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-01-0035

<Begin Segment 35>

TI: Right, so your father, along with about sixty-nine other men...

TA: Sixty-nine other men.

TI: Many of them who were formerly U.S. citizens, but who had renounced --

TA: Yeah.

TI: -- were picked up by, by... and, yeah, picked up.

TA: Picked up. They were, early in the morning, they came in there and raided the apartments, and like my mother was saying, says, "They came in, knock on the door and said, 'Where's Sanae Akashi?'" "Sanae Akashi's right there." They woke him up and told him to get dressed, handcuffed him, put him in a car and took him away. And that's how quick it was. Very efficient, as, as people told me about it, it was very efficient the way they did it. In fact, Tamura, he was in a, in a, he was in his bachelor quarters, and there were six or seven people there, but they knew exactly what bed to go to, and picked him up and carried him away. So it was a kind of a very efficient arrest.

TI: So how did you find out?

TA: I found out, I woke up -- my mother woke me up, after they left, and told us, "Your father's been arrested." And she told us how it happened and things like that, and, "Gee, what is this?" And then about the same time, one of the Hokoku Dan members, I don't know whose name, he came in and told us that, "The Hokoku Dan-in has been arrested." And we didn't know who was arrested, what the names were. But by then, he says, "Come on. We have to signal for assembly." So I got dressed up and got my bugle, and then blew my bugle for signal for assembly, and then all the members assembled. And that's when they announced that the leaders were, were arrested. They said, they said, among which was Akashi, Tachibana, Watanabe, Matsuda, and they named some of the people, but they didn't know the rest of the people's names. It was only until later that they, they found out who they were.

TI: So after you assembled, so you did the bugle call, everyone assembled...

TA: Yeah, about 350 of us assembled.

TI: And then, and then what, what did you do as a group? What was the next...

TA: Well, we assembled, made a, they made an announcement, they says, "All right, go back to, go back to your barracks, have breakfast, and we'll call you again. We'll signal you again." And I guess that's, that's, in the meantime, the people at the (Caucasian elementary school), they were able to request their immediate family, a friend, whoever, for their toiletries and things like that. And these, the internal security people, the camp police was told not to give out names, but eventually they weeded out, and they found out very quickly who those people were. The members, the leaders.

CO: You mentioned, you mentioned the word "stockade," you know, I forgot to bring that up sometime here, but I thought the stockade had been dismantled by this time.

TA: Yes, it was, it was. Because say, way back again. All right, there, many of the resegre-, oh, boy.

TI: Resegregants.

TA: These guys were members of the group, the resegregation movement, and they were arrested. And, including Kai and Abe and the brothers. Tokio Yamane, these people were... and Toki Yamane was the brother of Shigeru Matsuda.

CO: Not, the brother-in-law.

TA: Brother-in-law of Shigeru Matsuda, who was a member of the Saiban-iin. And what they did is they, the family, the resegregation family, they collectively gathered money, and formed what they call a lawsuit committee, and they decided that they would contact Besig, of the Northern District of the ACLU. Besig said he'll take the case, he contacted Wayne Collins, and Wayne Collins, who was familiar with this type of cases, went, got two people to file a writ of habeas corpus. And what happened is that with this writ, with this writ of habeas corpus, Collins and Besig went to the regional WRA meeting, and threatened 'em with this threat. Says, "We are going to file the writ of habeas corpus." They, the WRA, immediately became scared. They didn't want any publicity, because all the activities there was illegal. Holding prisoners for eight months without a trial, without a hearing, without charges. And so they immediately disbanded them, and they immediately, what they did is not have any trace of the stockade, they dismantled it, and it disappeared.

TI: And what time period, roughly, was this? So they're, the eight months they were there, do you roughly know when? Do you know...

CO: Well, I used to know. [Laughs]

TI: Okay, well, don't worry about it. We can, we can, it's actually in your book.

TA: Oh, is it? Okay. [Laughs]

TI: We can do that...

TA: Sorry. [Laughs] Senior moment again.

TI: Yeah.

<End Segment 35> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.