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-2-33-3

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SS: So in '81, I got to Seattle. And two weeks after I arrived, they had the CWRIC, the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, held their hearings in Seattle in late August of '81. So I went there and attended all sessions of that. I eventually got into the nursing program at UW and my wife was in a graduate program at UW. So we started a new student, Asian student organization. We helped start the Students Against Apartheid, and eventually got the University of Washington to divest from Apartheid South Africa. And also got involved in Nuclear Free Pacific Movement, trying to keep nukes out of, U.S. nuclear weapons out of the Pacific. And got involved in redress. So I got a part time job working for the Pacific Northwest District of JACL to work on redress. So that's where I met Kyle's mom, Cherry Kinoshita, kind of the backbone and brains behind the redress effort locally but statewide and also nationally. She was a real moving force, as well as a number of other people, Chuck Kato and Karen Seriguchi, was the director of the district office. So, yeah. And so that's how I got to Seattle. [Laughs]

AT: And so you said in 1981, you came to Seattle and what brought you exactly to Seattle?

SS: I was kind of tagging along with my wife. She had been accepted at a graduate program. We both graduated from UC Berkeley. She got her bachelor's, I got my master's. And I didn't have any plans after that, but she had applied and gotten accepted to the School of Ed at UW for a graduate program. So I came along with her.

AT: Cool, that's really cool. Well, thank you for all that information. So I guess once you got to Seattle, and how did you get... so you got involved with JACL in Seattle when you first got here? Is that right?

SS: No, it was a few years later. I got involved with taiko almost as soon as I got here. [Laughs] So I've also been playing taiko since 1981. I got involved with the International Examiner, the community newspaper, first. I started writing about... well, I donated photos that I took out the commission hearings. I wrote articles about anti-Marcos movement in the Philippines as well as nuclear-free and independent Pacific issues. I also covered the Gordon Hirabayashi coram nobis trial that was held in the courthouse downtown Seattle. And I also... back then it was called the International District summer festival, I think now it's called Dragon Fest. Back then it was a really small thing like basically was Hing Hay Park and maybe one street got blocked off. Now it's like, block off like five streets up and down or five blocks up and down. But I was the coordinator for that for two years. And played taiko. Probably it was '85 that I was hired by JACL, maybe. No, I was still in school, so it must have been, like, '84. '83 or '84, I started working like ten hours a week. I probably put in more than that, but I only got paid for ten hours a week. So yeah, so '83 or '84 is when I got actually involved with JACL. My dad had been a JACL member. So I... when I was little I remember every once in a while a bunch of guys, because they were always all just the guys, would come over and they'd have a JACL meeting. And me and my sister had to stay in our bedrooms while they were meeting.

AT: That's really cool. So you already had some, I guess maybe inside knowledge about what JACL was before you joined yourself? Or eavesdropped maybe? [Laughs]

SS: A little bit.

AT: Ok cool.

SS: Yeah, a little bit.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2022 Seattle Chapter JACL. All Rights Reserved.