Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Jim Akutsu Interview
Narrator: Jim Akutsu
Interviewer: Art Hansen
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: June 9 and 12, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-ajim-01-0039

<Begin Segment 39>

AH: But then, what I was getting was, what happened after that FBI thing? Because you said that they banged on your door and then they almost pulled a gun, and then once you showed them these papers, they walked away.

JA: Yeah. And the thing is they gave me the next notice. Oh, in the meantime, I took the physical and I appealed, and three to zero, that whatever I have to be drafted. And here, I have to do everything, appeal and they're not applying, answering my appeal and it goes by. So they sent me another draft notice, but by that time I'm saying, "Hey, I'm going to really make a test case out of this." Can they or can't they, and that was it. And next thing I know, I'm violated, okay. So they come and pick me up and take me to Boise to wait trial. And at the trial, you ought to see the report written by the FBI. No name given, no date, no nothing. They don't even sign that, and they used that as a document to charge me with draft evasion. And three times during my course of talking to the... see, I didn't want court, I want to talk to the jury, because I knew I can talk to them. It was no use court, because previous, it was, "Did you appear or not?" "Yes-no." And it was called a sing-song trial, and they're making fun of it, and that again makes me mad.

AH: But they were doing... you didn't have a group trial like the Heart Mountain sixty-three?

JA: No, individual.

AH: You went in there individual.

JA: Right, and that's why I didn't ask the court. I want the jury, I want to talk to the jury. But the judge will tell the jurors, "Hey, we found this guy guilty." I'm already guilty. "Don't find him otherwise and if you do, then you will be..." and rattled off some term. So, regardless, I was guilty without even a jury listening.

AH: So you might as well have just chosen the judge as far as this went.

JA: But, the thing was I wanted to talk to the jury.

AH: Did you talk to the jury?

JA: Yes, I did and I had 'em pretty well convinced, and he stepped in and said, "Don't find him not guilty." He did that two, three times during the course of my giving my presentation.

AH: I was reading something that was written dealing with your situation, and it said that you had made the point that it was interesting that the two camps where draft resisters got the worse sentences and everything were Heart Mountain and Minidoka, and both of them had very strong JACL presence in 'em. Poston and Tule Lake really got released with nothing. And so is this right that you had said this, that you had made this point?

JA: We got the biggest sentence. Over Heart Mountain. I pulled three years, ten months.

AH: Plus you spent some time in jail, too.

JA: Oh yeah, and all the guys that did try to, said, "No," they spent, some of 'em, from February until October -- that's about how many, eight months? Yeah, they didn't get any credit.

<End Segment 39> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.