Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Gordon Hirabayashi Interview III
Narrator: Gordon Hirabayashi
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda (Primary), Alice Ito (Secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 5, 1999
Densho ID: denshovh-hgordon-03-0006

GH: My mother used to write me once a week in about a half-page typewriter-size paper, just a summary of events. She said when she arrived was -- and was unpacking at Tule Lake, a knock came. And she opened the door, and there were two ladies, dusty, shoes dusty and so on. They had walked from the other end of camp.

And they walked about a mile and a half through the dusty road to welcome them. They said, "We heard that the family of the boy that's in jail is arriving today. So we came out to welcome you and to say thank you for your son." And when I read that, I experienced a sudden removement of weight on my shoulders, which I didn't realize I was carrying, ever since the time when my mother pled with me to, she said, "I admire what you've done. I agree with you. But if we get separated now, we may never see each other again. If the government could do this sort of thing, it could keep us apart. So please, come with us. It's important to keep together." And I said, "I'd like to, but I'm in, I'm in the hands of others who are looking after me, and you don't have to worry on that part. I just can't go. I wouldn't be the same person if I went now because I, I took a stand, and I can't give it up." And so even tears couldn't change my views.

But it gave me a sense of guilt on failing to respond as a dutiful son. But I didn't realize I was carrying it. When I read that letter saying, that visit gave me a big lift, that weight left. So I realized that I was carrying kind of a guilt feeling as a son, until I read -- because I knew that standing there next to her wouldn't have given her the same kind of lift.

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