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https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/1020/

Do it for all Asians

You know all the time we were doing these arguments and I’m participating, every once in a while, someone would say,” how come you’re in this?” And I said,” you people are short-sighted,” I said,” Number 1, if we do succeed,” I said,” you’re going to do it for all Asians, - I said, back in those days I used the term “Orientals”, I says - if I can’t tell a Korean from a Japanese, from a Chinese and none of you can either, then how are the Caucasians gonna be able to tell? They’re won’t be able to tell either.” I says,” you’re going to do it for the Japanese Americans, but in the end you’re going to do it for all Asians. That’s number 1, and that’s why I’m here.” I says,” I look like you, no one could tell the difference and so when it gets done, it’s gonna be for everybody. It’s gonna be the thing that’s gonna liberates us.”


100th Infantry Battalion 442nd Regimental Combat Team armed forces discrimination interpersonal relations military racism United States Army World War II

Date: August 28, 1995

Location: California, US

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

Colonel Young Oak Kim (U.S. Army Ret.) was a decorated combat veteran as a member of the 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II and a respected community leader. He was born in 1919 in Los Angeles, CA to Korean immigrants.

Following the outbreak of war, he was assigned to the “all-Nisei” 100th as a young officer, but was given a chance for reassignment because the common belief was that Koreans and Japanese did not get along. He rejected the offer stating that they were all Americans. A natural leader with keen instincts in the field, Colonel Kim’s battlefield exploits are near legendary.

Colonel Kim continued to serve his country in the Korean War where he became the first minority to command an Army combat battalion. He retired from the Army in 1972. He was awarded 19 medals, including the Distinguished Service Cross, a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, three Purple Hearts, and the French Croix de Guerre.

Later in life, Colonel Kim served the Asian American community by helping to found the Go For Broke Educational Foundation, the Japanese American National Museum, the Korean Health, Education, Information and Research Center and the Korean American Coalition among others. He died from cancer on December 29, 2005 at the age of 86. (August 8, 2008)

Bill Hashizume
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Bill Hashizume

Laid off for being Canadian

(b. 1922) Canadian Nisei who was unable to return to Canada from Japan until 1952

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George Katsumi Yuzawa
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George Katsumi Yuzawa

Neighbors' sympathy after Pearl Harbor

(1915 - 2011) Nisei florist who resettled in New York City after WW II. Active in Japanese American civil rights movement

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Henry Shimizu
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Henry Shimizu

No immediate impact after Pearl Harbor

(b. 1928) Doctor. Former Chair of the Japanese Canadian Redress Foundation.

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Masako Iino
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Masako Iino

Interest in Japanese migration studies (Japanese)

Tsuda College President, researcher of Nikkei history

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Henry Shimizu
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Henry Shimizu

Treatment of Japanese fishermen in Canada during World War II

(b. 1928) Doctor. Former Chair of the Japanese Canadian Redress Foundation.

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Henry Shimizu
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Henry Shimizu

Japanese Canadians get the right to vote in 1949

(b. 1928) Doctor. Former Chair of the Japanese Canadian Redress Foundation.

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Henry Shimizu
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Henry Shimizu

Japanese newspaper supported by Canadian government during World War II

(b. 1928) Doctor. Former Chair of the Japanese Canadian Redress Foundation.

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Venancio Shinki
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Venancio Shinki

Memories of my infancy: Japanese 1, Japanese 2… (Spanish)

(b. 1932-2016) Peruvian painter

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Venancio Shinki
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Venancio Shinki

Mistreating the Japanese community (Spanish)

(b. 1932-2016) Peruvian painter

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Venancio Shinki
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Venancio Shinki

Prejudice in Japanese school (Spanish)

(b. 1932-2016) Peruvian painter

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Robert Katayama
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Robert Katayama

Being ordered to keep a diary that was later confiscated, ostensibly by the FBI

Hawaiian Nisei who served in World War II with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

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Barbara Kawakami
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Barbara Kawakami

Helping soldiers

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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Barbara Kawakami
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Barbara Kawakami

Okinawan discrimination

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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Yuri Kochiyama
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Yuri Kochiyama

Father as prisoner of war in hospital

(1922–2014) Political and civil rights activist.

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Yuri Kochiyama
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Yuri Kochiyama

Patriotism versus loyalty

(1922–2014) Political and civil rights activist.

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