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Beginnings of CWRIC

About September, I don't recall when. September/October of '78, the officers of the JACL came back to meet with Senator Inouye, Senator Matsunaga, Congressman Matsui and myself. And Bob had been elected to Congress in '76; this is '78. So when we all assembled, I remember the first thing I said was, "Komatta ne?" which is, "Boy, we're in deep straights here." What do we do with this?

And so we had some real good conversations about it, and Senator Inouye said, "You know, we're not gonna get this passed until the American people know what happened. And once they know, then they will talk to their representatives and their senators and they will then get an idea about what went on. But until we get the public knowledgeable about this, we'll get nowhere on this issue." And he said, "There was the Warren Commission about the Kennedy assassination, and those commission reports, the hearings went on for a long time, they were on the news every night, they issued the Warren Commission report, that was on the news a lot, the commission report itself became a bestseller." He says, "That's what we've got to do."

And then he was talking about the Kent State killings, and I've forgotten the name of that commission, but he talked about that commission and he said, "Unless we get the hot focus of publicity on evacuation and internment, we're not going to get anywhere." And so Spark Matsunaga said, "Well, I've got this Native Hawaiian Claims Act bill, and maybe we can use that as a basis for this commission."

And I had a legislative director, brilliant young kid by the name of Glen Roberts, and his brother, Steve Roberts was a reporter for the New York Times. And Steve's wife is Cokie Roberts with CBS. And so anyway, Glen was sitting in on this meeting, and so he took Sparky's bill on Native Hawaiian Claims and then converted that to what became the Commission on Wartime (Relocation and Internment) of Civilians.


Daniel K. Inouye governments politics Redress movement Robert T. Matsui Spark Matsunaga U.S. Senate

Date: July 4, 2008

Location: Colorado, US

Interviewer: Tom Ikeda

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

Interviewee Bio

Norman Mineta was born on November 12, 1931 in San Jose, California. He and his family were incarcerated at the Heart Mountain internment camp during World War II.

He began his political career when he was appointed to a vacant San Jose City Council seat in San Jose and was elected to the seat the following term, followed by vice mayor and then becoming Mayor of San Jose in 1971.

Mineta served in the United States House of Representatives from 1975 to 1995 and was a key figure behind the passage of H.R. 442, the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which officially apologized for and redressed the unconstitutional, mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

In 2000, he became the first Asian American to hold a post in the presidential cabinet when President Clinton appointed Mineta as his Secretary of Commerce. The following year, President George W. Bush appointed him Secretary of Transportation, the only Democrat in Bush's cabinet, where he served as the longest serving Secretary of Transportation since the position was created in 1967. (December 2011)

George Ariyoshi
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George Ariyoshi

Being fair

(b.1926) Democratic politician and three-term Governor of Hawai'i

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George Ariyoshi
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George Ariyoshi

Role of Hawaii internationally

(b.1926) Democratic politician and three-term Governor of Hawai'i

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Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi
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Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi

Tree planting

Former First Lady of Hawai'i

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James Hirabayashi
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James Hirabayashi

Relationship with S.I. Hayakawa

(1926 - 2012) Scholar and professor of anthropology. Leader in the establishment of ethnic studies as an academic discipline

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James Hirabayashi
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James Hirabayashi

Past ties to present situation in Middle East

(1926 - 2012) Scholar and professor of anthropology. Leader in the establishment of ethnic studies as an academic discipline

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Grayce Ritsu Kaneda Uyehara
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Grayce Ritsu Kaneda Uyehara

Importance of education in achieving redress for incarceration

(1919-2014) Activist for civil rights and redress for World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans.

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Peggie Nishimura Bain
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Peggie Nishimura Bain

Getting citizenship back

(b.1909) Nisei from Washington. Incarcerated at Tule Lake and Minidoka during WWII. Resettled in Chicago after WWII

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Art Shibayama
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Art Shibayama

Denied redress as a Japanese Peruvian

(1930-2018) Nisei born in Peru. Taken to the United States during WWII.

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Roger Shimomura
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Roger Shimomura

Receiving a negative reaction from father upon asking about World War II experience

(b. 1939) Japanese American painter, printmaker & professor

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Frank Yamasaki
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Frank Yamasaki

Thoughts on redress

(b. 1923) Nisei from Washington. Resisted draft during WWII.

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Mitsuo Ito
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Mitsuo Ito

Redress Movement in Canada

(b.1924) Japanese Canadian Nisei. Interpreter for British Army in Japan after WWII. Active in Japanese Canadian community

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Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig
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Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig

Lack of political power led to camps

(1924-2018) Researcher, Activist

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Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig
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Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig

Positive experiences with Asian Americans for Action

(1924-2018) Researcher, Activist

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Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig
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Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig

Redress payments to Issei who did not enter camps

(1924-2018) Researcher, Activist

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Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig
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Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig

Waiting for the right time to start Redress Movement

(1924-2018) Researcher, Activist

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