for Japanese Americans. And I'm wondering when you, if you can look back to when you first heard about this idea of redress, I know that some people, when they first heard it they weren't too sure it was a good idea. What did you think?

AS: You mean fighting for it? I thought it was a good idea because I knew about William Hohri fighting for it and we knew William, see, so, so, so we thought it was a good idea to fight for it. And JACL was a bigger organization, so we thought it'd be more power fighting.

AI: Well, in the early years of that, of the redress movement, what, you thought it was a good idea, but what did you think of the chances of winning?

AS: I figured it was gonna be a struggle, because any time you fight a government, you know, it's not easy.

AI: Right. And did you just assume that you would be part of that, that if redress came about that you would be part of the redress?

AS: Yeah, because I thought anybody, because when it first started it was anybody that was in camp.

AI: Right.

AS: Yeah, so, so I figured we'd be included.

<End Segment 37> - Copyright © 2003 Densho. All Rights Reserved.