<Begin Segment 1>
TI: Today is May 25, 1999. I'm Tom Ikeda and I'm here with Alice Ito. And we're the two interviewers. And at the camera is John Pai. And, this is the second in a series of interviews. And, this interview I really want to sorta jump to -- we were talking a little bit in the car but -- to the summer of 1935. This is the period right after you graduated from high school. And what I want to talk specifically about was the influence of your mother and father, and what, the influence they had on your thinking about education, and what it was to be a immoral person. So, it's a big topic, but I thought maybe you could summarize some of the things that you talked about last time.
GH: Yeah, that's a little bit difficult. [Laughs] On that, posing it that way. I mean, we, we never got into any discussion per say on morality, moral aspects and so on. So, I would have to just respond generally speaking.
TI: Well, why don't we start with the education first then.
GH: Alright --
TI: That's more specific --
TI: And the influence your parents had on your education -- or your thinking about education.
GH: Well, all along, all of us who grew up in Hirabayashi home, grew up with the same kind of perspective going into high school after elementary school. After high school we expected to go to university, in the same perspective. No big deal, it's just that you're continuing on, it's part of the process.
TI: Now how was that communicated to you, that you were, you were going to go on to college?
GH: Well, just as when you finish elementary school you're gonna go to, in our case, Auburn High School, that's where the bus went. And, junior high they dropped off kids, then the senior high, the rest of us. And that was part of the deal. And going to university was a little bit of a break because it meant it's gonna cost something. And we weren't quite familiar with the procedure of -- we learned this as we confronted it -- registering for the school and getting on the campus, and finding out where you stood -- from this building you go to where. And it was a pretty big mystery.
TI: Well, even in the choice of school. You went to the University of Washington, but was that clear that you would always -- you would go to University of Washington?
GH: Well, I think that was pretty clear, just as I went to Auburn. I could've gone to Kent or some other school, I suppose. Except the easiest place was where the public bus went. Our school bus went to one high school. And so most of us were Auburn -- you know, from Thomas -- we were Auburn students. And in sports, you develop pros and cons, attitudes. Well, so Kent became one of our schools that we're gonna beat. So that attitude existed. We never were friendly to Kent. [Laughs]
TI: But now going back to, again, thinking about your parents now with their education --
GH: Yeah --
TI: What about that?
GH: Well, I think, I think it was their view -- and they're not -- they didn't have a patent on this idea. This was quite common among many Japanese families. That if you're going to rise above the unskilled labor profession, if you're going to get into anything that may be a significant level above working on the farm with whatever lack of skills you have, you have to, you have to learn something different. And education was looked at as one of the opportunity sources. And so --
TI: Now was this coming from both your mother and father?
GH: Yes, yes. Most, most -- that's true. And it was, however, most of the talking was done by my mother. She was more articulate in that sense. And Dad was very good for agreeing and endorsing, and if necessary adding his comments at points. But, most of the general presentation of arguments and shaping of views came initially, in terms of verbiage from my mother. But all of us had that picture all the way down. And course, in a way, I became a kind of a model for the rest of my siblings because they followed track.
TI: And so after you went to the University of Washington, and then later on got your Ph.D. Did that sort of set the expectations for all your other siblings, do you think?
GH: Well, I think so. I think without that kind of graduate school opportunities and experience, many people would get their Bachelor's Degree and get to working, making some money. We never got busy on that aspect. We, we never were very good at making money. And, and so it, it was suitable to continue challenges along the educational line. And we happened to -- I didn't know anything about graduate programs when I was going -- when I started the university.
<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 2>
TI: And before you say that, you, just something you mentioned that reminded me of something when you said you weren't very good at making money, you and your siblings. At the last interview you mentioned something about your father in, in almost a similar vein where you said he wasn't that good at making money because he was almost too honest.
TI: That, and this goes back to that, that initial question I asked about sorta the moral values. And it seemed that with your, your father, he lived every day sort of, being sort of this moral and just person. Maybe you can comment on that a little bit?
GH: Yeah. He did his preaching if you -- in effect by living it, rather than by talking it. And so if you wanna find out what system he went by, or what his principles were, you, you saw what he did, what choices he made, what he did accomplishing his objectives and so on. And it was a way which is not going to score high for somebody majoring in marketing and so on, because it's profit objectives that you're learning, and you cut the cost here, and, and you increase your benefits here and so on. You're learning those skills. We didn't get into that aspect at all. And so, we were all right for human relations, and in fact building relations, and building trust and that sort of thing along the way. Because that's, that's what he worked on. In fact it -- later on if we get to how my parents got into the nursing home --
TI: Yeah, we'll do that, but before you get to that I was thinking -- even before when you were still with the family back at Thomas, can you remember any examples of your father living to his principles that perhaps were detrimental to say making money or getting ahead?
GH: Yeah, well, we used to argue with him. Every farmer tried to pack the crates of lettuce with average size lettuce filling the bulk of it, and saving the dozen that fitted on top as the -- especially if you're taking them not to the packing house, but to the market, preparing stuff for the market. You made the box look very attractive. The top layer was significantly better quality and better looking than the layers below. The ones below were good enough to be in that box, 'cause you're selling stuff as grade "A" product, but the best ones you put on for looks, on the top line. That, that's, that was part of the skill of packing. But, he didn't over exaggerate that. In fact, he tended to ignore in putting in, and he'd be criticized -- hey, that's too small. He says, "Well this is still good. And it fits well 'cause the next one is extra large," and so on. And that, that kind of lack of emphasis on appearance was strong on his part. In fact, between the two, my mother was a better business person, business manager than he was. Because he, he was almost devoid of that kind of attention.
TI: You said earlier that you would often argue with him because you would think that what he was doing was perhaps not the way that it should be done. And yet I sense a respect for the way he did things.
GH: Well, it, it had, he -- his way had a way of winning respect and attention by the buyers. People would come to buy lettuce -- they're competing with other packing houses, and market objectives, places. And so, we were -- bulk of our stuff went to the packing houses. But we also sent stuff to Western Avenue, Seattle, for early morning delivery. And I did lot of the truck driving for that. Partly because driving the truck meant I gotta get up at 3:30 or four o'clock in the morning to drive it into Seattle, so I'd have it on the market there when grocery stores would come to Western Avenue shopping for the day's supply of groceries and vegetables, fresh vegetables. So they, they want to come by five o'clock or something so they can take their stuff back to their various --
TI: Right, right --
GH: Distribution points.
TI: And you're talking about the respect that the packers and others had. But, I was more trying to get from your perspective, a personal sense of the respect or how you felt about your father. There seems like there's the sense of -- he held to his principles and yet from a business perspective it wasn't -- it made it hard for the family.
GH: Well, it, it did in one sense, but, we're selling stuff at the same quality. So on that aspect, his emphasis was okay. But it did pay off when the buyers would say, "Well, we'll pay this" -- and when they're competing if Dad would say, well, gee, so and so was offering a little bit more than that, so what were they offering, or such and such. Well, I'll match that. And then, once an agreement is made, they had trust that he would follow through on the quality part, and don't shovel in a lot of lower grade stuff. And, and there was word among the buyers that when he agreed to something he'll stick to it. You can trust him on that. And so, we could hear that part. And so --
TI: And how did that make you feel?
GH: Well, that, that's the way that it oughta be, see, in terms of agreements. So we were all for that. We, we felt that particularly for taking stuff to the Western Avenue Market, Seattle Market for -- instead of packing houses -- sometimes we felt that he was too, too much emphasis on averaging everything. And not -- almost opposed to having a nice looking top, so to speak.
GH: If, if it meant that you're putting up a front, he was opposed to that sort of thing, you know, false front. That's the way -- he, he was opposed to false front. He wanted to be straight up and so he, he agreed that well, making it look attractive is all right, as long as you're not putting up a false front.
<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 3>
TI: Okay Gordon, I'm going to now jump forward to the fall of 1937. This is the time you entered the University of Washington. And in those early years, I'm going to focus on your activities with the YMCA. Because I know it those early years you were busy with your studies, but you still had some time for extracurricular activities. And a lot of these activities seem to be centered around the campus YMCA. And so the question I have is what attracted you to the YMCA?
GH: Well, one of the first things -- you come to a large place like the University of Washington, you gotta, you've got to have a place to hang out. And you gotta enjoy contacts and so on. And so, two places were available to us, because of our background at high school where we belonged to a very elite club called, High Y, high school YMCA. And we had a pin, you know the triangle, and I think it had "High" on it, and then our "Y" was the thing we added on. It was tied with a chain on it, "High Y". And if we had a girlfriend, they got to wear our pin. And it was -- it was the prestigious club in high school, so they wore it with pride, too. So I had the -- and then periodically we would go to the Y for swimming or some other attention, program, leadership training programs and that sorta thing. And, so I had that background to start with, so -- and we weren't open to "The Greek Row" fraternities. It was definitely racist. You know, openly racist. Whites only. Not only whites only, white gentiles only. And so we used to, we used to debate issues like that with Constitutional principles and so on that you believe in as an American, with the fraternity row people. And we used to enjoy that because --
TI: So they would come down to like the YMCA and hold debates or on campus or --
GH: There, or some other places where we're talking to students in general.
TI: Right, so this is at the -- this is while you're a student at the University of Washington...
TI: And active in the YMCA.
TI: Doing these debates...
TI: With, with the fraternities.
GH: Yeah, so by that time I am already in with this bunch --
GH: The YMCA bunch.
AI: Excuse me. You mentioned that you had two choices open to you as a Nisei.
GH: Yeah, the other one was Japanese Students Club. We came on -- unlike the Chinese -- I don't know what the Chinese students had, but they were Asians. They, they weren't open to the fraternity row either. But, I don't know that there was anything like a Chinese Students Club. At any rate, we, we had both of those, because we went to programs that they had for new students coming in. And I went through the -- you know they had their form of initiation process. We had to go through 'Hell Week' and so on. [Laughs]
TI: I'm curious. What was, what was the initiation like for the Japanese Students Club?
