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-01-0034

<Begin Segment 34>

TI: Well, from your perspective, then, as a member of the Hokoku Dan, the Young Men's, as a junior member, what did you see?

TA: I personally saw a great change. When, when my father was removed and Tachibana, Wakayama took over, Wakayama had talked about becoming a more aggressive, more intimidating, and they were using coercion and forceful tactics to, to join the organization. And as a result, our, our leaders emphasized and says, "Be more aggressive. Blow your bugle louder, yell 'Wasshoi' some more. Thump the feet louder, and be more aggressive in what you're doing." And as a result of this, a lot of the members -- especially the (Nisei) -- they got fed up with it and they says, "No, no, no. This is not for me." And they started to leave. And the membership started to slowly lose, lose membership.

TI: Now, was this just for membership, or also, does the, to sign the renunciation?

TA: This, this, at that time, the renunciation program was on hold until such time they came up with procedure as to how they would do this. So what happened is that it was only, people got to, got to, people renounced after the procedure came about. And those procedures were: one, you had to apply; two, you had to have a hearing; and third, you had to be approved by the attorney general. And those procedures didn't come in until sometime in October. October or November.

CO: And, you know, in the meantime, in the Supreme Court, they're moving along with these cases, and it was in December 18th or something when the... what was her name? Mitsuye Endo case was decided and they said everybody could go back to their homes. So... you know, it's all kind of stuff going on.

TA: Yeah, there was a lot of conflicting things because this is when, this is when things started to, to happen, because now you got the renunciation, and you got the Wakayama faction says, "Start pushing renunciation." But by December, there was only about a hundred some-odd people that renounced, mostly Kibeis. But what happened, based on this, the Department of Justice conducted a hearing. And based upon the hearing, the attorney general then quickly approved it. And upon approval, they lost their citizenship, and as a result of that, they were classified as "enemy aliens."

TI: So these were the U.S. citizens who renounced, all of a sudden they lost their status as citizens, and then were classified as "enemy aliens."

TA: "Enemy aliens." And then as a result of being classified as "enemy alien," they now had the authority -- well, not authority, but they, without being in conflict with the Geneva Conventions, they now could remove 'em to an internment camp without any repercussion.

TI: Yeah, those were the Department of Justice internment camps.

TA: Because --

CO: For aliens, yeah.

TA: Because the Spanish consul, during this time, was quite reluctant to do anything, because these were Niseis and Kibeis, and Kibeis and Niseis are U.S. citizens, so they couldn't really interfere with that, strongly make protests and things like that. So as a result, when they became enemy aliens, now they had the full power to just move 'em out, and that's what they did. In December 29th, my father was picked up along with...

TI: Right, so your father, with, who was already... well, he was a Japanese citizen.

TA: Issei.

TI: Issei.

TA: So he fell in that category. But he was also in-, he was, he was interviewed by Burling, and he...

CO: Burling, yeah.

TA: And he was asked a number of questions.

<End Segment 34> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.