Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Jack Y. Kunitomi Interview II
Narrator: Jack Y. Kunitomi
Interviewer: Martha Nakagawa
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: October 26, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-kyoshisuke-04-0009

<Begin Segment 9>

MN: And then you returned to Heart Mountain.

JK: Yes.

MN: So from, at that point, is this when you joined the Heart Mountain Sentinel?

JK: No. I was working before that. I was kind of new, but...

MN: What were you doing on the Sentinel staff?

JK: Well, I had claimed, back in City College, I was taking a journalism class. And, "Oh, you're gonna be a newspaper?" But I was doing that because I was writing for my high school. And I said, well, I'll continue. So I did that and then learned something new.

MN: Who was the editor?

JK: Bill Hosokawa was just leaving. He was just leaving camp to go to Omaha, Nebraska, and George and his two friends, high school, were kind of employed.

MN: George Yoshinaga?

JK: And two girls, Mae Zaiman and... oh, the name... Mae Zaiman was from San Francisco, the other girl from -- Alice Tanouye, Alice. I think that was it. So they came to work for us.

MN: Now you said Bill Hosokawa was just leaving, but what kind of editor was he? Was he pretty strict?

JK: Oh, yeah. Well, I don't think he's, he deserved so much pressure. He was very nice gentleman, and we worked mostly with his managing editor, Haruo... now I can't remember the names.

MN: I want to say Ioka, no? Is it Haruo Ioka?

JK: No.

MN: I know who you're talking about. Anyways, what was your beat on the Sentinel?

JK: Well, main, our origin was sports.

MN: So what... you mentioned that softball was really popular. Is that what you covered a lot?

JK: Oh, yes, covered basketball. Basketball, now that the high school had started, busy with the outside teams.

MN: Did you say they played with the outside teams?

JK: Yes. Of course, at first, our boys didn't have much of a chance, because, well, for basketball, you need height. At first they took a beating, but in football and baseball, well, our teams did pretty well.

MN: I would think football they would be a little smaller, too.

JK: Smaller but faster.

MN: So did the outside schools come into camp or was --

JK: Yeah. First, they're afraid, I mean, public didn't want the high school to be in with a bunch of crazy Japanese. [Laughs] So it became back and forth, yes. So they had very good relationships with not only statewide, but some of the other cities. So, like build up good public relations.

MN: So when the camp team went out, were you able to go with them?

JK: No, I was long gone with the army.

MN: So let's stay here when you're still with the Sentinel. How often was the Sentinel published?

JK: Once a week.

MN: How did the staff get the paper out?

JK: Okay. We wrote the copies and edited... well, we went out Friday nights, we had a supervisor who had a car and he would take us to the small town of Cody. And we had a Japanese Nisei from the camp working with the printer, at the print, at the shop with a printer. And so he would have it printed at the print shop, and Friday night we'd go out to eat, come back, and all printed, take it back to the town, camp, and get it mailed. So we had a nice system. Yeah, it was a pretty nice setup, they had set up.

MN: So where did you go eat in Cody?

JK: I forgotten the name, but I ordered a roast turkey dinner all the time.

MN: Did the townspeople of Cody ever give you any problems?

JK: No, I guess by that time, the print shop there probably immune to all the sass, bad talk. Because I really didn't hear very much. And because the Caucasian person was such a nice guy.

MN: The Caucasian person who was the supervisor from Heart Mountain?

JK: Yes.

MN: And how long did it take for the print shop to print the Sentinel?

JK: Well, I'd say a few hours.

MN: So did you spend all those few hours at the restaurant?

JK: No. We ate, we went to a movie, and if you see a couple movies every night for a few hours... but it was fun because we had friends. Yeah, we had a small group of people.

MN: How many from the Sentinel staff went out to Cody every Friday?

JK: Three or four. Of course, everyone had shopping lists. So we all had shopping lists from everybody and his brother.

MN: Now, you're the sports guy for the Sentinel, you were the sports writer. Did you yourself get involved in any sports teams at Heart Mountain?

JK: I did earlier because when they first started, they needed teams. So we were playing on the Has Beens, old, old men. [Laughs]

MN: And this was at Manzanar?

JK: No, Heart Mountain, too.

MN: Oh, in Heart Mountain you also had the Has Beens?

JK: Yes.

MN: Now when did your wife Masa have your first baby?

JK: Gee, April 16th.

MN: What year was this?

JK: '44, '43. I keep forgetting my son's...

MN: Okay. Probably '43 I would think, because I think you went into the army soon after.

JK: Yeah.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.