Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Fred Y. Hoshiyama Interview
Narrator: Fred Y. Hoshiyama
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Culver City, California
Date: February 25, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-hfred_2-01-0018

<Begin Segment 18>

TI: So I've heard a lot about Mike Masaoka, I've read things about him, but I never met him or anything. Describe him. What was it about Mike Masaoka that made people follow him?

FH: Mike, number one, had a pretty good mind. He understood he was at college. He was a tremendous speaker. He was a artist of words, and he could just talk and talk and convince Congress. He could talk and make, change people's minds. He was amazing. He was a persuader, an orator, a great orator. And I think he won many prizes as orator in college, yes. He was a very, I would say average-looking but attractive human being, young man. Medium height, he was about five-six maybe, seven. Yeah. And he could talk about human rights very well. He was well-versed, well-educated, and very committed, yes.

TI: How about his personality, his character? What did you know about that?

FH: Well, that I can't speak to too well. I knew of a lady that worked with his, in his office in D.C. after he started his consulting firm, legal consulting firm, and he helped a lot of people, renunciants, get their citizenship back, that kind of thing. Name is Mary Toda, a personal family friend from Watsonville. And Mary Toda is still alive. Every once in a while we talk over the phone, she lives in New Jersey in a place called Lane Meadows, in a retirement home that another Livingston, Yamato Colony guy named Moriuchi, he's still alive. And he was a farmer in Livingston, and he started this community. He and his father went to New Jersey to farm from camp, and did well. Did very well.

TI: It's interesting how well so many people from Livingston...

FH: Oh, he grew apples and he made lots of money, seven hundred acres. His son Fred, married to a German woman, still runs the farm there.

TI: Interesting.

FH: And Tak Moriuchi, Tak and my youngest brother Willie, same age. And he used to come and visit here in Los Angeles, 'cause he married a Los Angeles girl, Yuri, who was a teacher of ikebana. And she goes all over the world judging ikebana. Yuri Moriuchi.

TI: So let's go back now. So after that meeting, what happened next?

FH: Well, when we decided as the JACL, this is our position, that's it. So whenever anything comes up, many people just follow, right?

TI: And how did the JACL, like Mike, communicate with all these people after the meeting?

FH: Well, the newspapers were there, Hokubei, Nichi Bei, and so they would publish every word, and people would get it, I guess.

TI: And so Mike would, whenever he wanted to get the word out, he would use the newspapers.

FH: And we had JACL paper called the Pacific Citizen, Harry Honda, editor.

TI: Now, was Harry the editor then?

FH: Now, that's a good question.

TI: I think it was Tajiri?

FH: Larry Tajiri, what a memory. I remember his wife, San Jose girl. Larry Tajiri, that's right. He also worked... that's right, Larry Tajiri.

TI: So it was through the Pacific Citizen that they could keep people informed what was happening.

FH: It was the house paper, Pacific Citizen, correct. Still surviving. Nichi Bei Times went out. Seattle had a Japanese paper?

TI: Yes, they still have the North American Post.

FH: It's still going?

TI: Still going.

FH: How are they doing it?

TI: Tomio Moriguchi is the publisher, and he's...

FH: Tomio?

TI: Yeah, Tomio. So he's, I mean, he's, yeah, I think still the chairman of Uwajimaya.

FH: One time, Tomio came to Los Angeles, and he hired a consultant to fundraise, and he says, "Fred, we want to come and talk to you." And we met near the airport. I still remember that meeting. Tomio. So I said, "Tomio, how come you know me?" "I don't, but I heard about you." "So I'm glad you're here." And then we had this girl from, she's... oh, my gosh. She ran this operation out of D.C., and she just retired. But she's from Portland, I think, what's her name? You should interview her, too. But you interviewed Tomio?

TI: Yes.

FH: Oh, good. So I got to know him.

TI: Right.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.