Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Toru Sakahara - Kiyo Sakahara Interview II
Narrator: Toru Sakahara, Kiyo Sakahara
Interviewer: Dee Goto
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: February 27, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-storu_g-02-0025

<Begin Segment 25>

DG: Well let's stop a moment because the other things talk about organizations, you know, that we want to talk about your involvement and some special events and so Kiyo, why don't you tell us about coming back from the war?

KS: When we first came back to Seattle from Salt Lake City, I think it was very fortunate for both of us because Seattle was going into a change in their human relations. The Council of Churches was very active at that time. I think the Council was active with the idea of trying to help the Japanese relocate in Seattle. The whole city seemed to... it wasn't just trying to help the Japanese, the whole city was in the process of change in terms of putting minorities on their boards. Being more aware of peoples of other color and when Toru and I came back, it was right in that sort of climate. And as they were trying to get new members to serve on boards of the United Good Neighbors, the family counseling, like Children's Home Society, the Civic Unity Committee, the... I could name at least half a dozen others like that and they were looking for other peoples to join a board that used to be pure white and you had to almost be part of the 400 to serve on them.

DG: Four hundred?

KS: Four hundred are the original and the leading people in Seattle that not only had leadership, but money and, and they just took turns running everything here in Seattle. So it was a rather interesting time to come into Seattle. I know I served on, I served on several boards. And I remember this family counseling service board that I served on. And amongst them was Travis, Clise and the Caldwells and these lawyers who only were lawyers to the, to the first families of Seattle, and I sat on the board and made policy for the counseling service right along with them. So it was a very interesting experience for me. I got to know what their thinking is. They had to listen to me too.

DG: What were some of the things that you felt you could contribute?

KS: Well I felt that I could contribute how the families felt who were receiving the service. Most boards were top down. "Well this is what's good's for them, so that's what they're going to get." None of them had any inkling of how their service was going to affect the people that they served.

DG: Well how do you think you were picked out to be asked to serve on the board?

KS: Well that's kind of hard to say, except that when I first came back to Seattle, I joined the YWCA again because I had some contact with it when I was in college and they had a group called Cosami, which was a group of young marrieds and we got together and talked about the different problems that the city was facing and then we also had socials. We had potluck dinners and then we'd having dancing parties and I got to know several of the women in that group, but it wasn't...

DG: You know, you had little children then right?

KS: I just had one child, David.

DG: Oh, just one. But you felt a need to join a community organization, or was it a job or?

KS: This was, just wanting to be with, you know, other people and be active in something. I wasn't, I didn't have a job. I didn't work. I used to go down to the office and answer the telephones for Toru and in those days, I would bring David to the Yesler Community Nursery School.

DG: 'Cause that was being very progressive.

KS: Well it, just being, just being down on Jackson Street and, and getting to know people. I, I really don't know how I first got on. But I served on many, many boards. Neighborhood house board and...

DG: Well let's continue with that Cosami thing.

KS: I met quite a few Caucasians that (have) remained very good friends of mine through the years from that group. They were women who also went to the University of Washington and lived in the north end, just got to be good friends with them.

DG: Were you living...

KS: I wasn't living in the north end then, no. I, we had an apartment downtown.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.