GH: Well, they made us go through uncomfortable things. Like you're blindfolded and they say, "Now we're going to -- you're going to have to show us you got some guts and you're willing to try new things and so on." And they, they are talking about, "Hey where is that can of worms?" Then they bring out something kind of like a worm, might be if you're blindfolded, and say, "Now let's, now let's see if he can eat half of this worm," or something. And then they, "Open your mouth." [Laughs] And some of them would gag, and others would half gag, you know to spit it. That was one of the hard things we had to learn to do. And then they would bring you in front of this stool, and say you have to be prepared to clean up all sorts of things even in the stool like this -- and they had some soft things in there. So they made you go through things that make you cringe at first. So those were some of the things. I don't know what all -- some of the ideas they got from the fraternities, actually. But, they were, they were initiation things that they made us hop through.
TI: Okay, so you, you had a choice between these two organizations...
GH: Well, yeah, and I got --
TI: The YMCA and the Japanese Students Club?
GH: Yeah, and I, I got into both. I got into both, but I, I have only certain amount of time. At first I spent some time at the Y and I had my lunch there for a while. But, but eventually I worked out some meal arrangements with some people, and after, especially after I stopped being a school boy, assistant in a doctor's home for my board and room. I used to be able to pack my lunch -- a sandwich, food, something. And then, I had my breakfast, and I came home for evening meals. And then when the doctors, doctor and his wife went out during the week, well, I'm studying anyway, so I'd be available for babysitting. I helped clean.
<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 4>
TI: I should probably summarize for people that, that don't know the story. But, yeah, your first year you stayed with a doctor's family as a house boy, or school boy, and did these chores for room and board to help pay for your way.
GH: Actually, pin money -- six dollars a month or something -- six dollars a month doesn't seem like much but -- well, you know the bus fare was cheap in those days so, it wasn't much, but it was enough to take care of -- you know you had to have few change in your pocket. That did it.
TI: Right. And I believe your, your second year when you went to University of Washington you stayed at Eagleson Hall --
GH: Yeah, well, actually second year in my educational career. I actually went only two quarters.
TI: Good. Why don't you explain that, the two years, or two quarters?
GH: Well, University of Washington has a quarter system. I think theirs is still a quarter system. You go ten weeks usually, two and a half months, plus a week of final exams for those courses. And then, I think there's a week off, and then you start next quarter. So you have those quarters, and you had courses that were usually three credit courses or five credit. Five credit were five days a week course classes. Others were three times a week, or twice a week if they were Tuesday/Thursday classes. They used to have Saturday classes too, and, and in other -- a way of avoiding Saturdays, 'cause some students wanted to go home, or work, so then the schools changed to Tuesday/Thursdays you could have little longer classes. So that Tuesday/Thursday classes met for seventy five minutes instead of fifty minutes. Only twice a week so that they meet their three hour, three fifty minute hour, hundred fifty minutes. And Tuesday/Thursday classes would be seventy five minutes a session. So the same number of hours. And then, so I had those class programs and I generally carried the regular course load for fall and winter term. Fall term started beginning of October. So that meant I could work back home through September and come in --
TI: So the spring and summer quarter...
TI: You went back and worked at the farm.
GH: That's right. Spring term meant after March, winter quarter exams. I went back to work. So I worked half year, six months and went to school six months.
GH: Two years.
GH: And then I, I realized that there are a lot of interesting things going on spring term that I was missing.
TI: Okay, before we get there though, the, when I say second year, so it'd be the, the fall of 1938, you started staying at Eagleson Hall then?
GH: Yeah. Well, I think it was about '39.
TI: '39, okay. But the interesting thing, what I wanted to sorta come back to was that Eagleson Hall was very close, or about half a block away from the Japanese Student Club.
GH: That's right.
TI: And so getting back to your involvement in both. Why don't you talk about -- over time, you spent more and more time at the Y than at the Japanese Student Club. Why don't you tell us why you chose the Y over the Japanese Students Club.
GH: Well. I realized that there's certain amount of time -- I couldn't major in extracurricular activities. Main purpose of going to school is to get an education. And so I had to put in a decent amount of time on homework. But, out of my own interest, I wanted to spend some time on extracurricular activity. And of those things available, more challenging ones for me came from YMCA program, YM, YW programs. And JACL activities were more social oriented --
TI: You mean the Japanese, Japanese Students Club?
GH: Yes, Yeah. JSC.
<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 5>
TI: What were some of the specific activities at the YMCA that attracted you?
GH: Well, they had programs on -- certain ones were study groups. Study groups on philosophy, religious philosophy. At the beginning there weren't anything in, in particular in terms of pacifism or anything, but there were things that had implications that came out to that kind of issue. Increasingly as time went on and the world war in Europe had already started. We'd be hearing stuff, news accounts when Czechoslovakia fell and Austria went with [inaudible] and things like that. And I belonged to the -- as an American I opted for ROTC and through a friend of the family who had -- selling suitcases, clothing, variety of used clothing, which included -- they had some ROTC outfits that fitted me with slight adaptations --
TI: Now this is, I didn't realize this. What, what does it mean to be -- to go through an ROTC program? This was when you were...
TI: In those early years.
GH: And I was a science major at first, mathematics. So, I got in on more of the artillery type courses rather than infantry type. And, and Japanese were given exemptions with -- in fact I had to ask for it to get it... and this is before I was labeled as a pacifist.
TI: So, it was just --
GH: I was, I was a freshman student coming in -- everybody was expected to take, just like PE...
TI: The ROTC.
GH: ROTC. So I took ROTC, and they had certain kinds of courses. They have courses in military this and that.
TI: But the Nisei students were exempted?
TI: Unless they, unless they requested they would not take the course.
GH: Yeah, and most of them didn't request it. And, you, you had to, you had to take alternative courses, three core credit, in sports or health or something. And so you had to make it up some way.
TI: But then you requested this. And I guess I just -- I'm jumping ahead a little bit because later on we talk, we'll talk about your pacifism. But what -- why do you think you requested the ROTC?
GH: I, I requested it because it was an aspect of involvement in American student life, American citizenship aspects and so on. And so if, if this was part of what was available and open to American students in general I wanted to be a part of that, too. So, I, I was going after fair treatment, open treatment, open involvement. And later on, after 1940, it changed. See, by that time I had finished my two years of -- that, that's -- two years was all that was required and I finished that.
TI: Of the, of the ROTC training.
GH: Yeah. I had finished that. So, I wasn't involved in that any more, but by -- about that time I was getting to a place where I found it less and less encouraging for me to continue in it. And so when I finished it, I figured this is the end of it I've, I'm risen above that. [Laughs] That was my view.
<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 6>
TI: Okay. I wanna go back to the YMCA. You talked about some of the activities, the discussions on philosophy. You mentioned earlier some of the discussions, or often debates with the fraternities about some of their policies --
GH: Well, see, if we had debates on those things I found that we were involved in it in university YM, YW. Well, primarily YM because we had a lot of sorority girls in the YW. Not many fraternity boys were in the YM, for some reason. YW active girls were in both, both the YW programs as well as their sorority programs. In fact, I was invited to some events in sororities as a person the sorority girls met in the YM program, YM, YW program.
TI: And how was, how was that? What was that like?
GH: Well, I didn't feel too comfortable at first 'cause you're obviously not in your home base. It's -- you're the only non-white there. And eventually I got to a place where I became color blind. I knew I was not white, but it was a background issue to me. And I only went to places where I was invited.
TI: Well, in this case, where you're invited to a sorority party, you're the only non-white, I imagine the other males -- a lot of them were from the fraternities. How did they make you feel?
GH: Well, they must've, they must've noticed it, and there must've been some that raised questions, and some girls might, might have raised questions. It wasn't the most popular activity I guess. But some of 'em took it as a challenge, I think. And --
TI: How so?
GH: Well, they took it as a challenge you know, racial discrimination, racial prejudice. They were opposed to that, and they were glad to show it, show, to demonstrate that they weren't part of it. So, I didn't wanna be a, I didn't wanna be used for somebody's political exercise, but if it were -- if they were friends of mine, and there was a sincere invitation I took it -- you know, I went to parties without racial implications, where I would go, and I didn't enjoy it, and I didn't go back for the second opportunity of that type. So, it had to meet certain qualifications for me to continue it.
TI: Well, that --
GH: So I continued only those that I felt I enjoyed.
TI: Well, and how did that -- in thinking along those lines, you mentioned the Japanese Students Club and doing some of their social activities. How did those social activities feel to you? Were those, were those the type that you would go back to?
GH: Well, I did the major ones. They had the Fall something, the Valentine's party -- you had to get a date and -- you know it also cost money so there, they're all different kinds of restrictions I had to work out that I could afford. And then there was one party each year that the girls, the girls group counterpart to the Japanese Students Club. It was Fuyokai, the women's group. And they would sponsor Sadie Hawkins Day when they would make a date and they'd take us out. And I got invited to some of those as well. But, other than those activities -- they had some that were interesting. We had joint meetings with some Canadian university students, UBC students came down. They had discussions on comparative Canadian and American this and that, and on some political issues. So we, we had a few like that. But on the whole I found myself increasingly involved in student activities, and I was given more responsibilities in student activities, and became officers of their organization. I didn't have the time nor the money to get involved in too many activities, the students club. So I stayed within certain limited arrangements, I went to major parties. That's what, that's what it amounted to. And then daily I would pass through it. During the day many students pass through JSC.
TI: Only for lunch or something like that?
GH: Yeah, lunch or free period.
