Saturday, July 25, 2015

Linda Emery Lee Cadwell. Retired Educator.

Linda Lee Cadwell.    Photo: Madeline Crowley ©

If you had been born at a different time you could have been bussed to Ingraham (High School) and you would never, ever have met Bruce Lee.

Looking back, I had an open attitude from my experiences at Meany and Garfield with different races and just different people, different lifestyles. There were people who came from very poor and very wealthy areas to Garfield, so there were so many experiences. Having that contact with all these different types of people and their families just makes one more open to experiences. I feel very fortunate that way.


You know when something like this happens to you, you lose your husband, or you lose a child (pause) you think you’re alone in the world in your suffering. Then you find out that this has happened to other people and you never knew that about them.

This interview is now available in the book, We Lived Here, published by Chin Music Press:

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tsuguo Ike Ikeda, Former Director Atlantic Street Center

Mr. Ikeda served the Central Area community for 33 years through the Atlantic Street Center as well as serving selflessly on numerous committees and boards over even more years. 

The Central Area truly would not be what it has been without his tireless efforts. 

Ike Ikeda. Photo: Madeline Crowley

Mr. Ike Ikeda has generously agreed to share his story with us. Can you tell us about your life? *

I was born in Portland, Oregon. When I was young, I went to Japanese School right after I finished American school. After eating dinner, we’d study and then listen to the radio. On Sundays, we’d attend church school, then worship and finally go to fellowship group in the evening. I was a timid person so these activities at the church helped me learn leadership skills.

I remember one Christmas each of us children received one orange as a present from our Mom. I don’t recall being disappointed with this gift, just appreciation.

During the summer time from the time we were six years old, we would go to berry farms to pick berries. That way, we’d get enough money to pay for our clothes for a year.

Ike Ikeda and siblings. Collection: Ike Ikeda

Now, were these farms owned by…


It was all the berry farms: strawberries, raspberries. We were child laborers but that was part of those times. There was an expectation of going to work instead of having summer vacation. I couldn’t understand why the white kids had vacations during summers while 
we had to work.

During World War II, the war in Japan had a tremendous impact on us as Japanese-Americans. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, we felt that times were going to be tough for us.

Copyright Los Angeles Times. 

On December 8th, a school assembly was called and I slouched in my seat as the President declared war on Japan.  I felt very uncomfortable as my fellow students were giving me the eye as if I were the enemy.

Prior to the war, people who were of Japanese descent couldn’t ownland, couldn’t own businesses, but they had farms that they could lease. Just prior to the World War II, in the Seattle area Japanese American provided approximately 75% of the groceries, all the produce and dairy products were made by the Japanese Americans on leased farms. The majority of the fruit and vegetable stands in the Pike Place Market were managed by Japanese Americans. Incarcerating us wasn’t military necessity; it was economic greed.

When World War II broke out, the white farmers, the Granges and the American Legion, among others, attacked our credibility and our loyalty as American citizens. Also, they were out to destroy the competition.

So it wasn’t really about fears around the food supply; it was a land grab.

It was never brought out (in the media) but really they were they were attacking us for working too hard, seven days a week, not taking days off. That was a way, coupled with War Fever, to get the competition eliminated.

There was definitely the land grab, there’s little doubt about that. The misapprehension that people were loyal to the Emperor, there were people at the time who believed that, but I don’t think it was true.

No, it wasn’t true. My perspective is that groups wanted to get rid of us, those that had financial interests joined with small farmers to eliminate the competition, to take over the land.

Both from the Collection of Ike Ikeda
I heard only in the case of Bainbridge and a few other places, did people in the community maintain the farms and hand them back over after the war.


There were a few, very few. How old were you then?


You were a young man, did you feel much hostility from the white community, personally?


Did you see those signs?

Oh, yes. Yes, in Portland where I was born and also Seattle had big signs that said, “Japs Get Out” and that sort of thing. I happened to volunteer to go to one of the camps in Portland so I have pictures of that experience (see below).

