Tom Akashi Interview Segment 11

Family background: mother an older Nisei, born in California (ddr-densho-1000-164-1) - 00:04:56
Father's background in Japan: attended a prestigious high school (ddr-densho-1000-164-2) - 00:03:21
After immigrating to the United States, father attends school to learn English, then graduates from college in three years (ddr-densho-1000-164-3) - 00:03:01
Parents met and married in California (ddr-densho-1000-164-4) - 00:03:55
(ddr-densho-1000-164-5) - 00:02:42
Childhood memories of Mount Eden, California: kenjinkai picnics, father is community's Japanese school teacher (ddr-densho-1000-164-6) - 00:04:49
Mother's role raising five children, taking odd jobs to supplement family income (ddr-densho-1000-164-7) - 00:01:45
Growing up in a neighborhood with kids of other ethnicities: "you're conscious that you're Japanese and you're different" (ddr-densho-1000-164-8) - 00:02:29
Memories of the bombing of Pearl Harbor: after attending church, helping father burn possessions related to Japan (ddr-densho-1000-164-9) - 00:04:49
Destroying Japanese possessions: "We don't want anything that would incriminate us as being Japanese" (ddr-densho-1000-164-10) - 00:03:19
Father's arrest by the FBI: targeted because of childhood friendship with Japanese admiral (ddr-densho-1000-164-11) - 00:06:54
Returning to school after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, getting in fights with other students over racist name-calling (ddr-densho-1000-164-12) - 00:03:22
Preparing for mass removal: "It was panic and chaos" (ddr-densho-1000-164-13) - 00:03:48
The day of mass removal, receiving aid from a Jewish man (ddr-densho-1000-164-14) - 00:02:51
Memories of mass removal: "Gee, where's my rights? What's happening to me?" (ddr-densho-1000-164-15) - 00:05:17
Observing the generational shift in camp: Nisei take over the primary roles, while Issei are supporting (ddr-densho-1000-164-16) - 00:04:37
Discussion with father on journey to Topaz concentration camp, father indicates desire to leave camp as soon as possible (ddr-densho-1000-164-17) - 00:04:46
Arrival at Topaz concentration camp: "desolate, dry, dusty" (ddr-densho-1000-164-18) - 00:01:40
Attending school in camp, interviewing school faculty as class reporter (ddr-densho-1000-164-19) - 00:05:10
Memories of father's friend who was shot and killed by a sentry in camp (ddr-densho-1000-164-20) - 00:01:10
The confusing questions 27 and 28 on the so-called "loyalty questionnaire" (ddr-densho-1000-164-21) - 00:05:20
Father vocally protests conditions in camp, and is questioned by FBI regarding allegations made against him (ddr-densho-1000-164-22) - 00:06:55
Father decides to volunteer to go to Japan, wife and children insist on accompanying him (ddr-densho-1000-164-23) - 00:03:13
Feeling shocked upon hearing of family's decision to go to Japan; labeled a "disloyal" by peers (ddr-densho-1000-164-24) - 00:05:01
Talking with father on journey to Tule Lake concentration camp, the so-called "segregation camp" (ddr-densho-1000-164-25) - 00:03:01
Arrival at Tule Lake, witnessing confusion as many people are arriving and leaving (ddr-densho-1000-164-26) - 00:01:54
Witnessing the "chaos" of Tule Lake: disputes between factions of people (ddr-densho-1000-164-27) - 00:07:10
Father forms a small group to propose to the camp administration the idea of "resegregating" Tule Lake, separating the pro-Japanese factions from everyone else (ddr-densho-1000-164-28) - 00:05:57
Father circulates a petition to support his resegregation idea after the camp administration rejects it; obtains 6,500 signatures (ddr-densho-1000-164-29) - 00:07:49
Formation of the Sokoku Kenkyu Seinen Dan, the Young Men's Association for the Study of the Motherland (ddr-densho-1000-164-30) - 00:06:15
Joining father's organization, the Kenkyu Seinen Dan: shaving head, forming a bugle corps, and marching in drills (ddr-densho-1000-164-31) - 00:04:30
Hearing about the murder of a suspected informant in camp (ddr-densho-1000-164-32) - 00:03:00
A shift in the objectives and leadership of the pro-Japan organizations after announcement that people would be allowed to renounce their U.S. citizenship (ddr-densho-1000-164-33) - 00:05:27
