Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Gene Akutsu Interview
Narrator: Gene Akutsu
Interviewers: Larry Hashima (primary), Stephen Fugita (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: July 25, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-agene-01-0014

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LH: Well, I want to go back a little bit, actually, and go back a little bit more toward your time in Minidoka. Specifically, you were also talking earlier about this incident, or this plan that you and your family had of getting back to Crystal City, Texas and being reunited with your father and that's while your, while your father was still separated from you. Correct?

GA: Right, he was still incarcerated in Santa Fe, New Mexico. And... while other parents or the husbands were able to come back out, it seemed like my, my father had not had the opportunity and we just waited and waited and it seemed like he will not be released. So that was the reason why we had requested to go to Crystal City, so that our family would be together again. Through the, during the camp -- while we were internees in the camp, my mother was kind of shunned, I think, by the other Issei because her husband was still incarcerated and they must have felt that, "Better not get too friendly with the Akutsus because the husband is still over there and if we don't watch out, maybe my husband might get taken away," or something to that effect. And she was pretty much to herself. Naturally, the husband being gone and she's trying to watch over two kids that's quite a bit on their own didn't help too much. She worried about us, our future and it started to takes its toll. And when I was taken in after, let's see... my dad was returned, as I said, in December of 1943. And by April of 1944 I was in the County Jail for refusing to go to the, to comply with the draft. So here it was, the family got together only for four or five months and then the son gets pulled away. And I think that may have been the problem, that Mother has lost a lot of blood, she became real anemic, and at one point they thought she was going to die in camp. But somehow or another -- I guess determination -- somehow she survived it. And by... and during that time, my brother was still out, and so he spent all his time at the hospital -- this is the camp hospital -- and helped get her back on her feet. And no sooner she gets back on her feet, he gets called into the draft and he also refused to go and so now she has both sons in the County Jail. And I guess that made her all the more determined to see things through all the way to see if everything, justice will be done.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.