There were pictures of the camps being prepared for us to live in the animal stalls of the Livestock Exposition Grounds for our incarceration. I perceived myself as an American so I was angry that I had been deceived in school about our democracy and the Bill of Rights. My only guilt was my parents had been immigrants from Japan. 120,000 people, 70% of them children were incarcerated.

As I was entering into the camp, there were soldiers with fixed bayonets lining the way into the camp. I vowed to myself then that I would fight for social justice when I got out of the camp.

Ike Ikeda & his father arriving at camp. Collection Ike Ikeda.

What were your feelings at the time? Can you reconstruct how you felt at that moment seeing your fellow citizens pointing guns at you?

I felt betrayed by America. It’s supposed to be a democracy with due process as indicated in the bylaws of the Constitution.

But that didn’t hold for us as our crime was being of Japanese ancestry not because we did anything wrong. In fact, after the war was over, both FBI reports and Military Intelligence said that there was not one person of Japanese ancestry who had committed a crime against the government of America. Later, President Roosevelt remarked that the internment was based on prejudice, not on military necessity. Through the Freedom of Information Act after the war, records showed no necessity for incarceration in the camp.

Copyright: Minidoka Pilgrimage

I worked in the farms that surrounded the camp (see the farms indicated in the map of Minidoka above). Eventually, I was able to be relocated with my siblings at University in Salt Lake City, Utah. I then was accepted at a small university in Kansas, and the Army invited me to join the Armed Forces. Since I was fluent in Japanese I was given the opportunity to volunteer for Military Intelligence.

I have a copy of the controversial loyalty oath given to those who wanted to volunteer for military service. Now, there’s a cultural aspect to that, the second question states that you have to deny allegiance to the Emperor of Japan. Only 5% of us answered ‘no’ to that. In retrospect, it was because culturally we don’t like to answer questions with ‘no.’ We like to be obedient. Many of us didn’t understand from the wording that they were asking us to affirm loyalty and allegiance to the U.S. 95% answered incorrectly because no one had allegiance to the Emperor but they said ‘yes’ to that question because we are conditioned to always answer ‘yes.’ That information was kept from the public.

U.S. Loyalty Oath. Collection: Ike Ikeda.
I understood the question so I did serve in the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regiment, the Military Intelligence Service. I attended language school for nine months and when I graduated I was given the rank of Private. Yet, the white students in the same class were given a Lieutenant ranking. This was not right so I decided not to go to Japan. I was assigned to do KP (kitchen patrol) and cutting grass before being discharged honorably. Later, the Combat Team of the 442nd was one of the most decorated units in military history.

After the war, I went to the School of Social Work at the Universityof Washington. My first job was at the Neighborhood House of Seattle for 2 years.

Was Neighborhood House run originally by the Jewish community?


Did it reflect the influence of the Neighborhood House and its founding principles, or was it a different idea?

No, it’s the same basic settlement house, a traditional organization, a social services organization. It just was that they changed from serving a predominantly Jewish to a Black community. After two years, a job opened at the Atlantic Street Center, which was then, a Community-Based Services Center.

Some of board members wondered if a Japanese American could serve the black community? I just felt that I could but I didn’t have any proof, as my experience was limited to those two years. Still, I started in 1953 and stayed for 33 years. I happened to be the first the first Japanese American Executive Director of a non-profit in the United States.

Copyright Atlantic Street Center. 

I didn’t know that.

Well, there were so few opportunities given to us.

Yes. That makes sense. So your community must have been so proud of you.

(Laughs) Well no, they didn’t know.  

Anyway, after my first five years managing programs like the cooperative pre-school, the Creative Arts for Senior Citizens, the Service project for troubled youth, Urban Renewal, the Summer Day Camp program and all the others. I was spending all over the place. It looked impressive. I mean, we were trying to do a lot of programs, we were very active and trying to meet the needs of the community but I felt there was no substance to it. We were overextended and underfunded. As a social worker, I felt that I needed to do more than just playing games with kids.

