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When Nels Gudmundsson first asked Kabuo about the incident, Kabuo lied. He told Nels that he had no idea what happened to Carl. When Nels brought the sheriff’s report, Kabuo eventually was forced to tell him the truth. But before doing so, Kabuo made it clear that he was in jail because he was Japanese and that he believed that even if he told the truth it wouldn’t matter.
Kabuo had chosen to fish at Ship Channel that night because he heard the fishing had been good for 2 nights in a row. After pulling up his net once, Kabuo motored to reset it. While doing this, he heard the horn of a boat and then Carl Heine’s voice saying his boat was dead in the water. They tied their boats together. Kabuo hoped they were not in the shipping lane. Carl had lashed a lantern to his boat as signal he was there; it was the best he could do with two dead batteries.
Kabuo knew Carl avoided speaking. Kabuo remembers fishing with Carl when they were 12 years old. Carl had commented on beautiful colors of the water and even then Kabuo knew this was uncharacteristic of Carl. Carl and Kabuo kept what they felt inside, though for different reasons. They were more similar that Kabuo wanted to admit.
Kabuo passed Carl one of his D-6 batteries, and Carl banged the flange out of the way so it would fit. Kabuo brought his fishing gaff, and Carl used it as a hammer against the flange. While banging, Carl’s hand slipped, creating a cut. Carl got the battery in, and Kabuo said he’d meet Carl later back at the dock. Before leaving, Carl stopped him, and they made a deal on the land.
Finally, Kabuo tells his side of the story, but only after the evidence forces him to. Kabuo believes that the truth does not matter when it comes to racism. With the government sanctioning the internment of the Japanese only a few years before, he does not believe that anyone will believe a “sly and treacherous” “Jap” could be telling the truth, especially when a well-liked fisherman and war veteran is involved. Nels argues that he is entitled to a fair trial, but Kabuo counters that he is accused because there are men that hate him. Kabuo’s experiences of racial hatred have left him unable to believe he can get a fair trial or that the truth even matters. The American ideals of equality, freedom, liberty, and tolerance are meaningless in a politically sanctioned climate of racial prejudice.