Densho Digital Archive
Steven Okazaki Collection
Title: Fred Korematsu - Kathryn Korematsu Interview
Narrators: Fred Korematsu, Kathryn Korematsu
Location: San Francisco California
Date: November 15, 1983
Densho ID: denshovh-kfred_g-02

<Begin Segment 1>

Q: Fred, could you tell us about what your experiences have been since Peter Irons talked to you up until your hearing?

FK: Yeah, well, Peter Irons sent me a letter introducing himself to me. And then, that was...

KK: December of '81.

FK: December '81. And introduced himself to me and he called me on the phone a couple days later. He said he had something that would interest me in regarding to my case. So I told him, well, he said he was going to be in San Francisco a week after that, so told him to come on down, and I'd like to talk to you. That's how we got started. He brought us this coram nobis, we call it coram nobis case. Something new that that would help me in my case. And so he sounded very enthused about it and interested in my case and he said he wanted to start a book on it, and also to help out and fight my case if I wanted it. And that's how we got going. He seemed a person that would really do something if I did start the case, you know. It takes a lot of organizing and so forth. And we talked it over and it seemed that there was a lot of possibilities there. So we got going that way and we got this attorney, Dale Minami, and got the ball rolling that way. And I'm very happy that I got 'em. That's the way we...

Q: Can you talk about other people's reactions to what you were doing? Have you got any calls or letters?

FK: After I, we started to reopen this case, I got quite a few responses from my friends that they're glad that someone like me is willing to open up... the things that they kept quiet all these years, something that blackened their life up to now, you know. They wanted to talk about it, but they didn't have the nerve to, and so they're glad to have someone like me to represent them.

KK: But now, say somebody, you know, tell 'em about somebody asking, you know, why after forty years, too?

FK: Oh yeah.

Q: What was your reaction to a pardon? What was your reaction?

FK: To the pardon? Well, I was very pleased about it.

KK: No, wait a minute. Not the pardon. You refused to accept the pardon.

FK: Oh. Yeah, I didn't accept the pardon. We wanted to go further than that. We wanted to actually try to bring it up to the Supreme Court again if we can. We want more concrete answer than just a pardon. We wanted it in writing, that they, they did wrong and so that this will never happen again.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1983, 2010 Densho and Steven Okazaki. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

Q: Fred, how do you feel about the granting of your petition at the hearing the other day and how do you feel about the government's response or their action?

FK: Well, I think the government's trying to get out of it as easy as they can by avoiding the issue. They're not trying to admit that they did wrong and so they want to delay it more, I think, and so I'm glad that that Judge Patel won the case for us.

KK: She didn't win it. She ruled in your favor.

FK: She ruled in my favor. She ruled in my favor.


Q: Kathryn, can you comment on the victory on Thursday?

KK: Well, we were very pleased and that the judge was as courageous as she was, you know, that she not only she vacated the conviction but dismissed the indictment and...

FK: She ruled in our favor.

KK: Well, yeah, ruled in his, Fred's favor and went as far as she really could go at that particular level. Thought it was very courageous of her to do so. And as much as she was ruling against the government.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 1983, 2010 Densho and Steven Okazaki. All Rights Reserved.