I had no role model for changing the direction of an old, established agency. The answer though was clear, the settlement service house model did not fit my vision. I couldn’t depend on other leaders in the field; they were no help. I had to rely on myself. I thought of the analogy of water on a plate, it would cover it but be skin deep. If you pour the same amount of water into a beaker, it has depth. So by focusing limited resources, you had a better chance of being effective.

So we decided to give up our senior citizen program to the Council on Aging funded by the United Way. The pre-school program, we put into the Collins Playground neighborhood facility. The urban renewal program we transferred to a community council federation.  Then, Neighborhood House worked with low-income housing and we felt they were the experts on housing, not us. So, we gave up nearly every program we had except working with troubled youth.

With the focus on one program, we had a chance to fly. More importantly, it was not a typical thing for agencies to do, to just to give up programs.

Yes, because you get grants for programs.

Right. But in fact, every one of those programs grew because of that decision.

It was a very bold move.

Yes, it was a little different, for sure. Then after two years of focusing on troubled youth, we got a grant from the government to study all the effective programs in the U.S. for troubled youth. The conclusion of this research was that, projects that performed sloppy research predict a probability of great success. Studies done with technical expertise and research showed no success with troubled youth. In fact, from our examinations we could find only five studies ever done at that time that were done properly as research projects. So the sloppier the research; the bolder the claims of success.

We figured that, the sooner we did sound research, the better. After three rejections, we got our National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) research grant. Our small local agency was competing against research centers, universities, PhDs and MDs, research backed with expertise. There were very few if any NIMH grants given to researchers at the Master’s level (which is the degree I had). Persistency paid off. We our got our research funded.

Collection: Ike Ikeda
It became the one of the top ten studies of its kind ever done in the United States. We were aware that process records kept by social workers were not useful for research because workers used different words to describe things. There was inconsistent use of words so by looking at the records only, there’s an inconsistency of data.

Fortunately, our research director was one of the first persons to graduate in computer science in University of Washington (UW). He helped us develop one the first computerized records system for social services in the United States. Together we devised a system to tabulate contacts with clients, how much time was spent with clients in intervals and a system of codes for different problems. There was no way to tabulate such things in social worker’s records until that point. Computers were rare then and the information we gathered was on punch cards. We had to go to the UW early in the morning to use the computer as there was high demand for this new machine. We developed the highest documentation of services in a research project. Still, after seven years of study, we still didn’t have the answers to delinquency.  

At that time, I was on the State Committee of Law and Justice, each state was going to get a state planning grant. I figured anyone applying for that grant would say that they knew how to solve the problem (of delinquency and that), and that they knew how to plan. Yet, I thought that would be a crime; it’s dishonest. So, we made a proposal that stated clearly we didn’t know how to reduce crime, or delinquency, we didn’t know how to prevent it, we didn’t know how to plan for it. Therefore, we were applying to do the statewide planning which is kind of crazy. Yet, it was very honest from our point of view. I knew the State’s Director, and he knew me and trusted me. He approved our small agency to do the statewide planning for three years.
Collection: Ike Ikeda

I believe that we all have a part of the answer, not the answer but only a part, so I was open to other disciplines in coming to staff this project. I hired a structural engineer from Boeing to work part-time as a Technical Director. I hired an economist from Boeing who had figured out how to reduce Boeing’s workforce by 50% in 1970 when times were rough and for his technical expertise.

I had taken a class in Economics but felt miserable in it. I decided that someone with that background would help me with the planning and enlighten me. He’d bring a social engineering perspective to how to plan things. The end result was our small agency was the most systematic, the most sophisticated in the United States at that time.

Well, that makes you a pioneer in multi-disciplinary projects in social services.

Yeah. I learned to have the courage and confidence of not knowing - yet not be stopped by that but instead be open to a broader perspective.

