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Conscience and the Constitution

MIKE MASAOKA Interview Transcript, excerpt, 1988

ABE: Is the legacy of camps on your hands?

MASAOKA: Certainly. I feel very heavy about it.

ABE: How does that feel?

MASAOKA: Well, again, I guess I do like everybody else. You try to think in terms of your favor on this thing. And the only way I can live with myself is to say that out of all this came a lot of good. Because I think we got more opportunities in this country than we ever had before. Or even dreamed of. We got state of Hawaii'i. We got members of Congress and all of these... And we got for the Japanese government, what all of its army and navy couldn't get. We got citizenship for the Issei. And not only that, but after they slammed the door on the Japanese and others--the Asiatics--by saying you're an inferior race and we don't even want you in this country, we got them to break the laws down so that today Asiatics are on the same level as Europeans for immigration group. You think we'd have gotten any of these?

ABE: Possibly.

MASAOKA: Well, even that, it'd take much longer.


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