Letter from Kenji Okuda to Eleanor Ring dated June 9, 1945

Letter from Kenji Okuda to Eleanor Ring dated June 9, 1945. Ring Family Papers, Acc. 4241, Box 1, folder 13. University of Washington Libraries: Manuscripts, Special Collections, University Archives.

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Seattle, Wash.
June 9, 1945

Dear Eleanor,

Eating busily, I write — to take full advantage of the short twenty-four hours a day. Saturday, and I’m down at work and have been here since seven a.m. — an ungodly hour to start the work day. Incidentally, if you smell the fine sent of fish meal on this letter, it’s but a little taste of what the other riders on the bus on my way home will have to stand. We’ll be working with it the rest of the day.

How is everything coming along with you? Know any interesting jobs around? Seattle doesn’t change much in the last three years, and so I find it a rather pleasant, but nevertheless confining place. The big city has gotten into my blood! In the last three years race tension has increased markedly the city has grown a little dirtier, and restrictions are still too damn tough. At any rate, I shall probably stick it out until the first of next year at the earliest, and the sooner I head for graduate school, the happier I’m going to be. College is, no matter what one says, a relatively pleasant escape from life, and I get somewhat fed up with the brutal selfishness which is seen entirely too often. Incidentally I ran into your dad several nights ago at a forum at the Y.W. — a very good panel on the whole — I was definitely one of its weaker links.

After coming back to Seattle, I looked half-heartedly around the city for a job, and after a few rejections find myself a member of the International Longshoremen & Warehousemen Union, C.I.O. I work out of their dispatching hall, but cannot work on the waterfront until I get a coast guard permit on which application I got a rejection, and a hearing will be held on my request on June 18. I hope to ask Woody to accompany me, and longshore union official is also interested in settling in. After a few trips, I’m in my third job at Albers at the foot of Massachusetts street. I’ve been here a week now, but the work is to hard since I can never seem to get enough sleep. I’m thinking of quitting — in the other two jobs, all the warehousemen were terminated. Here we handle mostly 100# sacks of meal, feed, etc. Loading and unloading freight cars. Then also I am thinking of trying to get a job which will bring a showdown with the Teamsters in their attitude toward the Nisei. And running through this whole battle has been some changes in my philosophy — something to talk over long and seriously at the next opportunity.

Incidentally I shall be down some Sunday in July if possibly can. I’ll let you know as soon as I make up my mind.


Another day of leisure shall soon be a memory, but I hope to make the most of it. I’ll try to keep you posted on new developments.