One example of how being open really served everyone was with the Black Panther Party. Elmer Dixon, (co-founder of the Black Panther Party, BPP) who had been through Atlantic Street Center when he was a child, approached me and asked if they could house their breakfast program at Atlantic Street. It was a touchy subject. They were controversial at that time there was fear and threats involved with the Panthers. There were rumors that the food they got from the Safeway Store was gotten through extortion.

Collection: Aaron Dixon

I asked Elmer to give me a week to think it over. During that time, I realized I was blessed by having broad funding through the United Way and the Methodist Church and others. It wasn’t entirely adequate but I had income coming in whereas I didn’t think Elmer did. They didn’t have enough community to back them up and they were trying to feed hungry, needy children. Elmer and the BPP were feeding hungry children so I honestly couldn’t condemn their method of fundraising.

I set up the meeting and said we’d welcome them to come. From that I had the wonderful experience of the Panthers opening for breakfast every morning, five days a week during the school year to provide the breakfast for these kids. Over many years, the Panthers were responsible and kind, they were great with kids, and they cleaned up every time. Every month the same FBI agent would to come to me in the early morning to check up on them. I tried to reassure him. I told him to tell the police that there was little to be concerned about regarding the Panthers. I asked him to tell the police that these guys are doing good work. I was very impressed how responsible they were in meeting nutritional needs for needy children long before the government assumed that role years later. (Much later, I asked Elmer why they didn’t try to get me replaced with a black as I was an Asian running a service agency that served African American youth and he said, we knew you had good intentions so we had no problem with your leadership).

In the meantime, we had a project for black youth called The Group Homes, it was a program of Seattle’s Model Cities. The Atlantic Street staff recommended we hire a young couple for the group home, who were Panthers and really good with kids. I agreed because I felt these two Panthers would bring an important perspective in our efforts to serve troubled youth.

However, the City Council was having a hard time buying homes for the program. Somehow, two Seattle Times reporters heard about it and went on a front page rampage blasting us. They wrote that the Atlantic Street Center was a very costly operation and kept the drumbeat up in the newspapers.

The group homes staff was made up of black university students as counselors and house parents. They were so motivated; they were making good decisions to serve our youth. As the negative press continued, these young Panthers felt my reputation and that of the agency would be slaughtered.  

I tried to tell the press the facts, that our project was purposely a six-month residency and that meant it would serve 24 youth every year. It was designed to increase the time spent home gradually so that at the end of six months they were back at home with new skills.

We had six beds in two homes, so 12 beds total. In our plan, over a year we’d have two six month residencies serving 24 kids in a year. The reporters wrote the costs are too high as there were only 12 beds. They were out to get me. When I spoke directly to them they said, “No, it’s not you, we wanted to destroy the Model Cities program.” The attacks were so relentless the staff felt it wasn’t worth continuing to struggle because you couldn’t fight the newspapers. The newspaper was suggesting a Congressional investigation, so it was serious.

Then the staff who were Panthers volunteered to resign. I knew they needed the job and the money for university. Jobs in 1970 were very hard to come by. They were concerned about my respect in the community being destroyed along with the agency so they decided to resign. Our personnel policy was to give one-month severance pay. That Black Panther couple said, we can’t take severance because we’re going to be taking an action against the Administration. If the newspapers found a written record that two Atlantic Street staff participating in a demonstration were part of a Federally funded project (laughs) it would be a massacre, it would be the end…

They decided not to take the severance pay so there would be no record of connection. I was taken aback because it was so thoughtful of my welfare especially when they needed the money to attend university. I told them, I won’t accept your resignation. You’re being so kind to me and to the agency. I paid them for the full month. In end, the newspaper reporter didn’t get discover the connection. It was the most wonderful experience I had in 33 years at the Atlantic Street Center. These Panthers were so kind and so thoughtful.

It’s a wonderful story; I think that’s peculiar to the west coast. There were some Japanese young people involved with the Panthers here and Oakland. Do you think that that came about because Japanese had a direct experience with how the government had been unfair, so some Japanese were little more sympathetic to the black community?

