Densho Digital Archive
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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-01-0037

<Begin Segment 37>

LH: Well, I think we're going to wrap up here but I wanted to get your last comments. If there are things that we've overlooked in the questions which I'm sure we have and I think you've recognized. If there's anything else that you'd like to add and more importantly, if there's anything else you'd like to indicate as what people should learn from this experience of internment, what people really need to take away from that...

GA: It's good to be obedient but it also, it's good to speak out when you think thing is not right. And so regardless, whatever people say of you, they'll come around if you're right.


LH: If you have anything to say in terms of what people should learn from this experience of internment and what happened to the Japanese Americans, what would that be?

GA: That whatever you feel right, you should speak out. It's nice to be quiet but then it doesn't hurt to create a little wave to let the people know that you don't like what's going on. I think we all had the tendency of our upbringing to be obedient, whatever they tell you to do, just follow through because they tell me to do it. And that way, they could lead you any direction they want to and unless you come out and speak out, you're going to be a follower all the time. Many of the -- well, let me see... when, when you feel that you are right, you should speak out because if it could happen to you, it could happen to anybody. As long as you're a minority, they can pick on you and they can incarcerate you as they did us because you're a minority. But if you get out there and speak out and speak out loud, I think you will be able to combat those type of things. As you notice, that the Jewish people, they stress the Holocaust year after year after year until people are sick and tired of listening to that. But what they're doing is to, telling the people, "Don't forget. Don't forget that this could happen to you, the Holocaust." And in the same manner, we should go out there and tell the people and make them remember that this should never happen again. Because you as a minority could be the next one. I could be talking about any other nationality. Right now I'm thinking of the Iranians, I think it was, when they started out, they're talking about rounding up all the Iranians. It never did materialize but they did start talking about it. So things like that could happen. It's a war hysteria that people just jump on the, on one of those, and to get out there and anything could happen when a person or a group is in a mass hysteria. So let's hope that nothing like that would ever happen and I hope that this will teach the younger generation that wherever you must get out, don't hesitate but get out and speak up your feelings and let them know that you want justice.

LH: Thank you very much, Gene, thanks a lot.

<End Segment 37> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.