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-01-0013

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TI: So after the war had started, in places like Seattle and Portland, they started taking Japanese Americans and Japanese and putting them into camps. What did you, what did you know about that? Did you hear about that, and what did you think?

MA: They're being placed in internment camps, yeah, I, well, I thought that, well, that's unconstitutional, but there wasn't much we can do. So we had to be pro-American, I did, anyway. You mentioned Gordon Hirabayashi, he was here, you know, during the war. And he was kind of, he objected to... what was his, he objected to something...

TI: Yeah, he objected to both, well, to the removal, the exclusion order.

MA: Yeah, yeah.

TI: And so he was in Spokane kind of waiting...

MA: Yeah, he was in Spokane and...

TI: ...waiting for the...

MA: ...he waited for the, to be...

TI: The decision from the Supreme Court.

MA: Yeah, but they didn't come after him, so he went to prison. He went by himself. [Laughs]

TI: Yeah, so I interviewed him, so he actually had to hitchhike down to Arizona.

MA: Yeah, he hitchhiked.

TI: But then when Gordon was in Spokane, how did you and the others feel about him? Did you guys ever talk to him or see him much?

MA: Oh yes. Yes, I talked to Gordon, yeah.

TI: So how did you --

MA: We, see, he was in, he was a Quaker, and I've been to several of his meetings. And I felt that he had his rights. Even that Korematsu case, he had his rights, too, you know. We have our own opinions.

TI: So did you ever get into a discussion about how you felt versus how he felt?

MA: No, no, I never discussed it much.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.