Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig Interview
Narrator: Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig
Interviewers: Larry Hashima (primary), Glen Kitayama (secondary)
Location: University of California, Los Angeles
Date: September 11, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-haiko-01-0009

<Begin Segment 9>

LH: I think that's the great thing about archival research is that you have all these pieces to the puzzle that you keep getting to and you know that there are missing pieces. And so this one of those instances where you knew the piece was missing and you actually did find it. Instead of when, usually archival research, you know there is something there that you know you'll never find.

AH: That's right.

LH: And so...

AH: I've been asked by people who said, "Are they hiding things?" I said, "How do I know they're hiding things, unless I know what I'm looking for and I can't find it." I have a feeling, there was a question in the plenary session saying yesterday, "Was something done on purpose, do you think the government was hiding something on purpose?" I think that was the nature of the question. And I don't think so. I don't think if -- maybe there's something that our National Security Agency is holding back, perhaps. But in terms of our history, of our Japanese American history, I have never felt that there was anything really being hid. I've seen documents that are saying, "This document was removed from the file for security purposes." But usually you can trace those somehow, you can trace them back.

And it's a matter of, sometimes, of simple filing. I think people look at these files, they don't put them back where they belong. I tell you, I blame a lot of it on researchers. If it's misfiled, oftentimes, it's because some researcher has pulled out a file from a box and put it down, pulled out another file from a box, put it down, and then maybe mixed them up. Not on purpose, perhaps, but without thinking. Once researchers look at a piece of paper, they think, "Oh great, I'll Xerox this," and then they don't care where they put it back. I've seen this happen. And it's really upsetting because we put a citation on it. We found it here, this box, this folder and then you go to that and it's not there because somebody had not put it back in the same place. So, researching takes a lot of detail work, but it's challenging and it's fun. It's been my life for the last fifteen to twenty years. My second career. Well, I have not yet retired, but I'm looking forward to it.

LH: Well, thank you very much for speaking with us.

AH: It was a pleasure.

LH: Thank you.

AH: It was a pleasure.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.