Discover Nikkei

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/1395/

On the Increase in Asian American Representation

I think it’s good that the federal bench, including the Appellate Courts, reflect that diversity because although we all try to apply the same law, people do bring their personal experiences to whatever work they do. There’s just no way to avoid it. So, I think the government institutions, including the courts, should try to reflect that diversity that America represents today. So in that sense, I think it’s good that not only myself, but a number of other Japanese Americans are now on the district courts right? And a whole bunch in the state courts now. It’s just quite different.

When I started, let’s go back a little bit, before I started law school, I think there was one Japanese American judge, Superior Court Judge, John Aiso, and sometimes later there was… this is throughout the whole state you know? California has over 1,000 judges. There was one Chinese American judge, Delbert Wong, and I knew Delbert too, who was appointed few years after John Aiso. But out of more than a 1,000 judges, to have only 2 Asian judges, something is not right if you look at it. But that’s obviously changed quite a bit now, so I think it’s much more reflective now, which I think is better for everybody. 


California courts Delbert Wong diversity federal courts John F. Aiso judges law state courts United States

Date: July 2, 2014

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Sakura Kato

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

Interviewee Bio

Born in Santa Maria California, Judge Atsushi Wallace Tashima is the first Japanese American and the third Asian American in history to serve on a U.S. Court of Appeals. He was born to Issei immigrants and spent three years of his childhood in the Poston War Relocation Center in Poston, Arizona. When Tashima entered his first year of Harvard Law School in 1958, he was one of only 4 Asian American students at Harvard. Nevertheless, Tashima went on to lead a 34 year-long career as a federal judge. In 1980, Tashima was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California by President Carter. After serving 15 years on the U.S. District Court, President Clinton elevated Tashima to the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers the nine western states on the West Coast. As as 2004, Tashima assumed senior status and currently sits in the Ninth Circuit Pasadena Couthouse in Pasadena, CA.  (August 2014)

*This is one of the main projects completed by The Nikkei Community Internship (NCI) Program intern each summer, which the Japanese American Bar Association and the Japanese American National Museum have co-hosted.

Kathryn Doi Todd
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Kathryn Doi Todd

On Working in the Appellate Court

(b. 1942) The first Asian American woman judge

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Sumiko Kozawa
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Sumiko Kozawa

Her experience of Japanese American Evacuation

(1916-2016) Florist

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Sumiko Kozawa
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Sumiko Kozawa

Memories of Manzanar

(1916-2016) Florist

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Sumiko Kozawa
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Sumiko Kozawa

Working in the camp hospital

(1916-2016) Florist

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Sumiko Kozawa
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Sumiko Kozawa

Wind in camp

(1916-2016) Florist

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Sumiko Kozawa
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Sumiko Kozawa

Her grandmother comes to Manzanar

(1916-2016) Florist

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Francesca Yukari Biller
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Francesca Yukari Biller

Fitting in to both sides of her family

Jewish Japanese American journalist

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Edward Toru Horikiri
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Edward Toru Horikiri

Birthplace

(b. 1929) Kibei Nisei

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Hikaru “Carl” Iwasaki
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Hikaru “Carl” Iwasaki

Returning to San Jose

(1923 - 2016) WRA photographer

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Sabrina Shizue McKenna
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Sabrina Shizue McKenna

Initial Interest in Law

(b. 1957) Justice of the Supreme Court of Hawaii.

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