To the Editor:
Back in 1997, when I reported for the NW Asian Weekly, I was asked to profile Dr. Gordon Hirabayashi in the run-up to the paper’s inaugural Asian American Pioneers Awards banquet, during which Dr. Hirabayashi was to be honored for his personal stand against the Japanese American Internment.
I can remember during that first interview being impressed by the clarity of his memories, after so many years, and also being immensely entertained by his detailed narrative. He was a prim and proper university professor who spoke thoughtfully and precisely, but who was as masterful at storytelling as the next guy.
The anecdotes he told me to recant his experiences at the University of Washington amid the military’s round-up of ethnic Japanese civilians, and then the sometimes absurd things the government required him to do while charges against him for not complying with the government’s evacuation were being processed through the system, made an amazingly entertaining discussion.
I recall Dr. Hirabayashi was polite, engaging, and happy to answer any and all of my questions.
That is the Gordon Hirabayashi I will always remember.
— Erik Derr, producer/host, Music 101 Radio, San Diego, Calif.