Densho Digital Archive
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Title: Mas Akiyama Interview
Narrator: Mas Akiyama
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Spokane, Washington
Date: March 15, 2006
Densho ID: denshovh-amas-01-0019

<Begin Segment 19>

TI: So I wanted to go back to the Spokane Japanese community. Who were some of the, the leaders during the war? Do you remember who was sort of the community leaders, you know, the Issei leaders?

MA: Issei leaders? Well, as you say, these two who were interned, and after that there wasn't many Isseis that took... well, they kept quiet, so you know... and it wasn't 'til after the war that they started to become active members of the community.

TI: Oh, so during the war, the Isseis sort of were, kind of kept low-profile?

MA: Yeah, low-profile, uh-huh.

TI: But then after the war, then they started being more involved.

MA: Yeah, they started participating, yeah.

TI: And so after the war, were the Isseis still the community leaders, or were there Niseis? Who were the leaders in the community after the war?

MA: Well, mostly Niseis, yeah. Like Denny Yasuhara, oh, he was a good leader all through '50s and '60s. Yeah, Denny Yasuhara, and then there were several, several others. I can't, just can't remember, my mind is... [laughs]

TI: Well, how about the Isseis and their businesses? Were there any Isseis that had big businesses that they were able to grow after the war, that they did well?

MA: Isseis or Nisei?

TI: Isseis.

MA: Nisei?

TI: No, Issei, the first generation.

MA: Isseis, no, there weren't, except for barbershops and... but this pharmacy is Kibei, so you know... and the Nisei, one Nisei, three pharmacies. Most of 'em run hotels. I'd say there were about a half a dozen hotels run, run by Issei.

TI: So then how about the Nisei? Did, were there some successful businesses run by Niseis after the...

MA: Niseis?

TI: Yeah, Nisei.

MA: Oh yes. As I say, pharmacists, doctors, lawyers, (George) Numata, I forgot his name, first name, who was an attorney. Oh, there was a dentist, Kondo, Mark Kondo, he's a JACL member and very active person in the community.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.