Observing changes in the pro-Japan organizations during the institution of the renunciation program (ddr-densho-1000-164-34) - 00:04:26
Father arrested by the FBI and removed from Tule Lake along with sixty-nine others (ddr-densho-1000-164-35) - 00:05:56
Personal feelings after father's arrest: angry, but "kind of proud" (ddr-densho-1000-164-36) - 00:05:26
Witnessing the frenzy of people applying to renounce their U.S. citizenship (ddr-densho-1000-164-37) - 00:05:17
Mother communicates via coded letters to try to discover father's whereabouts after his removal from Tule Lake (ddr-densho-1000-164-38) - 00:06:27
Observing mother's peers turning against her after her husband's arrest and removal from Tule Lake (ddr-densho-1000-164-39) - 00:01:30
An emotional reunion with father on ship bound for Japan (ddr-densho-1000-164-40) - 00:07:19
Preparing for life in Japan: learning the language, feeling worried (ddr-densho-1000-164-41) - 00:02:55
Arrival in Japan: confronted with poverty and despair: "it was a dismal, dismal situation" (ddr-densho-1000-164-42) - 00:05:37
Initial experiences in Japan: freezing cold, living on army surplus rations (ddr-densho-1000-164-43) - 00:03:40
Life in Japan, postwar: working for a land reclamation project, then finding a job with a Japanese construction company as an interpreter (ddr-densho-1000-164-44) - 00:06:33
Working for the Saga Prefecture military government, encouraged by boss to return to the United States (ddr-densho-1000-164-45) - 00:03:18
Reflecting on father's immigration experience upon own return to U.S. (ddr-densho-1000-164-46) - 00:02:56
Gaining father's approval to leave Japan and return to the U.S.: "he gave me his blessing" (ddr-densho-1000-164-47) - 00:06:52
Mother and siblings eventually return to live in United States, father chooses to remain in Japan for rest of his life (ddr-densho-1000-164-48) - 00:03:59
Mother's postwar life in San Francisco, California (ddr-densho-1000-164-49) - 00:03:56
Writing a book about personal experiences and life of father as "a gift to my children and my grandchildren" (ddr-densho-1000-164-50) - 00:06:03
Many years later, piecing together father's wartime experiences in a Department of Justice internment camp (ddr-densho-1000-164-51) - 00:03:40
Recounting father's experiences at the Fort Stanton internment camp (ddr-densho-1000-164-52) - 00:07:08
Description of Fort Stanton internment camp (ddr-densho-1000-164-53) - 00:06:29
(ddr-densho-1000-164-54) - 00:03:02
Thoughts on current events and the aftermath of September 11, 2001: "history is repeating itself" (ddr-densho-1000-164-55) - 00:02:18
Reflections on life experiences (ddr-densho-1000-164-56) - 00:08:27
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ddr-densho-1000-164-11 (Legacy UID: denshovh-atom-01-0011)

Father's arrest by the FBI: targeted because of childhood friendship with Japanese admiral

00:06:54 — Segment 11 of 56

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July 3, 2004

Densho Visual History Collection


Courtesy of Densho


Tom Akashi

Tom Akashi Interview

04:13:27 — 56 segments

July 3, 2004

Klamath Falls, Oregon

Nisei male. Born June 7, 1929, in Merced, California. Grew up in Mount Eden, California, and was removed to the Tanforan Assembly Center, California, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Incarcerated at the Topaz concentration camp in Utah, then moved to Tule Lake concentration camp after family volunteered to move to Japan. While at Tule Lake, joined a pro-Japan organization created by father, the Sokoku Kenkyu Seinen Dan, (Young Men's Association for the Study of the Motherland). Renounced U.S. citizenship and expatriated to Japan with parents and siblings in 1945. Lived and worked in Japan until 1948, when returned to the United States. Author of Betrayed Trust: The Story of a Deported Issei and His American-Born Family During WWII, published in 2004. Mr. Akashi passed away on September 30, 2012.

Tom Ikeda, interviewer; Chizu Omori, interviewer; Steve Colgrove, videographer


Courtesy of Densho