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Title: Charles Oihe Hamasaki Interview
Narrator: Charles Oihe Hamasaki
Interviewers: Martha Nakagawa (primary); Tom Ikeda (secondary)
Location: Culver City, California
Date: February 24, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-hcharles-01-0020

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MN: So they interrogated you at Bismarck and they had an interpreter.

CH: Yeah.

MN: Did you have an interpreter?

CH: Me? I told this Korean guy, you know, "Boy, they talk bad about Koreans, they hated Japanese them days."

TI: So they interpreters were Korean?

CH: Korean, they had two Korean interpreter they hired from Washington. They came down to Bismarck. So interpreter, they're saying, "Oh, Japanese, Issei, they don't know how to talk English that good." When they came to me, I told that guy, "One thing, I want to say something." "What is it?" "Take those two Korean out of here," I tell 'em. "Hey, he know how to talk English" And besides, you guys are not talking English," I told him. "You're talking Korean-English, I don't understand what you say. Out, out, out," I told him. They look at me like that, they went out. That's the number one question, huh? Number one question: "What if Japan's army come over here and I give you a rifle, would you shoot 'em?" "Sure I'll shoot 'em. But..." I paused little bit. They were looking at me. "When the Japanese army come all the way to North Dakota, hey, don't you think the war's gonna be over already?" I told 'em. They didn't say, they jumped to next question already. I tell them, "What a stupid question you guys are asking," I told 'em. I told 'em that. Yeah. Go all the way to North Dakota. [Laughs] See, in other words, L.A. and all those places gonna be in Japan roof? Half of the country gonna be under Japan's roof. That's what I told 'em. So this and that and everything. I said, "Man, you said a good thing," he told me. One month later, or three weeks later, "Hey, go home," they told me.

TI: Okay, so after the hearing, they realized that you weren't a threat, so they told you to...

CH: Yeah, yeah.

TI: Now how about your father? What happened to your father?

CH: Oh, he was innocent, too.

TI: So he was let go also?

CH: Yeah, yeah, he was released. But the other guys went probation and interned to Camp Livingston in Louisiana. They didn't have Santa Fe them days. Camp, all went to Camp Livingston, Louisiana, they went to.

TI: So about how many of the men were released at this point? After the hearings...

CH: I think about half and half, I figure. But all these schoolteacher and Japanese bank people, and Bonsan, that kind of people was arrested. They went to Livingston. And Nihonjinkai president and judo men, martial art kind of people, they didn't get released, see.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.