TI: But, was it always sort of, because Eagleson Hall was so close to the Japanese Students Club, I imagine that some people would say, "Hey Gordy, why don't you come on over and have lunch or something?"
GH: Well, they might. They mighta done that. And I would pass through there for one thing or another. I, and it was over time that certain choices began to pattern out where primarily I was involved in the Y and only for certain special occasions, Japanese Students Club.
<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 7>
TI: Okay, why don't we move on. I want to go to the summer of 1940 and you broke your pattern a little bit of, of working in the summer, because this summer you attended a Summer Leadership Conference at Columbia University that was organized by the YMCA and YWCA. And during the conference you attended seminars that discussed sort of large topics like social action, opposition to war. How did you react to some of this, of, of these seminars and the thinking?
GH: Well, I was, I was talking about this recently with another colleague of mine with whom I was a roommate by that time --
TI: Well this is How -- Howard Scott --
TI: Well, go ahead and bring in Howard into the story of how you got involved there.
GH: Well, yeah, my roommate -- after, after two years of school boy experience, I decided I should try to make arrangements to go three quarters. That there was an aspect of university life I was missing by going off to work. And so having a full scale university career was an objective too, that I could learn being a full scale university student, even though financing myself was an objective. So, the third year I was starting school in the fall the same way, I planned to go all three quarters. And I think I took a slightly lower workload, a student load, study load so that I could have a part time job, and I looked for a part time job. And, with that I, I became in my own views, more of a regular student. Not just a working, working guy that worked in credit, extra credits and so on. And I would graduate with certain amount of education, but not learning the other part of university matura -- maturation. Things that other students were getting. So that, that part was of importance to me so I shifted. And it was, it was at some cost because it was -- it was at some sacrifice because it cost more to do that. And I had to interfere with my activities during the school year to some extent because I had a part time job. But I felt that it was worth it for going through the three quarters.
GH: Now, I started my freshman activity -- I went one year as a post graduate high school.
GH: Partly because that was my class that was being a senior when I had already graduated. So I was giving, yeah...
TI: Let me summarize for people who are listening to this that you skipped a grade -- I believe it was seventh grade, and so you graduated from high school as a seventeen year old. And the year after you graduated you did post graduate work at Auburn High School -- which, which wasn't that uncommon, but you, you did that, and that's what you're talking about.
GH: Yeah. Well, I should also explain that I didn't skip something because I was brilliant and scholarly, and they said, "You, we're going to move you ahead." I was in a small school --
TI: Right, let me, let me just summarize that and then we'll go back to Howard Scott. But you, in seventh grade took the, essentially the junior high school or middle school test because you were in a class of seventh and eighth graders.
GH: Many of the school classes had two grades...
GH In the room, fifth and sixth...
TI: And you were getting some...
GH: Seventh and eighth.
TI: ...of the curriculum of the eighth graders and the eighth grade teacher allowed --
GH: Yeah. Some, some classes were unusually large and they, they stayed one class. So that kind of adjustment the school made. And so, when I was in the seventh grade, I -- the teacher taught certain subjects that could be taught together, like history or geography, there wasn't a grade level, there was just subject matter coverage difference, so he, he used to handle those together. And then arithmetic and, I don't know what else, we covered different levels of things. But they're covering it in the same class, so I can hear them doing it. And at the exam period the instructor said -- he happened to be our school principal too, so he said, "Now the eighth graders are gonna take the state exam, and when they graduate they'll be qualified to transfer to junior high school, next year. And I recommend to all the seventh graders in this room to go ahead and take the test; it's a good experience for you. And if you didn't make it, if you don't make it, you got a good opening of what it was, and what you have to bone up on for next year's test." So we took those tests. And then even in arithmetic I took them and I found them within my range. And it turned out I passed them all. So he says, "Well, you can graduate this year." Well my mother was real pleased. She thought that was a promotion, great honor and so on. I was little hesitant -- I was, I was encouraged because she was so happy about it, but I was a little hesitant because in seventh grade -- you know physically you're growing too -- and at seventh grade you can't compete, for sp -- basketball for example, as well as staying on for eighth grade. So actually I missed my sporting activities and certain -- I think in a certain way, social maturity and so on, I was missing something too by moving ahead like that. And then I missed some of the rapport of grade school, you know, year by year that you're moving up with your friends. And there's some overlap because we're in double classes most of the time going through. I did miss some of that, but I moved ahead, and I graduated. And I graduated, 1931 in grade school, and 1935 in high school and I went back for a second year of senior work.
<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 8>
TI: Good. And now let's try get back to Howard Scott...
TI: We're trying to get back to the YMCA summer leadership --
GH: Well, when I went into YMCA there, you had roommates. Sometimes you had three, in larger rooms you had three or four roommates. We became friends. Somehow we hit it off well together. He came from a nominal Christian family, like I did, but not card-carrying Christian, you know baptized here and there. And I -- we, we hit it off that way, being just nominally interested in certain aspects of Christianity. But, we were also interested in going to school, but not just being bookworms. We had lots of interests that we shared. So we asked to be put in a room together -- applied for a room.
TI: I also believe he came from a, a small rural town similar to yours. It was up north, but not --
GH: Yeah, Marysville.
GH: I came from Auburn High School...
GH: And Thomas country farm. He was not farm, but small town -- both coming in, one from the north, one from the south, meeting in Seattle, and we asked to room and we got it. And so we were rooming for a couple of years. And then in 1940, an opportunity came for a special program, acceptance in a special program, Leadership Training Program. And it was tied in with the national YM, YWCA where YM, YW officers -- particularly presidents, and vice presidents, that sort of thing -- to take a special training course at Columbia University. It was a combination of Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary. Because, we, we were all given jobs for about an hour a day at noon hour serving on the cafeteria line for our room, for our board. And for our room I guess, I don't know what we did. We got our room there, double rooms. And I had a roommate from one of the North Carolina schools. And we had about twenty five people, all told, mostly from the east, east of Mississippi.
TI: Was this the first time you had -- I mean you had grown up in the small town of Thomas.
TI: You then went to a bigger place, Seattle.
TI: Was this your first opportunity to travel away from the area?
GH: Yeah, yeah, yeah. The first time I went outside of the state of Washington.
TI: And so now you're going to New York City.
GH: Yeah, and, and it was the first time I experienced a situation where the only thing I had to guess whether I'm going to there or not in activity, was whether I could afford to go there or not. And it occurred to me that at home, I knew by second nature the certain places I wouldn't be admitted. There were restaurants, and clubs, Masonic temples and places like that where you weren't welcome. I knew that. I didn't --
TI: This was because of your race?
TI: And this was locally, on the west coast, or in Seattle?
GH: Yeah. In Seattle. We knew certain restaurants were -- they'll say, "Sorry, you're not admitted."
TI: Right. And now you're going to New York City where you didn't feel that...
GH: Didn't have that.
TI: That, that feeling.
GH: They had it, they had it for blacks. I mean they -- New York wasn't un-prejudiced. But they didn't draw the line on Asians. They had it to some -- certain extent in terms of anti-Semitic feeling. That existed in some strange way to me. I didn't understand why they had it, but they had feelings there. And, so there was, that was the first opportunity I had of a level of freedom that I didn't have, and I didn't even know that I didn't have that level of freedom. I just thought it was -- I mean it was, it was, you know -- I knew, I knew there were certain prejudices, and I knew there were certain places I couldn't, I wasn't admitted in. But I never had a clash with my enjoyment of the Bill of Rights and so on as an American citizen, and I thought of myself as a full class, full status, American. But I knew that this existed so that left -- I just -- the thing I had to do was to carefully not have the right and the left hand get intertwined.
TI: Explain that to me. I don't quite understand.
GH: Well, I wanted to believe in the Bill of Rights. And I did, and I really was eating it up. This, I really went for this. But I knew that every day I had to watch where I went. That I have to be -- if I were intelligent, I wouldn't be stupidly going place, places that discriminated, or wouldn't let me in. 'Cause, if I were at a certain other, certain stage of the race battles, we'd be looking for places to battle, you know. And we wanna find out, we wanna find out who's going to discriminate against me. And a group would go there and campaign. But that wasn't my aim --
TI: So, going back to New York -- It wasn't until you went to New York when this discrimination wasn't there that you really underst --
GH: Yeah. Certain kinds...
TI: Felt that?
GH: Of discrimination I didn't face there, and so I had a level of liberty that I didn't have at home.
TI: How did you feel about that? Were you elated? Or were you...
TI: ...sad, or what, what kind of feelings did you feel?
GH: Well, I just thought that this is an enhancement of my citizenship level. I was limited 'cause I couldn't afford to go to anything that permitted me, but, it still cost something that I couldn't afford. So I still had that limit. But that was the only basic limit. 'Cause we'd pick things to do on our own sub committee -- picking up extracurricular program for ourselves. And we went as a group to various places. And traveling we just said we'll go by subway, regardless. And that was very cheap, nickel I think in those days. And we went to places, we found out that charged, or didn't charge. And we went to places like Father Divine's Heavens, where you, we wanted to know what kind of service they had. So we wanted to go to some of those, and then have a meal there for fifteen cents, chicken dinner for fifteen cents. And then we engaged in discussions up to a certain point, but we didn't go there just to harass them so, we, we raised questions just to find out what, what their defenses were.
TI: Well, explain that. I don't understand Father Divine's place. What kind of discussions? Or what, what did they stand for that made you want to have these discussions?
GH: Well, we went there because that was new. We don't have Father Divine Homes in the west here. So, we went to those places, we went to other churches too, services and so on, but --
TI: And this is all in New York City...
GH: Yeah, yeah.
TI: That you're doing this?
