Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Takashi Hoshizaki Interview
Narrator: Takashi Hoshizaki
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda, Jim Gatewood
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: July 28, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-htakashi_2-01-0023

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TI: And so when you were, you made your decision not to report, did you discuss this with anyone, like your, your father or anyone else?

TH: No, no. Except that I saw the notice about the Fair Play Committee and I went to one of the Fair Play Committee meetings.

TI: So describe this. So the Fair Play Committee was a group that essentially opposed the draft, led by men like Frank Emi.

TH: Okay, the Fair Play Committee originally had, was sort of a evolved group that came later, because we had a fellow named Kiyoshi Okamoto who was talking (...) that it was the constitutional civil rights problem (...) for us to be put in the camp. And so he then claimed to be the Fair Play Committee of One pushing the civil rights wrong that was imposed on us, but also, apparently at the same time there were other fellows in the camp who then were pushing, again, the same thing that Kiyoshi Okamoto was talking about. And I think that one was called, early on was called something like Congress of America and that was another group, and those sort of, I guess, people left camp or, I don't know what happened, but then it slowly, I guess, evolved over into what was called Fair Play Committee who was originally now pushing the civil rights problem. And then when the draft came up, then it became a point where... it was something that was possibly now to contest the civil rights in court, so we used now the refusal of going into the army, the draft problem as a means of presenting our case in a court of law. But unfortunately, when we finally got in the court it was not about the civil rights. The judge then threw out everything and concentrated only on the fact that we didn't show on the doorsteps of the draft board.

TI: So let's go back, so thank you for describing that. It was really well done. You mentioned you went to one of the meetings of the Fair Play Committee. Describe that for me.

TH: Well, I was a little shocked when I walked in because it was virtually wall-to-wall people. And people talking, and some were standing up, I guess maybe describing their stand, but all I remember about that is I finally stood up and I said, "Well, I don't know about that, you guys, but the conditions as they are, I wouldn't be going." And that was about all that I said and sat down. And Mits Koshiyama years later says, "Yeah, I remember. You're the guy." [Laughs]

TI: Well I'm guessing, within that room, you're probably the youngest or one of the youngest --

TH: Oh, yeah.

TI: -- 'cause you were barely eighteen or just...

TH: I just turned, yeah, 'cause when, I just turned, see, October, and I turned eighteen. And I think it was a month or so later that this, the questionnaire came out, so I was one of the youngest. And then by April or so, then they tried to draft me, and so... I, yeah, I was the youngest, one of the youngest. And along with that, if I may just interject, years later when the Korean conflict was on, they were drafting people into the army and I got my second draft notice, and I was finishing up my master's, so then I told 'em hold off 'til when I finish my master's, then I went into the army. And later on I find that there were six of us in the group of sixty-three who then served during the Korean conflict, so I was, started thinking more about it. Then I thought, I started doing some, just some numbers, little about, because of my training, and I thought, well, how many of us out of that sixty-three would still be eligible about ten years later for the draft? That meant that there had to be people like me, eighteen, and so I figured I think that virtually the six of us were the, were the total count of those who were still eligible for the draft. And on top of that, I, talking to Lane Hirabayashi about this, began to wonder how many others from the other camps who resisted the draft later served if they were called, and so that's sort of a curious point and it might be something worth someone doing a study on that.

TI: With, I think the point you're trying to make is that you refused, you, I think you mentioned two things: one, the civil rights of being locked up in the camps, and the second one, I think, was going to a segregated unit, were the, I think, the two reasons. And both those reasons weren't in play the second time, and so that's why you, you and probably the other men...

TH: Yeah, we were, yeah, we weren't in camp and then we had our -- in fact, President Truman had pardoned all of us so we had our civil rights back, so fine. Yeah.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.