Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Fred Korematsu - Kathryn Korematsu Interview
Narrators: Fred Korematsu, Kathryn Korematsu
Interviewers: Lorraine Bannai (primary); Tetsuden Kashima (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: May 14, 1996
Densho ID: denshovh-kfred_g-01-0017

<Begin Segment 17>

TK: During that time, until the 1980s, did the Korematsu case play any significant role in your family, married life?

KK: No, not really. Fred's family never talked about it. There's a lot of shame, I guess, the Japanese, if you don't, if you don't do what your parents want you to do, you're kind of a shameful person. And I think that the family felt shame. [Interruption] And, no, it's just, and as I said, Fred and I began to talk about, he kept saying, "Oh, I wish I could reopen my case." And you know, our, we'd always come to the same conclusion, that it cost money, and who would do that, and how would you do that? And he, people, there were students mostly that would call, and he would talk to them on the phone. Always one question was, "Could it happen again?" Fred's answer was always, "Yes, it could." He did go to this off-campus class at Berkeley one time, and that was the only time he ever talked about, or spoke to a group, until after the coram nobis case was in the works.

TK: When was that class?

KK: It was probably... our daughter was in, I think she might have been, it was probably about 1969, '70, probably about 1970.

TK: Do you remember the instructor, 'cause that was probably --

KK: Well, he wasn't instructor. It was not a bona fide class. These students, these Asian American students wanted this class, it had to be off campus, and Paul Takagi was a professor at Cal, and I guess probably one of the few Japanese American professors there at the time. And so they asked him to sort of be their advisor, and he's the one that called us. And Fred wasn't too keen about doing it, but I thought, these are college students, and this is a group. There was also Gordon's brother, who was then a professor at San Francisco State, and another fellow that Fred had known, nurseryman, Ken Fuji, that Fred had known all his life, I guess. And so the three of them were on the program, and our daughter went with us, and she was very intrigued, you know, to hear. And I was so proud of Fred, you know. What he told the students was what he's saying now: "You've got to get involved. You've got to get out there and get into office, political office, make yourselves visible, get into jobs where people, you know, you can affect, influence people."

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.