Well, not very many. We are so brainwashed to obey orders, to not cause trouble. Still, the years of the Civil Rights protests affected me. Blacks were asserting for their rights. As an Asian American, that made me want to find my own positive identity. I’d been called a “Jap” and I wanted to find a positive identity from books written by Japanese American on our culture. I couldn’t find other sources so I started writing based on my experience of being Executive Director at Atlantic and which Japanese teachings had helped me over the years. This became “Ike’s Principles: Significant Powers in each of Us.” It took 30 years to write but through the help of Dee and Sam Goto it was published in 2003. It became the basis for many motivational talks I gave at many meetings locally and nationally.

Ike's Principles by Tsuguo Ike Ikeda

Working in social services, you sometimes wonder if what you attempted to do made a difference; if what you did had any value. One disappointing moment was meeting someone who’d been through the Atlantic Street Center but still ended up in Monroe Reformatory. On the other hand, there was Franklin Raines. He came to the Atlantic Street Center as child when he was living with a cousin who was always in trouble. I worried Franklin would have no chance to succeed. However, he ended up graduating from Harvard, becoming a Rhodes Scholar, was President Clinton’s Director of Management and Budget for the United States and he attained the first balanced budget in US history. When we were raising money, he donated $25,000 to thank the Atlantic Street Center to opening his eyes to possibilities for himself.

At a different time in my career, President Reagan proposed major cutbackson social services in the United States. I felt we had to get the minority community together to deal with this. At that time we only had ten minority executives, total, at all the social services agencies. I invited those ten to meet and challenged them – either we continue business as usual competing and fighting to get as much money for our own agency or we need to trust each other and collaborate together as one coalition. Unanimously, they said, Coalition!

Collection: Ike Ikeda

That started the Seattle King County Minority Executive Directors Coalition. Later, through another project I traveled the country to: Hawaii; California; Oakland; Los Angeles; Chicago; New York; Philadelphia and so on, and found that very few community of color were coalescing effectively. In the larger cities, they are all separate communities: Chinatown, Japantown... They couldn’t see the logic of this collaboration. We were very fortunate because there are too few of us to be the single spokesperson, whereas in collaborating we have a voice. That was a very successful result.

Another time, I got a letter from the President of the Asian Inmate Coalition 
at the Monroe Reformatory asking for my help. I thought that in prison the minorities fought each other. It was a much more tough life living in prison. When they asked for my help with an Asian coalition I said, I will go on one condition: an equal number of Asians, Blacks, Chicanos, Native Americans, and Hispanics, will each come with five representatives. The leadership will be mixed and rotating. They decide the agenda collectively. Well, it 
was the most successful minority coalition in the history of the state of Washington correctional institutions. Then, the Prison Superintendent asked me to help with another coalition but one that would include white inmates 
so I did that too.

In a way, the Seattle area has been blessed with not having enough minorities to go their ways separately; we had had the good sense to trust each other, to work together for the common good. No matter what relations were any of the minority communities, we are all back together in that group. Practicing that kind of support paid off.

I recognize as an outsider how rare this cooperation is between people who do have vested and different interests. It’s a really beautiful thing but clearly you’re right, it’s because necessity drove that either bond together or divided we fall…

Luckily, we actually believed that. Larry Gossett would be an interesting person for you to interview because he’s gone through that experience. He started the Black Students Union and he became the director of the Central Area Motivation Program, CAMP. He had the perspective and the power of collaboration.

Bob Santos also mentioned him, so did Doug Chin.

Then, when it came to protesting Apartheid in Africa with Mandela and the struggles he was going through, the Minority Coalition agreed to demonstrate by stepping over the threshold of the South African consulate, for which you’d be arrested. So I had the experience of being arrested (laughs). The police were very thoughtful in how they cuffed us and they drove us not too far and let us go free. Later, the judge dismissed the charges so my slate is clean. I haven’t been arrested since.

Collection: Ike Ikeda
From my decision to fight for social justice came the motivation to help each neighbor. They happened to be colored people and that became a part of my life. It was an experience that I enjoyed very much. I was one of a few of my community to start with a bachelor’s degree. I felt a little obligation to help others who were not fortunate to have that kind of education, so that too was part of my motivation.

