Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Victor Ikeda Interview
Narrator: Victor Ikeda
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: November 6, 2007
Densho ID: denshovh-ivictor-01-0049

<Begin Segment 49>

RP: Victor, I wanted to ask you, did either one of your parents become naturalized citizens when they were allowed to?

VI: They both did. Right, they both did. It took my mother a longer time because she didn't have to speak English while she was there, so she had to learn. And she learned enough to become naturalized.

RP: And did you attend the ceremony when they actually were sworn in as citizens?

VI: No, I didn't. I don't think I was in town during that time.

RP: How did they feel about finally having the opportunity to become citizens?

VI: Well, I think after the camp experience, coming back after the World War II, I think they had already made up their mind that they were not Japanese citizens, but they had spent so much of their time here and their children were all here, that they would rather be American citizens than...

RP: Just formalized...

VI: Right, right.

RP: ...what they probably already felt. Also, were you involved in any way with the effort to obtain redress?

VI: Redress? Not directly, but we supported their efforts.

RP: Were you involved with the JACL?

VI: Well, this is a strange story. JACL and the veteran organization in Seattle did not get along together, they didn't see eye to eye. I don't know if you knew that or not, but...

RP: What was the, what was the conflict?

VI: Well, the conflict, I think, comes back from when the people came back from the World War II, the 442 people, they were strong, strong pro-America, and they thought JACL was not as pro-America as they should be, so there was a very, a strong conflict there. And then the people that were joining the JACL were not the 442 veteran type, so you had a conflict between that. But by the time the redress came around, it was much closer. But we supported, but not directly as involved in the actions. More of the attorney types were in there. And the story I had to tell probably was not as exciting as somebody else could tell, or convincing, to give us reparations. So I didn't get that involved in it.

RP: And you did receive an apology letter?

VI: Yeah.

RP: Did that mean anything to you?

VI: Well, the apology letter, sure, the money is good. What we did was just gave it to the kids, you know, 'cause they can probably make better use of it then, especially if you have five kids. [Laughs]

<End Segment 49> - Copyright © 2007 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.