Volume 23, Number 4

A Personal History, by the Numbers: Peter Ota

1: Nation, indivisible

12/7/41: Pearl Harbor

2: My sister and I, evacuated to Santa Anita Racetrack. Mama hospitalized, Father held a year for questioning.

12: My sister’s age.

15: Mine

3: Father, Sis, Me. The train to Amache Camp, in Colorado.

18: I was drafted.

18 1/4: Three months later, Mama died. I requested leave to transport her to Camp Amache.

3: Shore Patrol Officer, Military Police Officer, FBI agent. My escort.

28: Times I heard people say “Dirty Jap” in the train station.

8/6/45: Hiroshima

4: Years Father spent in camps.

$100,000+: Worth of Father’s business.

$5,000: What he sold it for.

40: Years of being a good, and silent, American.

1983: Daughter, Cathy, questions. Answering, I wept. Cathy, very angry: Why did you go? Why didn’t you fight back?

1988: President Reagan signs Civil Liberties Act of 1988.

$20,000: Reparation received under the Act.

—May Kuroiwa