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https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/959/

Deciding to serve on the CWRIC

She [my secretary] told me that Senator [Dan] Inouye [D-Hawai‘i] called and said that you were on the commission [Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians]. Now, backing up from there, I think Mike Masaoka may have called me and asked whether or not I will be willing to serve. I think it was Mike. I understood at that time that Jerry Enomoto’s name was also in the hopper. Beyond that, I don’t know whether any other names were in the hopper or not. Maybe you know. I don’t.

I thought about it after the approach was made, and I thought, my goodness, this is going to be one hot potato. Whoever takes on that job as a Nikkei is going to get burned, either at the front end or the rear end, or in between, or all three. And you’re going to be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. This is something that’s going to be very controversial and could hurt you. And that gave me great hesitation when I thought about that. That’s the way I viewed it. But it was precisely for those reasons I decided, by god, I’ll take it. I’ll say yes.

And the only thing I can do is that I’ll play it right down the middle, as I see it, regardless of what peoples’ individual feelings are. Play it the way you see it, and let the chips fall where they may. But it was that challenge. The fear of getting into something that was deep and hot. That very fear is the reason why I said yes.


Redress movement

Date: August 27, 1998

Location: Pennsylvania, US

Interviewer: Darcie Iki, Mitchell Maki

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

Interviewee Bio

The Honorable William Marutani was born in Kent, Washington. With the enforcement of Executive Order 9066, Marutani was forced to leave his classes at the University of Washington and sent to Fresno Assembly Center in 1942, and later Tule Lake concentration camp. He was released to attend Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, SD in the fall of 1942 as a pre-law student.

After being rejected by the U.S. Navy for being classified as a 4-C enemy alien, Marutani was finally able to serve by joining the Army where he was assigned to the Military Intelligence Service. Following his service, Marutani attended law school at the University of Chicago and moved to Pennsylvania for a six-month clerkship, where he stayed until 1975, when he was appointed to the bench of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Marutani became active in the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and served in many different positions. Marutani was appointed to serve on the nine-member Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) that was created by President Jimmy Carter to investigate matters concerning the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans. Marutani was the only Japanese American to serve on the commission. (April 11, 2008)

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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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

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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Jack Herzig
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Jack Herzig

His testimony has more credibility because of his race

(1922 - 2005) Former U.S. Army counterintelligence officer

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Jack Herzig
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Jack Herzig

Bringing the Japanese American community together through class-action lawsuit

(1922 - 2005) Former U.S. Army counterintelligence officer

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Dale Minami
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Dale Minami

Role of the redress movement in helping Nisei to open up about their wartime experiences

(b. 1946) Lawyer

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Dale Minami
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Dale Minami

Impact of the original Korematsu case on current events

(b. 1946) Lawyer

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Sue Embrey
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Sue Embrey

Changing Minds

(1923–2006) Community activist. Co-founded the Manzanar Committee

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Sue Embrey
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Sue Embrey

Prevailing Within the System

(1923–2006) Community activist. Co-founded the Manzanar Committee

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Sue Embrey
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Sue Embrey

Fighting For What’s Right

(1923–2006) Community activist. Co-founded the Manzanar Committee

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