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_2-01-0021

<Begin Segment 21>

TI: Inside the stockade, tell me a little bit about the discussions that went on. Did the men talk about kind of what was happening and what needed to happen? Were there quite a few discussions?

FS: There was no discussion, nothing.

TI: And so what did you do to pass the time?

FS: I don't remember what I did.

TI: So things like maybe cards or...

FS: I know, I know the Hawaii boys, Hawaii boys or whatchamacall, they're playing Hanafuda. You know Hanafuda?

TI: Well, it's like a gambling game.

FS: Yeah, that's a Japanese game. They call it Gajibana. Gajibana is, if you have four people, four or five people in the game, only two get left, two left over. What they do is he wants to, if he wants to play you give the next guy some money, and if the other guy want to play, he give the next guy some money, and it goes round until the final, final two guys are left. And then the, instead of being a nickel game, the one game sometimes is worth a hundred dollars, just one game.

TI: Oh, this was inside the stockade? So it was big gamblers?

FS: Yeah, that's right. In the stockade. In fact, one game was worth two hundred dollars, so the guy said, when somebody said, "Why don't you guys quit this game? You guys are playing for, that's too much." But this other guy didn't want to quit, and the other guy lost. The guy that said, "No, I'm not gonna quit." But he lost two hundred dollars. He thought he had the best hand, but it didn't work out that way.

TI: When you had things like this, which were pretty, lots of money, were there ever, like, sometimes disagreements or fights inside the stockade?

FS: No, I... no, he didn't, they didn't, he didn't fight. He just, "Oh, I lost," or somethin' like that, so on.

TI: Now, I want to try to get a sense of how order was kept inside the stockade, like a hierarchy. You mentioned earlier there was, like, a big shot that would question. Can you describe, like if there was any kind of hierarchy inside the, the stockade?

FS: Well, the, I would say the guy that was, I didn't want to say it, but it more or less gonna come out anyway, I guess, so it was a, he was a top reverend, and he had guys under him that was a judo sensei and a kendo sensei, and somebody else was under him, too, so they won't, they won't even touch him. Nobody would, nobody come up and tried to go against him. So that was, that was... he had the main, he had the final say of everything, whatever happened. But we, at least they didn't mess with, we never, they never bothered us, my barrack, any of 'em. Nobody bothered us.

TI: But if someone were to maybe disagree with the top guy, was there, did you ever see, like, maybe force or anything like, or intimidation to get that person back in line, kind of? I mean, how was, how was order sort of kept?

FS: I would say more or less they said, "We don't like this guy," so mostly likely they might tell 'em to get him out of here. I would say that.

TI: And so there's enough, I guess, understanding with the MPs that so when, kind of, the people in charge inside the stockade, when they decided someone needed to leave and they brought him to the MPs, the MPs would then take them?

FS: Uh-huh.

TI: And what would happen to the people who were sort of kicked out of the stockade?

FS: Gee, I don't where they, I don't know. They took 'em to another jail, I guess.

TI: Yeah, I'm trying to think what, what would happen to them because...

FS: I would say they, they must have another jail someplace.

TI: Any other memories or anything else that you can share about the stockade, about maybe friendships you made in the stockade or anything else that you can remember?

FS: Friends, no. Only, only... well, people that I, whatchamacall, one guy was, one guy was a judo man. He had, he treated me good. He won't let me, he won't do anything bad. Other than that, I said, I did know a lot, I did talk to a lot of people, but we were, actually they were Kibei, I'm a Nisei, you know.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.