Seems like you operate from a sense of mission, integrity and honesty. I wonder if you got any push back from the Japanese community about that; were they concerned that you were serving other people’s interests?

Yes, that… a little.

A little bit?

That I was not serving the Asian community; that I was primarily serving the African American community. They might not have appreciated the minority collaborate approach either. And (pause) to engage in protests is not part of our culture, our brainwashing. We Japanese just don’t do that - except I happened to do it. One time, I was part of a minority community protest regarding construction.

Yeah. The protest was regarding the building of the Sea-Tac Airport. Very few contracts were being given to minority vendors.  We met and decided together on the action, on how we’d behave and what we’d do. We went out to protest carrying signs on sticks. Then, there were a couple of white young kids who came to protest who had ripped the signs off and used the sticks in a threatening way. We told them either they throw away those sticks or get out of there, leave. They wouldn’t listen so we just grabbed the sticks and yanked them away from them. Then, as we walked around the corner there were police from small communities Kent, Auburn, Redmond guarding the area and they looked so scared! (laughs) I felt scared when I saw them because they were supposed to be in control.

That was kind of scary when the police are scared, well, that made it really scary. In the end, it resulted in opening up contracts at Sea-Tac to minority companies.

That didn’t have to do with the Atlantic Street Center, it was driven by a belief in integrity and fairness.  That drove me daily to do to these kinds of ‘un-Asian’ approaches. (laughs)

Seattle U Special Collections. Gift of Ike Ikeda

I’ve talked to other people from the Japanese American community who experienced their larger community making it clear they wished they wouldn’t tell their stories…


The community made their displeasure clear; you must have felt that as well.

Yes. I felt it but I couldn’t stop. I kept doing it knowing full well it was un-Japanese to behave that way in public. It was a little lonely in that way, feeling that I was not a wanted part of the community.

You are brave.

Well, I’m different.

Yeah, you are (laughs). Thank God for that. You’re radical in a way.

Yeah. A little different (laughs).

One time, I was asked to be the Chair of a Committee of Asian American Methodist Caucus of the Western states to challenge the Church to elect the first Asian as a Bishop in the Church. They just didn’t do it.

They didn’t?

So we protested. We also reviewed candidates from all the western churches who might be good candidates. We wanted to find the most Christ-like Japanese American or Asian American. We came across Lloyd Wake of Glide Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco that served all minorities, gays, lesbians, also the down and out people. He was an Associate Pastor there and in our eyes he was the most Christ-like of the group because of his deeds to the community as a whole, serving its needs. So we went on a campaign in Seattle (as the voting was held here) for the Western National Conference here to select a person for this vacancy. They couldn’t handle the fact that this pastor served gays and lesbians; (scoffs) this was a while ago.

Ike Ikeda. Collection: Ike Ikeda

About when?

It was in the 70s. We caucused and came up with another person, Bishop Choy - Dr. Choy. He has a Ph.D. in the Ministerial Field and he was a District Superintendent of the United Methodist church in Oakland. But being Asian, he had never been appointed to any national committees of the church. They slammed him for that, being not being credentialed. We had a heck of a time convincing other delegates, these wonderful Christian Methodists to look at an Asian. Then we decided one night before the vote to stand in a circle and just sing “Amen Amen Amen” over and over again. It must have been 15 minutes or so, standing there the University Methodist Church in this large sanctuary area of the University United Methodist Church where the voting members were sitting. Finally, the presiding Bishop said, “Think about what’s going on here. Go home. Pray about it and come back in the morning and we can start voting again.

