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-01-0032

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CO: Just to backtrack a little bit, you know, there was this murder in, in Tule Lake, and...

TA: Hitomi.

CO: Yes. Do you have any, like, who was this person and what was the effect on the camp from having this guy murdered? Now, you know, Frank Fujii has this story where it spread like wildfire that somebody'd been murdered, so he said all these little boys just ran down to see the body and all that.

TI: So, yeah, this was about July 1944 that Yaoze Hitomi was murdered. So why don't you --

TA: We heard about it.

CO: So there was this piece of paper that had "inu" on it, stuck on the barrack wall, right behind the man with, with a knife.

TA: Yeah, this, we heard it through, of course, you know, and we knew he was murdered. My father told us that he was murdered. But we didn't know, find out what the alarm was, but as far as he, he was the corporate manager, the co-op manager, and he, he wielded quite a bit of power, and he was considered "old Tuleans," and a lot of people disliked him because of the fact that he was running this thing, "suspectedly" illegal, and making a profit, and they were in cahoots with the, with the administration, and that, and he was reporting on, on the pro-Japan activities. And they had a run-in, and there's rumors, all kind of rumors who did it, but they, they murdered him, and we heard about it.

TI: Did they ever find out who committed the murder?

TA: No. Not to this day, not to this day. Although there's very, a lot of suspicion.

TI: And what was the reaction of your father and the other, kind of, leaders when this happened?

TA: My father -- not the leaders, but my father says, "Served him right. Damn inu." That was his reaction to it. But because there, it was conflicting with their, with their movement. Other than the resegregation movement, there were other political organizations. They were vying for power, and one power had the administration's support. Well, on my father's side, we did not have administration's support, so there was a lot of involvement. But as far as the true story, I talked to a couple people about it, and they came that close to telling me, but then they didn't. They backed off, I guess because it was murder.

TI: Hmm. Interesting.

<End Segment 32> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.