Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Paul Takagi Interview
Narrator: Paul Takagi
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Oakland, California
Date: March 16, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-tpaul_2-01-0008

<Begin Segment 8>

TI: Well, when you were an orderly, there was an incident that happened, and this was in December '42 around the Manzanar "riot." Can you describe what happened?

PT: That was the night when nine people were shot. Let's see, where to begin? Manzanar had what a sociologist calls an "organic leader." And an "organic leader" is someone who emerges with a very principled, attractive point of view. He wasn't elected, but he would give his life to do what he believes in. And his name was Ueno, and he was continuously on top of the administration. And one of the most important ones was he accused the administration of stealing sugar. And stealing sugar was a federal offense because sugar was rationed.

TI: Yes, rationed.

PT: And he told the FBI that they were stealing sugar. And then, many years later, one of Hansen's students interviewed the people in the community, and one of the women he interviewed said they even got sugar from the camps.

TI: Oh, interesting. So it collaborated the story of this administrator stealing sugar, and then somehow getting it to the community, probably selling it to the community.

PT: It was being sold, yes. And that book I had, and it disappeared on me. And then subsequent books it was not in there. Then I talked to a second hand library, "Can you get one for me?" And there's one way back in New York or someplace, they want $185 dollars for it. [Laughs] I said, "No, I don't think so." But anyway, sugar was being sold. He had told this guy that he had notified the FBI, and then something else was going on. Long before the Japanese were sent to the camp, the Los Angeles JACL had already a relationship with FBI.

TI: And even Naval Intelligence.

PT: Yes, that's in your friend's second, volume two.

TI: This is Professor Roger Daniels.

PT: Yes. And the Los Angeles JACL elected one person to be the person to work with the FBI. That day, two guys, FBI comes, and they're friendly, talking to...

TI: Fred Tayama?

PT: No. The guy who had a couple of restaurants.

TI: Tokie Slocum?

PT: No. One guy was a very bright guy. Who's the other guy who was the editor of the Japanese newspaper in Los Angeles?

TI: I can't remember the name.

PT: But this other guy, he had a couple of restaurants, and I think he sold...

TI: That's okay, but the main point was that these men were very close to the FBI, providing them with information.

PT: He was a businessman, and they had a working relationship with the FBI. And so on that day, the FBI comes, they're talking to these two guys. And then this white guy sees them and he thinks that they're here because he had been messing around with the sugar. He picks up Ueno and drives him into prison outside the camp. And then the people get together, and this is when they demanded that he be brought back.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.