Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Cherry Kinoshita Interview
Narrator: Cherry Kinoshita
Interviewers: Becky Fukuda (primary), Tracy Lai (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: September 26, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-kcherry-01-0014

<Begin Segment 14>

BF: What about when redress came about, when people started talking about it and JACL got involved with it.

CK: Well, let me correct that. People didn't start talking about it. JACL was the one who brought it out and I happened to be fortunate in being here in Seattle where... well actually the first contact was attending the 1970 National Convention in Chicago. And I remember during the business session, this fellow stood up and said, "We have waited too long, we need to address the government for the injustice of the camps. We need to do this and JACL should take the lead." The resolution, everyone listened and agreed, and the resolution was passed. But remembering, too, that that year there was the murder at the Palmer Hotel, of one girl. And that just upset that whole convention. And so the following convention in '72, the resolution was again passed. That was in Washington, D.C. But there was no plan to do anything about it, there was no definite idea of redress. It was just, we need to address the government and I think Edison Uno did have the idea of several million dollars -- I remember the figure, $400,000,000 -- to establish community, a fund to help the community.

And then around that time -- and I've been doing this for our project -- I remember that I was filling in as the vice president in our chapter and we had a meeting, and that one meeting, I was told that on the agenda should be a request from our Washington, D.C. rep -- who was Barry Matsumoto at the time -- that we need to respond to this. Barry had sent out a memo and it was on a dittoed sheet, that purple kind of sheet. And I still remember that, picture that, explaining that here we passed this resolution for two conventions, what are we going to do about it? Are the chapters going to do anything about it? And so I was, had that on the agenda, so I presented that and I said, "Is anybody willing to do some research on this and what we can do?" I didn't expect anybody, but then I saw this hand raise and that turned out to be Henry Miyatake. Which in a sense, that sort of is indicative of what happened. Because Henry had been studying, researching the losses. He had been going to the libraries and doing some of this preliminary work and so that's why he was all prepared. And so he came back a few meetings later with this plan of a legislative plan to ask or demand of the government. And he had figured out these figures. $15,000 for each individual and so much per diem, for each day in camp. You know, to us, that was just outlandish. I mean, $15,000 for every individual in camp? I mean, we couldn't dream of anything like that.

BF: Outlandish in what way? Thought it was too small or too much?

CK: Too much. I mean, in those days you could buy a house -- back in the '40s, you could buy a house for $15,000 easily and to think that the government would actually compensate each individual, it seemed impossible.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.