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-01-0021

<Begin Segment 21>

TI: Now, after the war, what kind of community activities did you get involved in?

MA: Oh, I was, as I say, a maverick. [Laughs] I used to hate discrimination and I used to write, write about what the... they have a newsletter to the editor column and I used to write about what the 442nd did in Europe. And then I used to write about discriminatory practices around Spokane. And the police, police didn't quite like that, and I used to write about Chinese and some of the other racial gambling going around in Spokane, and the police hauled me down to the police station one time in a police car. And I says, "If you got anything against me," I says, "charge me." And they couldn't find anything against me, so they released me. [Laughs]

TI: Now, so why did they haul you down? Because you, you were talking about the people who were gambling, so why would they...

MA: Yeah. That was because a lot of Isseis, bachelors used to go. And then even Issei husbands go down there and the Isseis used to complain that, "My husband goes gambling there," so that's why I took it on myself to make charges. They did, they did close the place down.

TI: Yeah, but why did the police pick you up? Why didn't they just go down there and close --

MA: They said they have a right to entertainment and that I shouldn't be too strict on 'em. [Laughs] Oh yeah, and then I was active in the Republican party, too, in the '50s, and I worked on the election board, I also went to Republication conventions. And the only Nisei that I ever met in the Republican party in the state of Washington was, was a guy named... oh, shucks. I keep forgetting names. (Clarence Arai) There was a...

TI: Was he from Seattle?

MA: ...Nisei, yeah. Nisei. He was an active Republican. And...

TI: Now, why, why is it you think that there were so few Japanese Americans, Republicans? Most of them are Democrat.

MA: I don't know. They never, Spokane especially, they never involved in politics. You know, I was the only one for a while. Even Ed Tsutakawa, he never got involved in politics. But I don't know, I always, I liked to get involved in things. [Laughs]

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.