Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Hiroshi Kashiwagi Interview
Narrator: Hiroshi Kashiwagi
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Klamath Falls, Oregon
Date: July 3, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-khiroshi-02-0017

<Begin Segment 17>

AI: So at this time, when this commotion was going on, and these men had been taken away, and you were, had decided to refuse to register also, what about regular daily life in camp? Had some things been suspended, or...

HK: Yeah, I think they, the recreation department suspended a lot of things, and I think the theater, they discontinued that. I'm not... I didn't feel that I wanted to continue. I was in a play, and we were rehearsing, and I told them that I didn't want to continue, and I think that's when I stopped.

AI: What, what was your feeling about that? Why were you deciding not to continue?

HK: Well, it seemed odd that I would be enacting, or trying to portray, parts were all Caucasian, and be white, American, when, when we're going through all this loyalty business, yeah. So I didn't think that it was right, yeah. And then, some of the people who were in the rec. department were pro-, pro-America, pro-registration, so that there was that conflict, political conflict, too.

AI: Do you happen to remember, at that time, were people actually being called pro-American, or was it just more you could see what their actions were?

HK: I think maybe there were some people who, who volunteered. And so they were definitely loyal, "yes-yes" type of people. But the registration brought out certain people, or made it clear that some people would answer "yes-yes" to the, without any question, and others would maybe on condition, and others, "no-no," flatly, and so, yeah, there was a... and there was, those who were "yes-yes" would try to convince others to join them, there was that, and this brought on a lot of heat between them, and they would write "pro-America" on their walls, you know. And then some of 'em called 'em inu, and they would, the mess people, if they were very anti-American, or anti-registration, would set aside a separate table for these people. All this sort of very bad things happened, yeah.

AI: It sounds like it became very visible, to that extent, that even people would be set aside at different tables in the mess hall.

HK: Yeah, yeah. Yes. And I didn't think that was good.

AI: It sounds like -- I'm, I just wanted to make sure I'm understanding you, because it sounds to me like you decided that you would just not answer the questions at all, mainly as a protest for they way you had been treated. Is that right?

HK: Uh-huh. Right, yeah. But then, basically, I didn't want to risk my life, serve in the army, the way we were treated. I just didn't want to do that. I mean, when you agree to serve in the army, I think, as a Japanese, you feel that you, you're giving up yourself. You'll do anything to, to serve. And so I couldn't get into that kind of mental attitude.

AI: Whereas before you were put into the camps, you felt just as patriotic as --

HK: Oh, yeah.

AI: -- as the next American. And at that time --

HK: There was no hesitation. Yeah, and then my father lectured me that I was an American, and so as an American, I knew we'd have to act like an American, serve the country. And he, of course, was an alien, and Japanese.

AI: So even though he was an alien and was not allowed to become a U.S. citizen, he still lectured you on your duty.

HK: Yes. So that, yeah. Well, maybe those who served remembered that more than I did. I mean, over the fact that we were treated like non-citizens, yeah.

AI: Well, also during this time, about mid-1943, something else happened, and I don't know if you heard about it, but around June of 1943, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Hirabayashi and Yasui and the, I was wondering if you had heard anything about that in camp.

HK: Not, not really. I wasn't too concerned about that. Yeah, I don't think so.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.