Densho Digital Archive
Steven Okazaki Collection
Title: Gordon Hirabayashi - Jim Hirabayashi Interview
Narrators: Gordon Hirabayashi, Jim Hirabayashi
Location: San Francisco California
Date: December 3, 1983
Densho ID: denshovh-hgordon_g-01-0004

<Begin Segment 4>

Q: Why don't you sum up in five sentences why you reopened the case. What would you say?

GH: I can't hear all of that.

Q: If you could sum up in five sentences why you reopened the case, what would you say?

GH: Well, for a long time, it's, I've wanted some kind of opportunity to erase that bad decision in the Supreme Court. And I felt that sometime it'll come, although I wasn't quite sure how that sort of thing would present itself, the opportunity. So when Peter Irons came with new discoveries and a rarely used device by which we could petition for a hearing, that was the opening, and I didn't have any hesitation responding positively to that question. And the rest is the record now. We're almost, I think, to win it.

Q: Could you also sum up very briefly why you made the initial decision?

GH: In 1942, I was confronted with obeying what the government orders said, and that's part of my training, you know, we're all trained to obey the law. On the other hand, I was confronted with certain values that I held high, the various principles of American citizenship and what we considered fair play and justice. And if I were to go along with the order, I would have to kind of restructure all of those values and develop a new philosophy of life which was too much for me. So I decided to hold to those values and disobey the law. It was, I was a student then, so guess I was freer to think in those relatively idealistic terms. But since then, I've discovered idealism and realism aren't that different. That sometimes, the most realistic position is an idealistic one.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 1983, 2010 Densho and Steven Okazaki. All Rights Reserved.