Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Emery Brooks Andrews Interview
Narrator: Emery Brooks Andrews
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: March 24, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-aemery-01-0030

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TI: And something else I wanted to -- and thinking back, in the late '80s, the United States government --

EBA: Yes.

TI: -- recognized that a wrongdoing had happened.

EBA: Yes.

TI: And apologized to the Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during the war. Earlier, actually during the war, your father said or wrote that what the government was doing was wrong and would come to recognize that it was wrong.

EBA: Right.

TI: I mean, I'm just curious, when the government apologized in the late '80s, what, what you thought about that?

EBA: Well, first of all, I did attend some of the hearings at Seattle Central Community College. And, my father, back in 1976 when he, I think it was when, yes, this was the time when he received the order, the decoration from the Emperor of Japan and there was an interview in the Seattle Times regarding that event. And my father and I, as I put it in his, in a prophetic voice said that, "We must be careful this will not happen again. It may not happen to the Japanese, but it could be another, another group of people." And so, now that we're in, we're in this Muslim/Iraq war, and we're looking at another ethnic group much as we looked at the Japanese years ago. And so I think, I see parallels, or there could be parallels between the two events if we don't, if we let it go too far. And it's, it's... we cannot brand a group, a whole group of people as being all bad, much like we did to the Japanese during the second World War. So we can't do that with, with our Islamic and Muslim and Arab and Middle Eastern friends because we could end up the same place. And I think my father was very prophetic in those words.

TI: Do you think the United States, today, is different, or have we learned from what happened to the Japanese Americans in the 1940s? And do you think the United States has learned or is different in 19', now the year 2004?

EBA: I would like to think that we have learned something. But I still encounter, every once in a while, especially an older generation, the former generation, that fought in World War II, and had experience of combat in the South Pacific and in Europe. Some of those people are still, they're very much putting the Japanese American citizens in the category of "Japs" and being the enemy. And I've had to, rather than get into a very heated argument about that whole thing, I just got to the point I had to back off because I wasn't going to change anybody. Society as a whole, I like to think we've learned some lessons there, but again, thinking about the Middle East and that ethnic group, there are those who still have not learned any lesson from the past at all. So I think we just have to be really careful that we don't repeat.

<End Segment 30> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.