Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Frank Yamasaki Interview I
Narrator: Frank Yamasaki
Interviewers: Lori Hoshino (primary), Stephen Fugita
Location: Lake Forest Park, Washington
Date: August 18, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-yfrank-01-0027

<Begin Segment 27>

LH: If I could, could I go back a little earlier and clarify something that I'm a little confused about. Now, when you came back to the camp and you were supposed to report for the draft...

FY: That came, not, no. It wasn't immediate. I came back and I'm trying to recall this. I came back, saw my friends and my parents and there was some social things that I was involved in and I even had a girlfriend and things of that sort. And it was a smattering of this type of thing going on and no, I never thought I would become a martyr and gradually as things developed and my anger built up, I said, "No, this is wrong. We don't have to prove we're Americans."

LH: Were they trying to register you for the draft at that point?

FY: Now when you say, "who," they?

LH: The army.

FY: The Selective Service?

LH: Selective Service.

FY: I don't recall the, when the notice came. But apparently, when the notice did come, then, of course, I was involved. Prior to that I think was opposed to it.

LH: And they asked you to report for a physical?

FY: I can't remember. I'm assuming that's the case. It's funny. I didn't really pay attention to it. It's just I was so single-mindedly opposed to what they were trying to have us do to go out and prove that we're American, that the notice come... "So what," kind of an attitude. And then again, without any advice, you know. Some of them said, "Don't go at all." You know, "to hell with them, just tear up their notice," and then some others said, "No, no. Don't do that, you won't have a case. And you have to go at least for your physical so you've got a case to..." or something. And, of course, we don't know. We just going by pure rumors and whatnot.

LH: Well, I'm curious because if you had tuberculosis, would that have disqualified you for the draft?

FY: Yeah, well, there are times where I don't believe in martyrs anymore. [Laughs] Now there are times, yes, of course, I thought about, I would just go back to Spokane if I want to get out of it and since, since we're going to be a loser on this, nobody's gonna... I thought there'd be a whole slew of people in camp saying, "Bull crap. We're not going to take this." It just fizzled out. Nobody... but then from there it was give me liberty or give me death and I was just going to go straight through with it. I don't know whether you call it ego, stubbornness or what.

LH: So the principle seemed to be the driving force for you.

FY: Of course, yeah. The principle of the whole...

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.