Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Minoru Kiyota Interview
Narrator: Minoru Kiyota
Interviewers: Tracy Lai (primary), Alice Ito (secondary)
Location: Klamath Falls, Oregon
Date: July 3, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-kminoru-01-0011

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[Ed. note: This transcript has been edited by the narrator]

TL: Could you tell us about the formal process of renunciation?

MK: Well, it's been over fifty years, so (...) the details (are hazy). But I know that the interviewer was a woman. And though it was said (...) that the full opportunity was given to the renouncee warning them of the consequence, I never received such a statement from this interviewer. It was done, as far as I'm concerned, maybe in a matter of ten minutes or so.

TL: So there was no explanation of the consequences?

MK: I (don't recall). Maybe there was. But under the circumstances -- (...) this (repression and) harassment -- (...) the rationale with which an interviewer explains things will not enter one's head. (When you see yourself surrounded by) armed soldiers (and tanks, whatever the) interviewers would say (just won't click.)

TL: So at the time that this was going on, the tension in the camp...

MK: Oh, yes -- sure.

TL: ...was very high?

MK: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

TL: Did you speak with other people who had renounced, or did it feel very individual? You didn't know of anybody else...

MK: No. I didn't consult any other people in as far as the renunciation act is concerned. I did consult others after I began to realize that maybe I'd made a mistake. (...)

TL: Did the camp administration move quickly to deport all the renunciants?

MK: (Three months after the war, some renunciants were deported,) including (...) those Nisei who were underage.

TL: Did you have to go with that group or did you stay -- or were you able to stay?

MK: Well, I was fortunate that, and I was, I considered myself fortunate because one of the men that I have dedicated the book is Opler. And so he had connection with the administration. In fact, I was working under him. So I think he did a lot to help me.

TL: Your dedication also mentions Wayne Collins?

MK: Yeah. Wayne Collins.

TL: And could you talk a little bit about his role?

MK: You know, you should ask his son, who I understand is coming. Yeah. Ask him.

TL: We'd love to have your perspective as well.

MK: Okay. Wayne Collins (...) was a dedicated man. He not only helped the renunciants, but he helped others, Japanese Americans, who were in trouble with the American government. What characterized Wayne Collins is this: he always advocated freedom of speech, (...) regardless of whether it was wartime or not. In as far as the freedom of speech was concerned, he would go and help the communists and the Nazis (not that he endorsed their views; he was defending) the freedom of speech. So (...) he even defended the boys who were in the stockade; (...) he was defending their right to freedom of speech. (...)

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.