GH: This is just the New York activities. And that -- I mean it's not a -- it's a fundamentalistic but highly emotionalized -- but the music was interesting to us. And, and for the most part, really enhancing us. We liked it. But there were parts of their ministry that, you know, we, we wouldn't like to go back there time after time except to hear what it was like. So, and, and their answers were over simplistic, and blind faith in terms of the way we were looking at it. But we found out where they stood. And we went to art exhibits, and all sorts of things.
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<Begin Segment 9>
TI: Well, let's, let's now go back to the YMCA -- the, the conference and talk about that.
GH: Well yeah, now that program, we had two courses, both Columbia registration, so that the transfer credits were good back home. So it was like I went to summer session, six credits. And one was philosophy course, Christian philosophy. The other one was, I think more pragmatic YMCA program, and strategies, leadership strategies and so on. One was more philosophical, one was more operational. Those were the two, two main courses. And they were real eye openers. And then, in addition, we had, we had programs where Norman Thomas and other people would be discussing with -- big name people -- discussing lend-lease bill. Churchill and Roosevelt working out deals where we get -- we were sending everything except our boys. Roosevelt couldn't get Congress to declare war. And so what he succeeded eventually was to get -- well in fact he didn't really succeed in that -- he got, he was harassing the Japanese ships, sending scrap iron to Japan and so on.
TI: But going back to the conference and the seminars. It sounded like a very intellectually stimulating period for you.
GH: Yeah, yeah. Right and we're entering a place -- we're entering really important political questions, not just isolated egghead discussions, it's real life discussions, and where do we stand ourselves. And then back in the background of all this was the proposal to have the first peace -- so called peace time -- 'cause we weren't at war yet 1940 -- first peace time conscription, drafting of people from age twenty one. And we were generally anti-conscription. And then we were also anti-conscription in terms of the purpose for which conscription was being passed, increasingly. So we were becoming pa -- more pacifistic as the method of enhancing our country's citizenship and so on, and international responsibilities rather than just war mongering. Aft -- our view was that after the war, and after huge deaths and destruction, we're going to have to start negotiating...
GH: Peace time activities.
TI: As I listen to you, it sounds like this, this, this period there were some fundamental changes in how you looked at things.
GH: Oh yeah. I'm growing up... well, to me...
TI: That came from this, or evolving or --
GH: I'm growing up from a very passive -- what's the rule that I have to live by -- from that to what are some of the changes I want to see in the kinds of rules that are being made available to us, getting more involved in it. And that's the kind of debate I was attending. So, not only was this a important confer -- conference opportunity, training opportunity, we were in New York at the beginning of this very important period. And this old country bumpkin, that was finding it very difficult getting used to University of Washington, was finding this big city and potentiality of a world war that we're going to be entering, look like; and arguing these things with the best minds, arguing from various positions. You listen to, you know, Jim Lehrer in the news, Newsweek, NewsHour, and whenever they have an issue they make an effort to bring opposition views, experiences, to bring implications of what's involved in that news. Well, we were getting that sorta thing initially with prominent individuals, political people you're reading about in the West Coast, but here they are and they're facing the best minds in the platform there. We're, we're just really like going to graduate school in that sense.
TI: So you were hearing it from both sides, you were hearing it from not only the pacifist standpoint, but the side that was...
GH: Oh, yes. Yeah.
TI: Saying we need to enter Europe and fight and from the, again, from the best...
GH: The pacifist part was coming in when we got into discussion on conscription, pro or con conscription. And that passed. And we're having to then face in October when we're gonna be issued these US citizen forms that we had to fill in, what our positions would be. So that, that had an implication where we -- it wasn't just an academic discussion. We had to find out for ourselves where we stood and where we -- what are we going to live -- live for, or die for. That question was very much a possible, real thing. And so it was a real eye-opener experience for me, international relations, national relations, citizenship responsibility, all kinds of things that if it weren't for this summer experience -- I was just working -- I wouldn't, I would have missed all of that part of the growing part. So that's all in the picture as to how come I took this position. Well, I was given the opportunity to evaluate and weigh things. And whether right or wrong, I was ab -- I was coming to certain positions on some of those, and given opportunity to think independent for, in terms of what implications this had, and what I'm gonna do about it. So I came back with that background and I didn't know it at the time I was going through it that summer, but by October I had --
TI: I think we have to stop right now because we're out of tape, but that was very good, Gordon. Thank you.
<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 10>
TI: Gordon, we, we just finished talking about the Summer Leadership Conference at Columbia University and what I want to do now is return you back to Seattle and ask you, I guess an open question. How did the Leadership Conference change your life, or what decisions did you make coming back to Seattle that were different, or that you made because of the Leadership Conference? In particular, I guess I'm asking about the conscientious objector status or classification.
GH: Well, you, you know the article you showed me that some of the pacifists are led by -- one group of 'em are led by an American of Japanese ancestry. Well that sort of thing happened, but it never bothered me. It never bothered me in the sense of racial discrimination -- they're pointing that out. I just --
TI: Even before we get there, let's, let's back up and, and for the viewer review that, or talk about when you came back in the fall, you applied for the 4-E or conscientious objector status.
GH: Yeah. I, I have two or three questions that were frequently raised of me by persons of Japanese ancestry. You know, when the uprooting order came, EO 9066 was being implemented and we were angry as heck. We were kicking cans, throwing rocks at telephone poles and so on. But it never occurred to us that we could say "no" quietly, right at the top on all this, instead of at each detailed application of it. How come it occurred to you? And I said, well, it never occurred to me in that sense, weighing. It just that, I -- when something occurred and I was confronted with it, I looked at it, and I chose to answer frontally, holistically rather than just on that part of it. As fully as I could, I faced it. And I think I faced this, maybe I could answer this little more clearly by telling what happened to me. I was teaching a summer course at University of Hawaii. And a Nisei came up to me at the end of, or at a break in the discussion. And she said, "You know, I was a young teenager at the time" -- and this is, this is twenty, twenty five years later, I'm teaching at summer break in Hawaii. And she had come back to school and was working towards a social work degree, 'cause all her kids went through school, so she's gonna go herself. But she said, "At the time of the war, I got, I was delayed, because that's the time I would've gone to school and this thing came on. I remember we were angry and we would kick the can, so on, cuss at the government, but it never occurred to us that we could say, well so far as we're, we're concerned we can't go unless you give me more than my ancestry as the reason for having to do this. Ancestry is not a crime." "But how did it occur to you?" Well, at the time we're facing these issues, I had to answer, "What's your position on this selective service system and the various alternatives." I said, "I'm opposed to conscription for this type of purpose. If you had one for citizenship, conscription for citizenship service, I would be more open to it. But of the options you have, I would take conscientious objection." That's instead of 1-A, 4-E. Now there is one that's 4-D or something of that nature if you're a minister or something, you could, you could get exemption on that ground, or 4-F for health reasons.
AI: Excuse me. How, how did you come to the decision to take the conscientious objector route? Did you -- is this part of the discussion you had after the Leadership Conference in talking with your friend, Howard?
GH: Well, I have, I have a background -- you know, training, training for anything has certain objectives for training. And I found out, not necessarily at that time, but I found out that I had quite a bit of parental influence in pacifistic orientation. Because the Japanese Christian leader Uchimura Kanzo that my father was sort of a disciple of, and my mother, through the English language teacher that they studied under, before coming abroad. They, this, this Uchimura Kanzo and his disciple, Iguchi Sensei, teacher Iguchi, they were strongly inclined towards the peace mess -- peace emphasis of Jesus' training where he said, "Turn the other cheek." You know, if somebody wants to hit you, well, turn the other cheek. Or forgive your enemies, you know sincerely, not as just a weapon, but sincerely. And that's the way Dad was living, and confronted issues instead of -- like I said, "Wouldn't you, if somebody beat you, wouldn't you feel like beating back?" And he said, well, he may, but in the long run, if he could contain himself, he would try to turn the other cheek. He said, "If I beat back, I'm the same as the other guy. I have nothing better to offer than what I'm criticizing of him." And so, I'm getting that kind of personal response to certain questions, and then here comes this important thing. And there is this discussion on the military solution to a peaceful way for life, or for social justice. You, if you're trying to get it by, with a gun, you have to have the gun to maintain it. And so you have to find some other way to develop that kind of thing. So --
AI: Excuse me. So these discussions you're referring to are the discussions you had within the YM conference?
GH: YM, and then I'm finding out that I'm getting some of this influence at home. I didn't realize. That's why I finding certain approaches easy for me, and familiar to me. I found that true. Why did I become a Quaker? Quakers don't do a lot of proselytizing, especially the type that doesn't have the ministers. There is a branch that have ministers, and they're very similar to other ministerial type Protestant churches. But, we're, we're open to a way of life sorta teaching. And so I was coming to certain kinds of belief. If I want certain kinds of product, I have to do things that produces that kind of product. And, and so that would lead me to ways of peace. I'm for peace, and I'm for jus -- social justice. I have to live by those principles that maintains it if you can get it. Or, live towards it in order to achieve it. If you force it, then you're no different than other people who are forcing it. So, I have that sorta thing. It's not easy to maintain. And it's easier sometime to blow your top, get a gun, and blast him off or something. You might succeed on that, but then you're vulnerable to somebody else doing it. Well, when -- so in terms of that, and then in terms of discussing these things, this is coming up. We had debates along with race relations with the fraternity row. We're having it, we're having it in our discussions at Columbia after listening to somebody speak. And then we ask certain one of those people to come over and talk to our little group more intimately so we can follow through with questions and discussion. And we have people discussing this. Not of 'em, not only just pacifist types, all of the guys. And we're discussing --
TI: And this is back in Seattle that your talking about --
GH: No, we're talking in New York.
TI: Still in New York. Okay.
