Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Tom Akashi Interview
Narrator: Tom Akashi
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda (primary); Chizu Omori (secondary)
Location: Klamath Falls, Oregon
Date: July 3, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-atom-01-0010

<Begin Segment 10>

TI: Okay, so going back to December 7, so you're burning these maps, these, these documents, these newspaper clippings. Anything else that you had to, that you were destroying?

TA: Well, he was destroying these things, and, of course, he says, "We don't want anything that would incriminate us as being Japanese." And my mother, she had this kimono that she got, and she thought in her mind that maybe this is, this would show friendship between, a relationship between her and Japan, because her relatives were there. So she reluctantly took her kimono and burned it. There was some, like the Japanese flag, a sword in the, and the mirror and the emperor's picture, that was given to him, and some of the award that he was given by, by the Japanese government for good service to the American community. Not the Japanese, for his good service, Japanese service to the community, and got recognized for that. And so what he did is he took that and I guess he didn't want to, to destroy that, so he wrapped it up in greased paper and whatnot, and put it in a can and buried it. Buried it behind the Ja-, the school, and says, "Now, don't tell anybody about this." And says, "Okay, we won't tell anybody."

CO: Yeah, I remember that, the burying thing, too.

TA: Yeah, he buried it, and later on, many years later, I says, "Gee, I wonder if it's still there," out of curiosity and I'd like to, I figured by then, hey, that would be some good -- [laughs] -- you know, something to remember by. I went there and that, Hesperian and Jackson was all, they, it was all demolished and destroyed to create the freeway, and so it was gone.

TI: Oh, so it was probably all dug up and there was concrete, everything just...

TA: Oh, it's all dug, it's gone. Maybe some, maybe some construction worker found it, I don't know. But anyhow, it was gone.

TI: Oh, that's too bad.

CO: You know, I know that later, in the FBI files and such, these little things like your father getting awards for community service from the Japanese government, and say, going to the Japanese battleships when they came to town, and I remember going to a battleship, you know, and that kind of thing. But these things were noted as black marks against people, I know, later on.

TA: I believe so, because of the fact that they, especially intelligence division, the FBI, the naval, they were covertly conducting investigations of people that they suspect. And, of course, schoolteacher and community leaders was one of the suspects. So I'm sure that he was on the "ABC" list, as they called it. And I tried to find his intelligence file, I tried for years to locate it, but no record.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.