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Interviews

Chiye Tomihiro

Chaired the Chicago JACL's Redress Committee.

What to Do Next

Well, I think it was kind of interesting, in the discussion group right now -- the small group discussions -- I think that we really talked a great deal about, "What are we going to do after this?" And you know, everybody seemed to be so concerned about that. I mean, are we going to just sit back and rest and think, "Well, gee, we won this great victory and so now we're all finished, let's just retire and forget about the rest of the world, the rest of our concerns," and that really concerns me. And that's why I'm hoping that there's more to this legacy than what we have so far.


identity Redress movement

Date: September 11, 1997

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Becky Fukuda

Contributed by: Denshō: The Japanese American Legacy Project.

Interviewee Bio

Chiye Tomihiro was born and raised in Portland, OR. She was 16 years old when World War II broke out. The FBI detained her father shortly thereafter because he was a former president of the Japanese American Chamber of Commerce. Tomihiro was first held at the Portland Assembly Center and later incarcerated at Minidoka in Idaho. Her father meanwhile, was placed in a jail camp in New Mexico for the next three years.

After the war, her family was reunited and resettled first in Denver, CO and later in Chicago, IL. Tomihiro became an active member of the Chicago chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League. In 1981, Chicago was one of the sites for federal hearings by the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. Chairing the Chapter’s Redress Committee, Chiye Tomihiro mobilized local volunteers to speak about their experiences. In 1983, the CWRIC concluded that the incarceration of Japanese Americans had not been justified by military necessity, but instead was based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership." (April 15, 2008)

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