<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 11>
GH: And then we get back, we're doing this in Seattle, too. But, because of that -- soon, right after we registered and turned our selective service form in, in due course we got back 1-A. So we appealed 1-A with a statement defending our reasons. And then they scheduled a hearing for us to appear before their board. And then if -- and what could follow is after our discussion they could, they could question us further, they could ask for witnesses to speak for us. Well, in both Howard and my case, we were asked to come and we, we presented our stuff, and then we answered their questions, and then in due course we got 4-E, both of us. And so that, that's the classification for conscientious objectors, who at a certain point may be eligible, they're eligible, they may be called to civilian public service camps.
TI: But this was an example of you going through the process of you having a certain point of view that was probably counter to what the government wanted you to do. But you went through this process, challenged it and got the CO classification.
GH: Yeah, I got it. If I didn't get it, I would've reapplied. Protested my thing further, maybe to another appeals level or something. But I would've fought it. I fought for it further. And then in the end, some people who never did get it by their board -- some boards were very narrow -- in the University District they tend to be more liberals 'cause they're hearing more argue-, they're used to hearing more alternative positions. So, but those people who, who can't get what they feel they believe in and stand for, they'll stand for it and then take the alternative. Refuse their response and then take a jail sentence.
TI: What kind of reaction were you getting from your family and friends as you were going through this process?
GH: Yeah. My family, of course, are sympathetic to my arguments. They're saying, well in a time of war -- by the time I'm discussing this it's time of war -- and also coming up is my objection to the government's uprooting program based on -- for those who are to be uprooted defined only in terms of ancestry. That's the only reason --
TI: But even before we, but even before we get there, just the, the issue of being a conscientious objector...
TI: ...was unusual for someone from the Japanese American community to do that. And I was curious what reaction --
GH: Well, it certainly, it certainly un-, was unusual in the sense that there weren't very many. Hardly any other, there must have been a few, but hardly any other. So it was very unusual. But my position was -- I give the government this -- was sufficiently regarded as sincere, misled maybe, but sincere, so that I wasn't accused of being avoiding, or just trying to get out of things, or I had some sinister motive like disloyalty. They just felt that I was -- but, but, since, since this is a legal position, it was easier for me to argue that.
TI: Right, with, with --
GH: Because I could, I could ask for something that's given as an option.
TI: But to the, to the average person who wasn't as familiar with the legal issues, and just responses from say, some of the Nisei at the Japanese Students Club, or the people at the Y. What, what kind of reaction were you getting from them?
GH: Well, on the whole, they, by this, by this time they're, they're seeing me as one of the established conscientious objectors, so the sincerity of my position was not questioned. Whether they would take that position or not was the question they would face when looking at it for themselves. But, when they're regarding my position, they'd say, "Well, I don't agree with it, but I, I think he's sincere." Let's see now... well, now in terms of the question you asked, that's, that's the way that it arose to me. My parents, even to the, not going -- not coming home and move, moving with them -- my mother and father both said they understood and they admired me for taking a stand like that, "As clearly as you're doing it, at a time when it's, so many unknowns are in the picture and you, you hesitate because of that, but we admire you for that. But if a government can do this kind of drastic action they could do anything to keep us from ever getting together again," that's the mother, you know --
AI: Excuse me. So you're saying that a little bit later your mother --
AI: -- brings up the fact that if a, if the government can put this exclusion order out and take everyone away, then there could be other drastic measures.
GH: Yeah. They'll have no trouble keeping us apart. We'll never get together. And, and she, she therefore wanted to have the family together. And she said, "I understand, but think about this, and we want to keep our family together." And --
TI: And Gordon, she's referring to really going to Puyallup?
TI: Or not Puyallup, but Pine-, Pinedale together --
GH: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
TI: -- as a family, and this is a little bit later.
GH: And, and I carried with me a guilt feeling, 'cause I couldn't, I couldn't bend myself to accommodate her wishes. And for that I didn't realize it, but I found out about two months later when they moved from Pinedale to the permanent camp, Tule Lake. When they were unpacking, a door knocked and she went to open it. And they were unpacking, in their beautiful suite, you know -- [laughs] -- and two ladies, kinda dusty, it was a hot day, they said, they identified themselves, they were from -- I don't know what that fishing village was called in Los Angeles Harbor.
TI: Terminal Island.
GH: Terminal Island. "We're from Terminal Island in Los Angles Harbor. And we're one of the first to be moved, and so we, we were one of the first to come to Tule Lake. Some of the others went to Manzanar, but we came up to Tule Lake and so we're, we're at the other end of camp. We had to walk about a mile and a half so we're kind of dusty here now. But we heard that the family of the one that, whose boy is in Seattle fighting the case for us was arriving, so we wanted to be here to say welcome, and to say thank-you for your son." And she's describing this in a Japanese letter tablet which is about half of a typewriter page, and, and she's saying -- after she described it, she said, "You know, I got a big lift out of that visit." And suddenly, that's when I found out I was carrying a weight. A big load left my shoulders I didn't know I was carrying. 'Cause I knew there was no way I could be standing right next to her and give her that kind of lift. So I was absolved in, in a sense. And, but I didn't realize that. I was feeling that I upset her. I couldn't do what she asked with tears and everything. And I guess what she was saying was, "In spite of the tears, I had this big lift because you weren't here." She wasn't putting it that way, but that's what it amounted to, so I was cleared.
And, but, in Hawaii, when I was listening to this Nisei person, she said, "You know, when I was young I was real angry, but it never even occurred to us we could've said no, to the whole thing. But it didn't occur to us." And we, we -- and some people were objecting at various stages against, against their own people who were in charge of administration for different levels of responsibility. It would've been much clearer to say, "No," to the government right at the top. But it's -- I had, I had opportunity to face this. So it's not that I had some brilliant insight, I just had a little more experience, and that -- if I didn't have that summer experience at the time when I was ready to absorb all this and being there when these things were happening -- I probably wouldn't have shaped up in the same way. I might've taken the same final stand, but not with the same amount of openness that I, I was able to do as a result of facing this. And raising all those questions, and having it answered by those people --
TI: That, that's good.
<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 12>
TI: Gordon, I'm going to switch gears here a little bit because I want to get into your choice of religion. Because as a student, right about the time you came back from the, the Leadership Conference. As a student, you visited several churches with, with Howard Scott, and ultimately you decided to go with The Society of Friends. And --
GH: I could have postponed the decision.
TI: Right. I wanted you...
GH: Not at all...
TI: For you to talk about that...
GH: To any of them.
TI: Why you decided to join at that point in time.
GH: Well, we, we -- in order to give us strength, and insight, and encouragement, we invited people who had pacifistic orientation, and, and so we had a number of Quakers, and some Unitarians, and some who didn't belong to any religious group, but had come to this through their own experiences. And, and we, we gained from each person's sharing with us. And -- but we noticed ourselves, Howard and I, we would visit many of the groups that came to share with us. We visit their groups. And, we found ourselves eventually going more frequently to the Friends. And then eventually primarily going to the Friends group.
AI: What was it about the Friends that kept drawing you back over and over?
GH: Well, without pressuring us in any way, or recruiting us, they would be answering our questions when we raised them. They would be responding to action needs that we had. It was that sorta thing. They seemed sincere. They seemed to practice what they preached. And, and at one point they said, "You know, you people, you two been -- we welcome you, and we, we, we appreciate your regularity, we respect your, what your actions are. We want to ask you some questions. Have you ever thought of joining us?" And we said, "Not precisely. We feel comfortable, that's why you're seeing us so frequently." They said, they, they asked us what it was, was it because of conscientious objection that you're coming to us? And we said, "Well, at first that was what we came -- with the question in mind because that's what our position is." But we, we have learned that there are, there are certain questions that come prior to that before you become a conscientious objector. What is it that you believe that leads you to this place? And what do you -- why, why, why are you a conscientious objector? I mean that basic question comes before. It's not that, because you're a conscientious objector you're going to look for something that fits that. That's a method, that's a device. How come that? And we have certain philosophical beliefs fundamental to that. And we find that the Quaker way goes the longest that we know, and we're comfortable with that way. And that's what leads us to this. They said, "Well, that's what we wanted to hear. We didn't want you to come because you are a conscientious objector. We wanted to know if you had something positive that you stood for that made you say 'no'. And if that's your position then as far as we're concerned, we're no better than you are. You're one of us." And so we became a member after about a year of attending. And it's like we found our home. I found myself comfortable there because of what I'd been exposed to at home. I told my folks that: "You never heard of Quakers 'til I became one, but your beliefs, and your way overlap so strongly to the Quaker way that I found it very easy to adapt, and that's one reason I've adapted." So, that's why I became one. My brothers have generally been very favorable, but they haven't been attending the meetings or anything, and they haven't taken any action on membership. But that's, they -- to some extent I'm responsible. I'm a role model to my younger brothers, more than they realized, more than I realized. I'm doing my thing and they're looking at me as, this is the way to do it to some extent. But they know it's their decision. So they went all through -- each one of them went through a position, a conscientious objector position. And I didn't influence them. One of 'em asked me some questions and I said well, I'll answer your certain questions, but I'd like you to go and talk to so, so and so -- this was while we were in Spokane -- talk to them and you could ask them any question you want. I don't want to influence you unduly. I'm doing something and I have no hesitation for it. If you want to follow the same thing, welcome, but I'd rather you consult somebody else to decide whether that's, that's what you oughta be doing. And so far as conscientious objection, they all came to the same -- and they took the same position. My next brother was attending Guilford College at North Carolina. He was one of those that responded to some of the Quaker colleges that opened their doors. He was one of half a dozen or so that went to Guilford. And he happened to be a good athlete so he made all-conference basketball team too. And he, he was quarterback on the football team.
TI: That's, that's interesting.
