Densho Digital Repository
Seattle JACL Oral History Collection
Title: Stan Shikuma Interview
Narrator: Stan Shikuma
Interviewers: Ana Tanaka, Dr. Kyle Kinoshita
Date: February 11, 2022
Densho ID: ddr-sjacl-2-33-2

<Begin Segment 2>

SS: And so I was born in Brogan, Oregon, in 1953. And we eventually moved back to Watsonville in 1955. I was... I turned two, like, on the way. We stopped and stayed with my aunt in Florin, California, for a few months, and that's where I turned two. And then we moved into Watsonville. And that's where I grew up, went to high school, graduated. Worked down to... it was a strawberry farm, we also had raspberries and blackberries. So I worked on the farm through high school, actually, and a couple years in college, I would go back in the summer as well.

When I graduated from high school, I went to Stanford. There I've got my first intro to Asian American Studies initially through a subscription to Gidra that my older sister gave me, and that got me interested in it. There weren't really any classes in Asian American Studies. I did take a Chicano Studies class, Chicano lit class, and a Sociology of Black Community that was taught and also took a seminar on Eastern European Jews Pre-World War II. So I learned about Shtetls and Pogroms that were carried out in Eastern Europe, what that, more like Yiddish culture was like. So I got exposure to a lot of multicultural things. My senior year, I lived in the Asian American theme house at Stanford. And one of our projects was to organize the first Asian American Studies course on Stanford campus. It was a student initiative. It was kind of like a continuing ed type course or student organized course. You take it for one credit pass/fail. And we recruited Edison Uno from San Francisco to come down and teach it.

And then after I graduated, I moved to Boston because I wanted to see the East Coast, lived there for not quite two years, worked in a research lab, and then came back to the West Coast in fall of... let's see, I graduated at Stanford in 1976. So I came back in the fall of '78 to go to school at UC Berkeley, and got involved in the Asian student union. And kind of became more radicalized or more of an activist through Asian student union work. So we would drive over to San Francisco, and like, gentrification was going on and they were starting to redevelop areas. Meaning developers would come in and they would tear down old buildings where Issei and elderly Nisei lived, and put up something new that that they could sell for a higher price. So we would do these things where we would blockade buildings when they tried to evict people. And then we would support labor strikes, so we'd go join picket lines. And on campus, we would organize dances to raise funds for Chol Soo Lee, who was a Korean guy who had been convicted of murder, we were trying to get him released or get a new trial.

There was also the reinstatement of the draft so we were part of a multicultural coalition on campus to oppose draft registration. And that's where I took my first pilgrimage to Tule Lake and I've been involved with the Tule Lake pilgrimage ever since. So since 1970... it must have been 79. So yeah, 1979 was my first Tule Lake pilgrimage, and I've been on every pilgrimage to Tule Lake since then.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2022 Seattle Chapter JACL. All Rights Reserved.