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-01-0020

<Begin Segment 20>

TK: Between the time Peter Irons came to the door and Judge Patel gave her decision, there must have been many momentous and surprising or interesting events. Do you remember any that are...

KK: Well, yes. Fred had told the attorneys that he didn't want to speak, 'cause that wasn't his, that wasn't something he did easily, although I know that time he went to Berkeley, I was just very proud of him. But we did go out helping to fundraise for the expenses. The attorneys' services were all pro bono, including Peter Irons and all the legal team, and anybody else who worked on the case in other areas, it was all pro bono. But there were expenses, and so they went out fundraising and Fred said, when we found out about it, I think, talking to Dale about it. Well, he had brought us back a plaque from one of them, down in southern California and Fred says, "I think we ought to be helping them." So I mentioned this to Dale and he said, "Oh, you think Fred would go?" and I said, "Yeah." So we, I remember a trip down to southern California, first speaking at the UCLA law school. It was a tremendous group of students, large group. And then we were at the, my friend Elma eventually returned to the West Coast, married, and she and her husband picked us up at the airport, took us to the law school, and then stayed with us. Somebody had been, some student had been assigned to us to show us around the campus. We went, we ate at the cafeteria, spent some time on the campus, then later that evening went to Gardena. And I think Lori was there, Dale...

TK: Was it Lori Bannai?

KK: Bannai. Dale Minami, Peter Irons, and I'm not sure if Dennis Hayashi was there or not. And this, I think it was primarily a JACL group because my friend Elma had been part of the planning. That's why she and her husband picked us up. We stayed at their house that night, and then the next day she took us to the Getty Museum, we'd never been there, and then put us on a plane for home. But that, that was a special evening, and I think that might have been our first fundraiser. Trying to think of others that kind of escape me right now. There were local ones, of course.

TK: Anything funny going on during this time period? Any incidents that made you laugh during the time that Peter Irons came and the coram nobis decision was made? Anything that was unusual, ironic or funny?

KK: Well, I know it was a lot of fun to get together with Peter and Dale and Don and those kids. They were kids to us. Peter was not that old at the time. We went to Stanford law school one time, a large group of the attorneys were there. And then afterwards, one of the Japanese American fellows, I think there again the JACL had, might have, group might have been involved as well as Stanford law school. And they took us out to a Japanese restaurant, and I remember Peter liking Japanese beer. [Laughs] But it was always lots of fun to go with them, they were, had, people with good senses of humor, and Fred and I just felt very privileged to be with them.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.