Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Frank Miyamoto Interview IV
Narrator: Frank Miyamoto
Interviewers: Alice Ito (primary), Tatsuya Fukunaga (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: July 7, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-mfrank-04-0026

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AI: We also had a question about whether it was noticeable following, among the Japanese, either the Nisei or the Issei, of any of these union efforts.

FM: Yes. I should talk about that. Again, my involvement in the activities, union activity was rather minimal. In fact, it was minimal. So, so I have no clear recollection of what happened. My feeling, or my recollection is that the, in the nature of the Japanese Issei orientation -- well, the Issei, because they... the Issei workers... well, let me back up a minute. Mr. Nagamatsu, as an Issei contractor, had a position. He wanted to prevent the unionization. And Jack, his foreman, as an Issei, probably had a position. But most of the Issei workers was, as I said, kind of a marginal working population within the Issei community and I don't recall, I don't think they could have held a position that would materially affect what would be the outcome of this development. And I don't recall that they expressed themselves strongly about it. If they had a position, I'm sure it was in favor of retaining what had existed before because, in a sense, their life circumstance depended on it. But, I don't recall that they came out very forcefully to defend that position. As far as the Nisei, Japanese Americans were concerned, the Nisei, as I say again, were a kind of marginal working population in that they, the Nisei were all, virtually all students, in high school or college, and this is a way of paying their way through school. It was much less of a commitment to this type of work than was true for Filipinos and other people. Therefore, again, I don't recall that they held a, a strong position on the matter of unionization. For them it was a question of, "What shall I do that will help me retain my position in succeeding years?" and they became very concerned then of being able to function within the union's set-up so that they would have a union card with which to return to the work. But, I don't recall that they took a strong stance in any direction. I suppose if... my guess is that if any kind of position was taken, the Nisei probably at some point decided that the unions were going succeed in displacing the contracts, contractors and increasingly supported the union movement. But, they were certainly not among the leaders, as I recall, of that union activity.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 2003 Densho. All Rights Reserved.