Karen Yoshiko Matsuoka

Karen Yoshiko Matsuoka is the proud daughter of a Kibei-Sansei mother and Issei father. Her grandfather was the lead defendant in United States vs. Masaaki Kuwabara, one of only two civil rights cases ruled in favor of Japanese Americans during WWII. A Rhodes Scholar and health policy expert by profession, Karen spends much of her spare time as a history detective. Her goal is to unearth the courageous stories of internment-era resistance and civil disobedience that have yet to be told, including those of her grandparents.

Updated July 2017

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My Family Secret

My grandmother Kazuko Kuwabara passed away recently, and I can’t help but feel that a piece of history died with her. She was the only one left in my family who knew first-hand the facts surrounding United States vs. Masaaki Kuwabara, one of only two civil rights cases ruled in favor of Japanese Americans during WWII.

You see, Masaaki Kuwabara was her husband—and my grandfather—and he never talked about the court case during his lifetime.

It never occurred to my grandmother to talk about it either until my sister and I started to ask. We were flipping ...

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