GH: But he, he said, he was, he had to play against these army preflight schools and so on where they had All-Americans on the teams --
<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 13>
TI: Gordon, I'm gonna bring you back. [Laughs] That's interesting, but I'm, I'm -- in thinking about essentially it's fall quarter 1941, you made a couple of major decisions, one to become a conscientious objector to, or actually to, to apply for that, as well as to join the Society of Friends. Later on that, that quarter was December 7, 1941 and I'm not going to talk specifically about that date. I want -- I'm really more interested in the period following that, that there was a lot of, of anti-Japanese sentiment going on in the media, and I'm sure that you were sort of confronted with articles and people talking about that. I wanted to find out what your reaction, or how that affected you during this period.
GH: This is before we were moved, huh?
TI: This is yeah, before, this is when you're in...
GH: Seattle, Seattle.
TI: Winter quarter so you're going to school, January, February, March of 1942.
GH: Yeah, yeah. And, and in other words, just the eve of --
GH: People started to go into Minidoka
GH: In May and so on.
TI: And so it wasn't clear that, that people were -- the Japanese were gonna be evacuated. But the media was portraying a very anti-Japanese sentiment at that period. And you were going to school and studying, but I'm sure you were aware of these things and I wanted to know how it affected you.
GH: Well, when it was curfew it was -- it didn't make much difference where I was staying. I was staying at the Y. When it became, staying after the deadline of all the Japanese being gone --
TI: Even before...
GH: At Eagleson Hall.
TI: Yeah, even before we get there, I mean just maybe a personal reaction. I mean when you saw those types of things. How did you react to that?
GH: Well, I didn't react unusually to it. That is I didn't react overly against it, or let it influence me to moderate my position. Right, I did as moderately as I could. I didn't -- at, on the curfew thing I made a personal decision to break it.
TI: Yeah, let's, let's go into that now, because let me give some background. So, February, February 19, 1942, that's when President Roosevelt signed...
GH: Yeah, Yeah.
TI: EO 9066, Executive order 9066. And then about a month later, that's about March 24th, a curfew was imposed on, that affected Japanese aliens, as well as, Uni -- U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry. So, why don't you --
GH: And also to Italian and German aliens.
TI: Correct. So their, the aliens of, of Italy...
GH: Three countries, yeah.
TI: Germany and Japan, but in terms of U.S. citizens only...
GH: Yeah, yeah.
TI: Japanese Americans.
GH: Well, I, I objected to it but, I was following my overwhelming teaching to be law abiding. And so I, my first reaction was to -- well, that's an order so I'll follow the orders. My dormitory members -- I think there were about fifteen of us in there, and I was the only one of Japanese ancestry. I had another Japanese there for awhile who, who was active in the young people's group. He was a year behind me. And, and I said, "Well, I've got an extra room, and I'm the only one in my room, you're welcome to stay here, at least you can stay off the streets." And I'm taking care of the furnace and polishing the floors and so on, certain times a week. It was my, part of my room arrangement. And so, "You're welcome to stay." And he, he came in and he was, well we were discussing this. He was a very bright person. He went to Oberlin College --
TI: Is this Bill Makino?
GH: Yeah, Makino, yeah. And he got to a place where he says, "I feel the same as you do." And, and then one day, I'm dashing home. "Hey Gordon, it's five to eight." I grabbed my stuff and it takes about five minutes to get home so I was just dashing home, and it hit me. A question that I should've faced earlier, just hit me. How come I'm dashing home and all your time keepers are still there? I didn't -- I just needed the question to be raised. I knew I couldn't answer it. You know, without saying, "I can't do it." I turned around, and went back, to the library. "Hey, what's, what's the matter?" I said, "Well, you guys are here." "Well, we got work to do." I said, "Well, I got work to do too. I decided if you guys are here, I'm gonna, I'm gonna work with you. I'll go back when you guys are ready to go." Nobody turned me in. And I didn't take that until it hit me. And when it hit me I knew, gosh, I can't do it. That's two-faced. The only reason I'm subject to go is because of my -- the way it's stated. I'm a person of Japanese ancestry. In fact, there were, there were Canadians in the group, who weren't even citizens, but they didn't have to go. Well, so I couldn't, I couldn't accept it. And we left it that way. And then later on -- order to remove, go to Puyallup. That was already in effect and I was, I was responding to information that was received by the American Friends Service Committee, that I had volunteered for, to go and pick up so and so, who's father is interned, but the mo -- mother has to get all the kids together and so on, and get to this pick-up station. And I said --
TI: Gordon, before we get into that, because I do want to cover that, that whole sequence --
GH: Well, let me just...
GH: Finish why I brought this in now, 'Cause this is on the removal. On the rem -- I'm picking them up and taking them to the pick-up point and leaving their gear and so on, and watched them get on, everybody get on. And then I'm waving them good-bye. People -- I used to get letters from people saying, "Well, I saw you waving good-bye and I thought you'd be on the next, you know, the last bus that would leave." And I wrote and I said I thought I would too. But a question arose during the process and I, the, the question was this -- that's why I think it'll fit here, this part of it -- if I couldn't accept curfew, how could I accept this? Soon as that question hit me, I knew answer, the answer. I couldn't, I can't accept it. It's worse. This is worse. And it, but, but I had, I had to refuse this, whereas in curfew, I didn't say anything to the government, I just ignored it. If I ignored this, they could go after YMCA as harboring a criminal. [Laughs] And harboring them, and harboring me to break the law and so on. Now, some were willing to do that, but that's not what I wanted to happen. I didn't want to accept that. I couldn't accept it. And so I -- well ancestry -- if they, you know if they gave me some reason to go, that I could defend myself against, that's one thing, but ancestry is no reason. So, I can't accept that as a reason for going. That's the only reason I had to go now. And I didn't want to have the YMCA caught in the middle as harboring. So I told -- I had the arrangement with Art Barnett, my legal advisor...
TI: Let me, let me give some --
GH: That I would turn myself in rather than that...
GH: So I didn't stay at the Y.
<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 14>
TI: Let me, let me give some background so, for -- on dates. The Japanese in Seattle first started being evacuated to Puyallup the end of, of April, like April 29th was the first date. And then the first week or so of May was when they're doing this. So it was during this period that you came to this decision --
GH: Yeah, it, it was...
TI: It was right as you were helping volunteer...
GH: Yeah, yeah, that's right.
TI: Volunteering as the Society of Friends...
GH: It was about the first week of May.
TI Is when you made this -- which was very close...
GH: That's right.
TI: To the point when you turned it in. But what I wanted to do was, was follow up -- during your volunteering, of evacuating the families, helping them. Why don't you talk about that and how you, you decided to, to help the friends evacuate. And what was your role in, in that part?
GH: Well, my role was humanitarian only. Just helping particular families with some of the difficulties in the move.
TI: And in general, what families needed the most help?
GH: Those who, primarily those with children whose wives had the responsibility solely to close up the house. Those were the main ones. The fathers were interned. And I was, in all of this I was -- see up to that point in general I expected to be on the last bus. And I didn't expect, I didn't think of it in ways that by going I'd be willie-nillie, agreeing with the process.
TI: It must've been difficult, I mean when you're helping families leave their homes and going there.
TI: It, there musta been some, some memories, or emotional moments that you can recall in doing this. Can you recall any of those?
GH: No, no, not on that aspect. I know it was difficult. And I was just admiring them for -- particularly the women -- this was the Japanese Language School teacher, gee who, who's about five feet. Physically a small person, but I heard of her as being a very excellent teacher and so on. And she, she was the mother of the violin teacher. A violin person, a prodigy sort of, Kazuko Tajitsu. And they had, they, we had three artists, you know, Mary Amano, the photographer's daughter who was a pianist, and my classmate, what the hell was her name? She's a opera singer, soprano, excellent soprano. Not many Japanese sopranos you know. And those three frequently were asked, if they're lucky, all three of 'em were invited, if not just one or two of them were invited at meetings, at events for performance. So I knew those three. Well this is, this I didn't realize was the mother of Kazuko Tajitsu and she was in the group that being moved. And the father was picked up. And she was a teacher, language school teacher, and each, each one had something to carry you know. And I just, I just had been able to -- see I was obeying the law, I mean that was an overriding factor, and secondly I'd been keeping my left and my right hands from intermeshing so that the discrimination, racism and the citizenship, Bill of Rights, you know, I was keeping those apart so I could hold both things. And then periodically a question would come up. If I couldn't do it -- if I turn down, the hell with curfew, how can I accept this? It had hit me and when, when, if I had some discussions with people -- how could you, how can you help these people and then, when you, when you couldn't accept curfew? If somebody asked that, I would have faced this sooner. I mean it's just, you know, by habit you're keeping it apart, so I, I kept it apart. And then when, when I had to put it together with a question like this, then I, I couldn't do it. So, then I knew I couldn't do it and then I knew I couldn't stay at the Y. If I couldn't stay at the Y, wherever I stayed I have to be hidden. I'd involve somebody else. Ah to heck with it. I'm gonna turn myself in.
AI: Did you discuss this with anybody? I mean, from that moment of realization that you couldn't do it, who, who did you share this with? Who did you talk to?
GH: Well, one person I mentioned, Bill Makino, he was gonna go with me. I said well --
AI: When you say go with you, you mean refuse to...
GH: Yeah, yeah.
AI: Go along with the...
