Monday, August 13, 2007

Advice from Mr. Kanno

Upon going through the archives, I came across this quote. The inteview is from 1966.

Notice the tone of this man's comments compared to what we hear today. Of course his concerns were absolutely correct...

Give it a read:

"...But as I look back on evacuation today, well, I shouldn't call it a nightmare--but it was just something that happened and it's forgotten.

I think I'm a little unhappy about some of the problems that are being brought up by the younger generation: the third generation and fourth generation Japanese Americans. It seems that in some of the colleges or some of the organizations, many of the younger kids get together and they talk about this evacuation. They say, "Well, gee, our parents, the Nisei, were stupid for doing this or being obedient, quiet Americans and going to camps."

They're sort of bringing this up, and it's too bad, but they seem to be becoming more racial in their attitude.

Whereas I felt that because the second generation--we--were trying to assimilate ourselves into the American stream of life, so to speak, it would be so simple for the third generation to learn the American way and work into the general society, and they should have relatively fewer problems.

But the way I look at some of the things now it seems like in some areas they're going backwards, possibly because of the influence of other minorities--the blacks--and some of the emphasis placed on racial issues. They're saying, "Look, we have to identify outselves, and perhaps put out a united front." Not only are they saying Japanese Americans, but "We should form a coalition of Asian Americans to fight for our rights, and push. The blacks seem to be making headway, so we better do it."

Sure, it's one way to force something on a person, and tell him, "Look, you have to take me or hire me or do this, because that's what the law says." The old way, that we, the second generation, were taught was that you have to earn it. I don't know what the society is coming to.

Perhaps, this isn't unique among the Japanese Americans, but in general society this seems to be the trend. Maybe I'm calling it a racial problem, but it's really just a general modern society problem. I am kind of concerned about that."

-James Kanno

Nisei member of a pioneer Orange County, California family and first mayor of Japanese ancestry on mainland United States in Fountain Valley, California describes Poston War Relocation Center in Arizona; temporary release to Colorado; orderly work at University of Michigan Hospital; wartime education at Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and experiences as president of Japanese American Citizens League chapter in Orange County; and involvement in area politics

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