Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Fred Tadashi Shingu Interview
Narrator: Fred Tadashi Shingu
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda, Martha Nakagawa
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: July 29, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-sfred_2-01-0019

<Begin Segment 19>

TI: So you, you go into the stockade, then what happens?

FS: Well, they, not right away, but about, maybe about a month later or something, the lieutenant, lieutenant, sergeant and a corporal came in and they want everybody's name. They want, they want to type everybody's name out, so the one guy was typing, the corporal was typing the name out and he can't catch the name right away and take him a long time, and everybody waiting in line, so I said, I said, "Hey, you want me to type it for you? I mean, I will type it," I said. Okay, so I sat down and I start typing all the name out for them. So then, so then about a week later they got me out. Somehow, somehow they told me, this guy's not whatchamacall, so they said we could leave, so I left about a week after that.

TI: Now, when you offered to help and helped him, after that was over did anyone give you a bad time or hard time for helping the, the MP?

FS: No, they didn't. Nobody, nobody did anything because even in, in a block, I would say, living area where we were staying, the guys in there was more or less, they're Kibei, Kibei and there's a couple of, one newspaper man, newspaper guy, I think from San Francisco, and he was, he was more or less nice to me, because when they, when we went in, went on a hunger strike for about two weeks, he used to come in and give me vitamins. So they treated, they treated me good, certain guys.

TI: So let's, let's talk a little bit more about in the stockade, so you, when you first got in, so you're in there and a month later you helped the corporal and then a week later you're gone, but in that first month, first tell me, roughly about how many men were, were in the stockade?

FS: Roughly? [Laughs] It's pretty hard. It's two, two barracks full. Let's see, how would I count it? Maybe fifty on the one. Maybe fifty in one barrack, except there's the both sides.

TI: Okay, so there's a substantial number of men. And describe who was in there. I mean, why were those people in there? They were picked up and brought in there, and if you were to kind of generalize a little bit, give me a flavor of, of who's in there. You mentioned Kibei and... but try to tell me why they were picked up.

FS: It was... that I can't, that I don't know how they, why they got picked up, either, because I know a couple of guys, second generation guys, and they're maybe younger than I am, they got picked up and they got nothin' to do with it. They were in the whatchamacall. And most of the, most of them was, in our barracks was Kibei. Not all of 'em, but most of 'em was Kibei and some Nisei, and the other barracks, they had most of them, most of them was Hawaii boys, from Hawaii, and they were thrown in, in the blocks. I think, most, most likely... I don't know if they came from Leupp, called Leupp, they came over there or another group, another group they had that came in. But the thing is, after they were in there, and another people would come in, say, say one or two people would come in, then they had, they were what you call a kind of a big shot of the camp, kind of a controller of the camp inside by his self. They would question everybody that came in, to see what the, what are they coming in here for?

TI: So let me, let me make sure I understand this. So when you say big shot, this was another inmate, someone in, in the camp, but someone who internally, I guess, had some, I guess, authority or control, and so he would question the new people that would come in?

FS: They would question them.

TI: And why, why would he question them?

FS: The way I understood was if they didn't like the way they get their answer from them, they would take these guys to the gates, to the gate where the stockade, getting out, "These guys are spies. Get 'em out of here. They're spying on people." They said, "These guys are spying inside of the camp, among us here." They said, "We don't want 'em," so they take 'em out of here.

TI: Interesting. So they were concerned that the administration was gonna plant spies in there to find out what people were talking about, and so, so the people inside the stockade didn't want that so they would question people to see if they were spies, and then if they were suspected they would, they would essentially kick them out of the stockade?

FS: Yeah.

TI: Now, when, when you were picked up, it's almost like they cast, like, a wide net. I mean, it was almost like, I mean, you weren't guilty of anything. You weren't part of the riot or disturbance. You weren't, you weren't ever protesting. So did the people inside the stockade ever suspect that you might be a spy or something because you never went to their meetings, you weren't part of the Hoshidan. Did you, did you ever come under --

FS: They never, they never asked me anything like that.

TI: Okay, but you got along pretty well with everyone in the camp?

FS: Yeah.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.