GH: He said, "I, I feel the same as you." But then I said to him -- he came back after -- we had this discussion -- he came back after visiting his family. His father is ten years older than mine, and, and he is the only offspring, only son. So he didn't have all the buffers like I did with older brothers and so on, and a younger father. And they put tremendous pressure on him. He hadn't faced these things. See he wasn't a conscientious objector all the way through. He just got this citizenship thing and he says, "I agree with that. This is unfair." And so, now, I respected him for it, but I was not comfortable that he could withstand all this difficulties that would come up at various points. And it wouldn't -- he should, he should be able to get another chance to appraise this. So I said to him, "I would welcome your company, but I want you to think about something. Your, your parents, you're the only offspring, and your dad's older than mine. You're, you should, you should think of it this way. If there's any way you can convince yourself that you can go along with your parents and help them in this situation, you go with them. You come stay with me only if you have, you cannot do it. You cannot, you cannot find any way you could go with your parents." I said, "Give it, give that a good honest try. And if you can, you should go with them." Because I thought, if he could go, I didn't want the burden of his ill, uncomfortable feeling, you know suffering. It's enough, it's enough if he's clear-headed, all the way through and had thought about this. He hadn't had a chance to think about these things much. So, I said, "Don't answer me now. Tell me tomorrow sometime and we'll, we'll discuss it if you have any questions." And next day we discussed it some more, and he decided maybe, "Maybe I should go." I said, "If you can, you should." I didn't want him around if, if he had this, this feeling. Only if he didn't, he can come with me. So that was a good way to resolve it. And he, he turned out to be a -- he's passed away recently. He was very successful as anti-spy, you know military intelligence. He was very bright person. So he succeeded well and he retired, and then, since he was good he was hired, contracted to do other, all kinds of other things at a good salary. So he did well.
AI: Was he, excuse me. Was he the only person that you really had this kind of conversation with at that time?
GH: Well, well yeah, because we're the only ones together. All the rest -- I'm the only one left at the Y -- before, they were, they're none staying there except me. And then he came in because I had an extra bunk and, and he didn't. He had to go back and forth and he wanted to stay late sometimes, and then didn't have a chance to go home. So I told him, well you can stay here during the -- until your time to go. And then, then when I came to this decision, I couldn't go. He said, "I feel that way too." But we got it resolved, and I was glad he could go, 'cause I didn't feel he had a chance to really, fully discuss it. And I thought, I thought there would be some difficulties. 'Cause it's hard enough with hard, hard nailed pacifist to face it. But me, I had no alternative really. I would lose my own self-respect if I -- you know, I had no choice. I had to do it.
TI: Did you want to ask anything else on this area? Go ahead if you want. Go ahead.
AI: I was just going to clarify that -- at about this... was it about the same time then that you had that conversation with your mother, and your parents explaining that you were not going to --
GH: Well, yeah, well, I had this little, little earlier with my parents. But, I had faced that I couldn't go. I couldn't even answer her tears. So I had faced that Waterloo and made an answer. But I expected to -- well this was, no, this was, no I, I faced my parents a little later. 'Cause I, I wouldn't have faced that problem if I were not, if I were going, if I were going I would've come home. And I wouldn't leave from Seattle, I would just go on to the valley. In fact, the valley left about ten days later, after Seattle.
AI: In other words, if you had decided to go along with the evacuation you would have returned home to your parents...
GH: That's right.
AI So that you...
GH: That's right.
AI: ...would have all traveled together.
GH: After Seattle I would have, I woulda had somebody take me to Sea -- the valley.
<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 15>
AI: I'm sorry, but we got a little out of order because I think we were going to ask you --
TI: Yeah, why don't I do this. I mean, I was -- I want to back up just maybe about two or three weeks, because in mid-April, you were actually thinking and planning on going to another camp. You were thinking because of the --
GH: Conscientious Objector Camp.
GH: Civilian Public Service Camp.
TI: In Oregon --
TI: That you had thought that you were...
TI: Going to do this, that you were very active in the CO group. And in fact they gave you a party. Why don't you talk a little about that. So we're backing up about two or three weeks, mid-April.
GH: Yeah, well this is yeah, mid-April, and then I had my farewell party just before I left, twenty something, April.
GH: And that's when I was supposed to leave. And so I got my farewell thing all set, and gifts. And then on the eve of my departure, right after the party, I get this telegram. "Your order to go to, report to Civilian Public Service Camp at Cascade Locks, Oregon has been rescinded," period, that's all it said. No explanation or anything. I didn't realize that the drafting of persons of Japanese ancestry was suspended. No more drafting, army or otherwise. So that's natural that they would do this. But they could've explained it. But they didn't -- and I said to Woodbury (YMCA Director), I said, "Gee, I'd better return these gifts, I'm sticking around. And I might outlast these people who gave me the gift." And he says, "No, no, this is yours. We gave it, we don't want it back." [Laughs]
TI: So right at that point you, you were sort of, you had to really switch gears. Because at that point you thought you were going to go Cascade Locks to the CO Camp. But now all of a sudden you were confronted with...
GH: I'm still remaining in Seattle...
TI: Remaining in Seattle, and you --
GH: So I'm subject to what, whatever the Seattle deadline was for persons of Japanese ancestry.
TI: Right, you're really now confronted with that, with that issue.
GH: Yeah, yeah that was for May 6 or something. It all happened all of a sudden. I'm, I'm pretty sure they were sorry they canceled mine...
TI: [Laughs] Is that because...
GH 'Cause they would've, they would've gotten rid of me. [Laughs]
TI: Right. I just wanted to get into --
GH: I would've run into something different.
GH: They had trouble with transferring one Nisei. There was one CO in Cascade Locks who was ordered to be moved to Tennessee or someplace, outside the West Coast. And I might've found that difficult to do. Because I'm the only one that would've been ordered to move. If they ordered several to move, that would have been different. At any rate, I, I then became subject to move as a person of Japanese ancestry according to regulations. I'm still in Seattle.
TI: Yeah, what struck me as I went through the chronology is it's almost like being a ping pong ball. All the things that happened to you.
GH: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
TI: And one day you're thinking one thing, then you get switched to another and it wasn't -- you didn't really have an opportunity to really think through and plan...
GH: Well, well there isn't really...
TI ...your life --
GH: Anything to sit and think through. I mean I'm supposed to go, so I'm, I'm subject to that. That was canceled so I got this that I would've faced anyway. Although I expected to be gone by, before this was over. A week before. But it came out this way. So, I'm glad it did. I was able to -- it took thirty years or something for the case to come up again where I won. I lost it during the war. During the war we never got to first base.
GH: You know, every -- we're expected to lose. But thirty years, forty years later I was feeling sorry for the Department of Justice lawyers. They were being hammered by the media --
<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 16>
TI: Gordon, I'm now gonna go to the, about the second week in, in May and at this point you are the last Japanese American in Seattle. That all the other Japanese and Japanese Americans have been relocated to Puyallup, or evacuated to Puyallup. Why don't you talk about what you did at that point. 'Cause at this point you had defied, you had made the decision that you were going to defy the exclusion order. Why don't you recount the events...
TI: Either a few days before, or right around then.
GH: Yeah, I think I could begin -- I had consulted my legal advisor, Arthur Barnett, and, and it was decided that when the last official day of Seattle was over, it's gonna be over at twelve noon or something, so I would, it was agreed that we would turn myself in. I didn't want to have YMCA responsible for anything. And he would come and pick me up, take me down to the FBI headquarters, which was at Vance Hotel, up on one of the floors of Vance Hotel. And, so all that was prepared. And that morning one of my fellow students came up, a girlfriend, and said, "You're leaving this morning. I came to wake you up in case you overslept." And so we went out to have breakfast, my last breakfast at the corner. And then he came at ten o'clock or whatever time we had set. And we were waiting there. And then, so I said goodbye to this person who also knew Art Barnett, and Art took us down, took me down to the FBI. We walked up to the office together. And they were expecting me. 'Cause they had information that I was gonna be showing up.
TI: And where did they get that information, that you were going to turn yourself in?
GH: Well, some -- somebody that -- it, it's possible that that they got it from the director of ROTC. Who was not in -- he didn't hear of it from that role, but he was the president of the Board of Trustees of the University of Washington YMCA. And I, I went to his home a couple of times representing the student cabinet, to tell the trustees what kind of programs we're having and what we're doing. And he knew I was a conscientious objector, and came to my defense in a meeting, because I was meeting with the conscientious objectors in the Y, you know. I didn't realize, I just took it as I'm just meeting with them in my living room. 'Cause all of us were allowed to have that as our living room, when, off hours, on weekends and so on. And, at one meeting -- this is one aside, but it explains his support for me personally. He, he and his wife who served a supper for the board -- and we, I was enjoying it as a student, sitting on the board there. At one of the board meetings, according to Woody, somebody raised a question about my meeting as a CO and, and he said, "I have a clipping here I wanna read to you." And it's like this clipping except it came as a result of that clipping. This reporter had called me and he said -- and he asked me a number of questions. And I said, "Well, if you wanna talk to me I'm willing to talk, but not over the phone." And so he said okay. And then he asked me a few more questions, and then, okay. And he, he really fooled me. He got enough to write a story and put it in, and didn't care about another appointment. At any rate, he, what he put down was the question, "Why, if you want to be a conscientious objector, why do you have to, why do you have to assemble and meet? Do you have to, do you have to promote this to somebody else? Or, why can't you just keep it to yourself?" I said, "Well, we're humans. We like support, moral support, and we like to encourage each other as we confront issues. And we like to have clarity. We like to have our positions challenged and be able to defend it." And in fact, we're like other worshipers and believers. Why do people meet every Sunday? Why do they have to -- they're convinced people, most of 'em -- why don't they stay home, and read the Bible at home? Why do they have to meet? I said, "Well, we're the same way. We, we, we like to learn from each other's tests and share things." And, and that, that really pleased him. And he said, "This is what he said. And I feel that he's given a real good answer. And that's why I asked to read this, I asked for an opportunity to read this to you. His answer is quite legitimate and that's what he's doing."
TI: This is the president of the board that you're talking about.
GH: Yeah, yeah, our advisors. And so, and he's a colonel. So he, he's bending over backwards in one sense to protect a conscientious objector who's behaving according to his lead. And so, that's, that's the situation I was in. And I was trying to protect YMCA from any accusations of harboring a law violator and so on. Well, when this thing came up, we went, we went next morning --
AI Oh, excuse me. Before going into the, more about the FBI. Was it about this time that you made a written statement of your position?
