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-01-0005

<Begin Segment 5>

LB: Can you tell me about your feelings when you heard about the Supreme Court decision? How did you hear about the Supreme Court decision and how did you, what were you thinking?

FK: That was the first Supreme Court decision? I... see, I didn't associate too much with other Niseis, and they didn't with me, either. So only my brother was the one that was close to me at that time. And when the Supreme Court case, when I found out was through Mr. Besig, that he wrote to me, 'cause he, he keeps on writing to me all along and continue from the Appeals Court and so forth, what was going on. So when he told me that it was gonna be in the Supreme Court the next week, and he told me that, to cross my fingers hoping that something good would come out of it. And I was hoping that it would. And I waited until I finally got the letter from them later, and it came quite later than when he usually mailed it to me. I guess he was sort of upset, too. And I was upset when I got it. And I could understand that, you know, I didn't know that, that they alter the reports from the West Coast, from the Military Intelligence, and the FBI and the Navy and so forth, and altered their reports, that no spying or any sabotage was going on on the West Coast. So they alter that and made it in reverse, so that's the reason why I lost, but I didn't know that. So that was back in my mind all that time.

LB: After you found out about the Supreme Court decision, how did you feel about the justice system? How did you feel about the American legal system?

FK: Well, I didn't think very much of it, of them, because here it was constitutional law, and they just ignored it, somehow, and I couldn't understand it, and it bothered me. But life has to go on, and until someone can turn it around for me, I'm gonna be there. So that's what happened; I just, I just kept busy, I got married, I got, I worked and raised a family, and did everything an American should do. Belonged to a church and I got involved in Boy Scout activities and Kathryn got involved in Girl Scout activities with my daughter. And school and so forth, and I joined the Lions Club to be in a service club to get involved and get acquainted with all these businessmen to, to be like an American. Until something good happened, I was waiting until Peter Irons' call.

LB: After the Supreme Court decision, for forty years, you didn't say much about your case. You didn't talk about it to scholars or professors or students. How come you didn't talk about it for those forty years?

FK: Because I have once in a while talked about it, and I got negative answers. You know, they don't wanna hear about it. This happened a long time ago, they don't want to hear about it. And otherwise, they were -- and meantime, they were too busy making a living of their own, Niseis. And so I just, you know, I just waited until something do happen, some opportunity would happen, then it would turn me around, and it finally did come in '81.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 1996 Densho. All Rights Reserved.