In the morning the two highest ranking candidates, one was a District Superintendent of the Los Angeles area, which is a large powerful group, the other was a theologian of a seminary and both had the paper credentials. Dr. Choy was a Chinese American, which is very unusual as there are not many Chinese Methodist churches. There are lot more Japanese American Methodist Churches but we were willing to give up our choice to get an Asian American elected. That morning, the delegation came to order and the two top candidates (who were white) both resigned. That left Dr. Choy as the remaining candidate. Currently, we have three Japanese Americans Pastors serving as Bishops covering the whole western area. In other words, they have proven to their fellow pastors that they were competent to be bishop. That was a unique experience.

I think Dee Goto told me about Dr. Choy as well.

I met the Pastor of First Methodist Church, which is a large church, and he was very touched that Dr. Choy opened up for his ideas on how to manage things. I guess the other bishops didn’t do that. It meant a lot to this white pastor that Bishop Choy who happened to be a Chinese-American was open to his point of view.

Yeah, I think fear of difference is just fear that it’s going to be hard… but people are people, they’re exactly alike except for culture.

One time, I was Chair of the United Way Campaign for the Social Service Agencies.

Did you know Fordie Ross?

Yes, is he still around, huh?

He is, he walks two miles every other day. He’ll be 100 in April. (He has since passed)

Because of the United Way Campaign I was privileged to go on a retreat with all these big financial people to come up with budget figures for the campaign. It happened to be a Nordstrom was the General chair. I thought, Oh, he’s just doing this as a front, so it’ll look good for the company. I was shocked but pleased when I saw he was sincere about raising more funds.

The first day we heard from the different chairs about their budget figures and then we totaled it up. Bruce Nordstrom said, that was not enough; we had to re-think the figures for the campaign. I thought wow! That sounded great. I was shocked that at every turn he wanted more funds to be raised for the needs of the community. Then, during the actual campaign he kept pushing for even higher donations. Well, wound up by breaking the goals that were set. I was really thankful and impressed that someone like Bruce Nordstrom (and his company) would be so committed to raising funds for the community.

Ike Ikeda. Collection: Ike Ikeda.

Later, the Nordstom Company got in trouble in the Asian newspapers about doing this or that. It looked bad for the Nordstrom company because it was an accusation that some of the staffers were wearing the clothes and returning it back to stock. That just wasn’t right and there were other things like that. 

I felt real bad. I wanted to do something to help him out, to help the company. Still, for me as a non-business person to suggest anything to a President of a successful company seems kind of strange. Actually, it’s ridiculous. But it’s part of ‘Ike’s Principles’ to believe you can help even though you don’t have confidence that you know how exactly.  So, I had read a lot of books on management. One thing was the importance of a company having a Mission Statement and written Core Values. After a lot of reading I couldn’t find that Nordstrom had a Core Values statement so I thought I might as well try. I wrote five points and sent it to them. Bruce Nordstrom wrote back right away to say I’d hit it the nail on the head about on the company’s core values and that he’d introduce it into the culture of the company. Then, a PR firm President who was a consultant for Nordstrom’s also sent me a letter commending me for getting their core values right. Finally, Bruce Nordstrom sent me a letter thanking me. You’ve got to have the guts to believe that what you have to give will be appreciated by others.

That’s a powerful thing to admit you don’t know something but that’s how you learn.

It’s a tremendous power.

* This interview has been supplemented by printed material provided by Mr. Ikeda for dates and other specifics.

Special thanks also to our valued intern, Nikki Dang Nguyet, for her indefatigable help with many things, one of them this transcription.

©  Madeline Crowley People of the Central Area 2015   All material is covered by copyright. Express written permission must be given for any copyrighted material on this page. Email to request permission to copy or paste materials. 

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Seattle, WA, United States
I am not a professional photographer nor a trained journalist. At community meetings, it became clear that many of us don’t know each other. We haven’t heard each other’s stories and don't know each other’s circumstances. This is my attempt to give a few people the chance to tell their story, to talk about our community, to say their piece in peace. As such, comments have been disabled. The views and opinions expressed here are those of each narrator and do not necessarily reflect the position of views of the CentralAreaComm.blogspot blog site itself. The is not responsible for the accuracy of any information supplied by narrators of this project. All interviews have been edited and in places condensed.

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