GH: Yeah, well. Just before that...
AI: Just before?
GH: As I -- right at this time, and just before, maybe just a few days before. As I came to this position that I'm gonna violate it, and I'm gonna turn myself in. And, and I prepared a statement why I'm going to refuse to voluntarily move according to the government's orders. And I passed it around to about six people, to the executive committee, I mean the executive secretary, Woody, and, and through him, a copy to the president of the board, colonel, Art Barnett, and I don't know who else I gave it to, just a few people like that. Mary, Mary Farquharson, Senator Mary Farquharson, who was, who had said, came to talk to me and had said, "If you don't have an organized legal team ready to defend you, we'd like to form a committee to do that. And we'd like to support your position," and so on. So I gave her a copy. And she became my spokesperson, you know, most articulate high profile person. And when I went to the FBI, I said, "I've got a statement I wrote that explains my position." He says, "Well, we already have your statement." And apparently -- there's two versions of -- apparently I, I feel that the colonel, being a colonel, felt obligated to turn that in. And anyway, he didn't feel that he was violating anything, any, any confidence, because I, I'm writing this to be presented to the FBI. But I heard from other people who swear that they, there's another copy of that that was found by somebody on a city bus or something. That I dropped it somewhere, and it was picked up, and that was turned over. At any rate -- where, where -- I said it doesn't matter. By the time I handed mine in, he already had one. And I said, "Well, you might as well keep this. This was prepared for you." [Laughs] And so he took it. But, I said, "Just outa curiosity, I'm, I'm, I only passed a few of these around. I'm, I'm curious to know how you got this one." And he says, "Well, we might use this source again sometime so we don't wish to disclose it." So I never heard. [Laughs] I don't know who, but it didn't matter.
<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 17>
TI: So, we're talking about you're, you're at the FBI. You've, you've turned yourself in. What was the reaction from the FBI? I mean they kinda knew you were coming. Well, they knew you were coming, and so how did they respond?
GH: Well, I think, I think they felt that this guy -- we'll give him another chance to register. Because after that, I spent the whole rest of the day going from one station to another. Maryknoll station, which was one of the main registration places for Japanese to come and register --
AI: Just to clarify it. All the people of Japanese ancestry had to do so-called "registration"...
AI: In preparing to be, so-called "evacuated."
GH: Yeah. Some responsible person in the family had to register the family. Each family --
AI: And each family was given a number at that time.
GH: Yeah. I guess that's what happened. But, so I went there first. And I went over and they said, I said what is this? Says, "Well this is the place for registration." I said, "Is this the same thing that you're asking me to do the, yesterday?" He says, "Yeah, it's the same." "Nothing new?" "No." "Well, I feel the same as yesterday so I, I can't sign that." And, and they fussed around. And I guess they telephoned around and gee I waited in the car -- said well, could you wait in the car. So I went back and sat in the car. Gee, seemed like half hour later they're taking me, I didn't know where they were taking me. I went to Fort Lawton. And then they gave me another chance to register. So they did this three times. And --
TI: And during these three times did they try to convince you to sign it?
GH: No. Well, they tried to persuade me to sign. This is the thing to do. I said, "I, I can't do it with the way the thing is stated now. I'm opposed to it. You could do whatever you want, but you, you're not going to get my consent for it." And so, eventually I was checked in to -- they left me at the federal tank of the King County Jail. And then after the weekend, this is Saturday, the last day, see. And I was taken to federal tank of the King County Jail. And on Monday they came and said, "We're taking you over to the U.S. Marshall's Office. The chief officer of the uprooting process for the Northwest is going to see you."
TI: And this was a, a military officer that you were...
GH: Yeah, yeah.
TI: Going to.
GH: Yeah, you know, at Los Angeles, and at San Francisco, and at...
TI: Right, so there were...
TI: Three main, sort of...
GH: Yeah, Northwest, head of the Northwest. His name was Colonel Bendetsen? Something. Well it, no, it, it was not Bendetsen. It was somebody, Italian name. He was like a Nisei Italian. [Laughs] Except that he wasn't an alien.
AI: And before you went to that meeting on Monday, I wanted to ask, what was going through your mind as you were in that, in the jail?
GH: Oh, I expected to be in jail. They, that's where they put people you know, who are accused of violating the federal law. In the federal tank. And then eventually there'd be an arraignment, and a charge, and a court date set and so on. So this was the beginning process, shifting from uprooting to the judicial process for an objector.
TI: But, Gordon, although it was, it was a part of a process that you could -- would logically know would happen, I mean this was your first time in jail. How did you personally feel being in jail?
GH: Well, it was -- physically, I hadn't seen the federal tank. I, I took sociology, but my, I wasn't in the class that visited the jail. So the first time I physically saw it. And I saw couple guys walking back and forth, and I thought boy, they're going stir crazy. [Laughs] I was doing that myself after a while, you know as a way of escaping the noise around me you, you sorta walk back and forth talking, if you're talking with somebody, or by yourself. Walking back, exercising, and then I got so that if I wanted to think, I had to get up and walk. When I got out you know. 'Cause that's the way I clouded off the environment, immediate environment around me. And I just was able to think for myself. So, I found I had to do this frequently, after I got out of jail. But, when they called me out, I got out to see this guy. And he, he complimented me, that he's heard some really nice things about you. "And I been looking forward to meeting you," he says. He says and after, after our discussion, I think, I think things will be different. I was wondering what he was talking about you know. And, and he said, "I been talking with Presidio and with the headquarters, and they're all interested. You'll be glad to know that in Southern California, the biggest numbers of people went through, hundred percent success. Northern California, next big headquarters, everything went through, hundred percent success. And, then when we finish this discussion, we'll be hundred percent here too." And until that point I had a feeling that somehow, when the dust settled we'll, we'll probably have fifty to a hundred guys like me with whom maybe we can get a mass case going. And he's now telling me that a hundred percent success. Except me so far, and it's gonna be over after he finishes talking with me. He says "I'm expecting a call from Presidio and I wanna be able to tell him that everything's settled." I said, "What do you mean everything is settled? There's some good news around here?" And he said, "Yeah," he says, "You know you violated a lotta things and if they add these on, tack on consecutively, you're gonna have a long jail sentence. But they're willing to forget all that and they're giving you a clean slate. And soon as you sign this statement here, we're all set. I'm, I've got a car here ready to take you to Puyallup." I said, "Well, I appreciate all you're saying, and all you're doing. I haven't changed anything. And you said you haven't changed anything in the regulations. I don't know how, how we're going to manage this." And pretty soon the telephone rang. And he said, well this might be Presidio. And he went over and he got on and said, hello. And he said [motions with hands] [Laughs] And so, "Yes, I'm talking to him now. Yeah, he's a fine gentleman. Yeah, I think we're gonna have a good discussion," and so on. He repeated those things, and then talked for a little while longer, then he came back. In the meantime gee, I'm feeling kinda sorry for this guy. The only guy without a hundred percent you know. And, and so, I'm trying to figure out how I could accommodate him under these circumstances. So, after he comes back and talks, and we talk some more about whatever he could accommodate, and there's no change. So I said, "You know, I have, I have one suggestion by which you could get your hundred percent. You've got your car here all ready to take me down there. I'm not, I'm not physically objecting to your doing this. It's just that I can't consent, give you the consent myself under the circumstances. You know, you tell me hasn't been, those circumstances haven't changed. But I don't see why you can't take me down there without my consent. Why do you need my consent to throw me..." [Laughs] "And all you need to do is just get a couple of your guys to escort me down to the car, throw me in the back and drive down forty miles, open up the barbed wire, drive me in front of the administration building, put me down, plunk me down there, drive out, close the gate, I'm there." Hundred percent. And it seemed like for a split second or so he's thinking about it. [Laughs] Then he says, "We can't do that." "Why not?" "That'd be breaking the law." I said, "You mean you think breaking the law, putting me in without signing is, is worse than hundred and twenty thousand people that were forced to be moved out?" [Laughs] That's worse! And he says, "Well, I can't do that." And, well they, so actually, they had to take me back, you know. But he thought for a moment he was gonna get his hundred percent. But that, that was the best I could do, to suggest, suggest, without his changing anything, and me changing anything. That was the only thing I could suggest.
TI: That's a, that's a good story.
<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 18>
AI: I guess I do have one question. Is -- at this time you're still very full of your idealistic principles that you had really strong feelings about. And I was wondering, did you think that the principles of justice and righteousness would prevail in, in the legal arena? Did you, was that -- did you think that you would have a good legal outcome, or did you have some doubt and thinking, maybe he's right. Maybe I will spend many years incarcerated?
GH: I didn't have any, any probability thoughts of myself, how long I would stay in. What difference it would make of, of those options he was reciting. I, I felt that during the war it would be hard to get justice. And I probably wouldn't get it in the lower courts. But when it got to the Supreme Court, those Justices, their, their main raison detre for existence is to uphold the Constitution. I thought, how in the world can they uphold 'em against me? I didn't see how they could do it. So I thought when it got up to there I'll probably have a hearing. Well, it turned out I didn't. [Laughs] Unanimously I got turned down. And Korematsu was six to three. It came in eighteen months later and it was six to three. And mine was actually eight to nothing. There was one vacancy at the time, but it was unanimous you see. And it took, it took the forty years later, the circuit court, Mary Schroeder and her group, to blast it down you know. And so, at some point it did come through, but not, not at the earlier part of the case. But I didn't expect it to. During the war nothing that the army said was questioned.
TI: At this point I think we're gonna take a -- we're gonna stop the interview and then we'll get into the, the cases hopefully at the next interview. But thank you, Gordon. This was a very good session.
<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.