Discover Nikkei

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/1086/

Common Grounds

In fact at the tour [at the Japanese American National Museum]…comes in – first question I ask to all the people who come – I say, “Why is this place called Common Grounds?” You know, and I tell them about except for the Native Americans Indians, they came from all over the world and we had something common when they came. Couldn’t speak the language, discrimination, new culture…new all that and then they had kids like us. We grew up and, you know, we have something in common and that’s why we call this thing a Common Grounds, cause this is a museum about Japanese Americans but you have the Jewish Museum – now that we have something common growing up together, so like I say, they are different people but we have something in common. Different background but it’s…so it make America so great, yeah.


Common Ground (exhibition) Japanese American National Museum (organization) multiculturalism

Date: March 25, 2005

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Sojin Kim

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

Interviewee Bio

Cedrick Shimo was born in 1919 and grew up in the diverse neighborhood of Boyle Heights. He was active in the Boy Scouts, kendo and the Cougars, a Japanese American athletic club. He received his draft notice the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor while he was at graduate school in Cal Berkeley so he joined the army and signed up for the Military Intelligence Service Language School. However, when he was denied furlough to visit his mother in Manzanar, he became outraged and refused to fight overseas and was placed in the 1800th Engineering Battalion – a segregated group of German, Italian, and Japanese Americans who were considered suspect. Their role was to repair damages to roads, bridges and fences caused by combat troops during training maneuvers. He returned to Boyle Heights after being honorably discharged from the 1800th and went on to become vice-president of the export division for Honda.

On November 20, 2008, Japan awarded him The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays for his efforts in promoting Japan-U.S. trade during a time of trade friction between the two countries while he was at Honda.

He passed away in April 2020 at age 100. (April 2020)

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