Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Mas Akiyama Interview
Narrator: Mas Akiyama
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Spokane, Washington
Date: March 15, 2006
Densho ID: denshovh-amas-01-0011

<Begin Segment 11>

TI: So when you were back in Spokane, did you ever come across any, like, anti-Japanese sort of sentiment?

MA: Oh, yes. Yes, I went down on Main Street there, right off of Bernard, and I run into a great big Norwegian fellow. Oh, he must have been a good six foot tall. And he says, "Oh, you dirty Jap," and he started to beat me up. And I got a bloody nose and fell to the ground, and there was a great big Russian, he saw me laying there and he came rushing over and he started beating up on this, on this Norwegian. And he knocked him down and he, and kicking him, and I said, "My God, don't kill the guy." So, so we took off and left, you know, and he was still laying there. Then we were around the block, we saw all the police cars there. They were picking him off the street there, so we didn't get near there, we just took off. And I was very thankful for this Russian person -- I can't remember what his name was. He was from Ritzville, Washington, and I was very thankful to him.

TI: Did you ever know why he helped you?

MA: I don't know why he helped me, but I guess he felt that I, he shouldn't have been beating up on me.

TI: Did you ever see him again after this?

MA: I never saw him anymore.

TI: Were there any other kind of incidences or events similar to this?

MA: No, not, no incidents that I know of. There was one incident... 'course, this happened in Walla Walla. You don't want to know anything about that, huh?

TI: No, go ahead, you could tell me.

MA: This Ishikawa family had a restaurant in Walla Walla, and they had a Chinese cook, chef there, working for them. And when the war started, he got mad and he shot and killed this, this man.

TI: He killed (Mr.) Ishikawa?

MA: Yeah, Ishikawa. That was, (...) daughter was Ada Honda and she still lives here. And I felt sorry for her. (In 1937, Japan invaded China.)

TI: Yeah, I didn't hear about that.

MA: That was a bad incident, yeah.

TI: How about... let me think. Let's see. Oh, in terms of the FBI, do you recall the government, like FBI, coming through the community and picking up people in Spokane?

MA: I didn't have any trouble with the FBI.

TI: How about others? Did you know others?

MA: Well, I used to work a tavern with a Issei partnership down on Bernard Street there called Mount Fuji Tavern. And we had a liquor license of course, and when the war started, they took the liquor license away and closed our shop. They said it was subterfuge, that they shouldn't, "You should have never gotten a license to sell liquor." That's the one bad incident I ran into.

TI: Okay.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.