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Title: Arthur Ogami Interview
Narrator: Arthur Ogami
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: March 10, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-oarthur-01-0027

<Begin Segment 27>

AI: Well, now you had mentioned earlier that during the time you were in Bismarck, that you were questioned. Could you tell about that? What kind of questioning was this and what it was about?

AO: Yes, we heard words that... the word that we're going to have... I think the word was hoso, which could be regarded as broadcast, or vaccination -- I don't know which it was -- but that was what was mentioned that we're gonna go and see about hoso, but it actually was, we were gonna be questioned. And this question, question interview was prior to, to leave United States. And so actually they were gonna determine who would go and who would stay. And later on I understood that they were, the government was trying to reduce the number of people that will go to Japan. And I think that was the purpose. And they would question you, talkin' about what you did before the Pearl Harbor. And then now, you decide to go to Japan, and the reason why you want to go to Japan. And they asked, they asked me -- and I imagine they asked each individual -- about joining the Imperial army. And my answer was I would not volunteer to join the military, but if I had to, to be inducted, same as I would have had to in United States, that I would have to agree to be inducted. The other question was asked that if I confronted a U.S. soldier, that I would shoot to kill him. I said, "No, I could not do that." Actually, I owe my life to the United States because I was educated and grew up there and I have never been in Japan. So I said I would, if I was assigned to a prisoner of war camp and there's a American soldier in the camp, that I would not see them harmed. And that's all I could say that, what my intent will be if I met with a U.S. soldier.

AI: So, with this kind of questioning, did you discuss with your brother or any of the other fellows there what was going on, why you were being questioned in this way, or what you think the result would be of this questioning?

AO: Through hearsay is that I believe it was mentioned that they were, the government was trying to prevent as many of us not to go to Japan, to refuse to go. And later on, after I, even after I came back, returned to the United States, that there was a purpose of our interview to refuse, because to refuse to go to Japan. But I have already made up my mind, because my parents made up my mind for me and they said, "Regardless, whatever happens, you wish to go to Japan." And that's where I ended up, going to Japan.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.