Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Tokio Yamane Interview
Narrator: Tokio Yamane
Interviewers: Sachiko Takita-Ishii, Yoko Murakawa, Noriko Kawakami
Location: Japan
Date: May 23, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-ytokio-01-0012

<Begin Segment 12>

[Translated from Japanese]

I1: Were you sent to Santa Fe in December?

TY: I think it was on December 27th. December 27th to the enemy alien camp.

I1: The Department of Justice detention facilities were exclusively for aliens. The denationalization bill was created to revoke citizenship. The Department was not able to take U.S. citizens to the facility until the citizenship is renounced.

TY: There must have been some work done by the government behind the scenes. They sent us with U.S. citizenship to the enemy alien camp.

I1: I am assuming that you submitted some kind of document to express your intention to renounce your citizenship, probably one or two months after being released from the stockade. You didn't consider it as the formal application or were not aware that the new bill was enacted. It was simply to declare your intention for renunciation.

TY: Correct.

I1: That document was somehow approved without your knowledge, and you became an enemy alien. You were sent to Santa Fe without a hearing. That was perfect.

TY: I was asked once again if I would renounce my citizenship at Santa Fe.

I1: That was at the end.

TY: At the end.

I1: It was right before you went back to Japan. They were supposed to have another hearing.

TY: They asked me if I was certain I would go back to Japan. I answered yes. They asked me if I was truly going to renounce my U.S. citizenship. I answered yes. They told me to sign a paper. That was the first time that I signed a form for the Department of Justice.

I1: That is an issue. They did hold a hearing for renunciation, but it was, I think, in January of 1945. You already had been sent to Santa Fe before that without confirming your intention with you.

TY: Right.

I1: You just submitted a paper. That's amazing.

I2: The document was created by somebody in the youth group. You were told that there wasn't a law to allow renunciation when you brought it to the WRA office. You were not sure if that document was considered an application form.

TY: I don't know if the document has ever reached the Department of Justice.

I1: The hearing was to confirm that your application was submitted under your free will, but it never was held.

TY: It was right before I was about to go back to Japan. I had an individual official meeting with a Department of Justice officer. I was the first person to be called.

I1: At the end?

I2: At Santa Fe?

TY: At Santa Fe. DOJ officers came, and we were wondering why they were there. I said, "I will go see them because they want to talk to me." They asked me, "Do you intend to go back to Japan?" I said, "Yes, I would like to go back." They asked, "The record shows that you expressed your intention to renounce your U.S. citizenship. Is that correct?" I answered, "Yes. That's correct."

I2: Was it after the war ended?

TY: It was after the war. It was October, right before I went back to Japan. I signed the paper and was about to leave the room, I was held back. "Please sit down." They said, "If you change your mind before you leave for Japan, let us know immediately." I asked them how to tell them. They told me to raise my hand like this but not to my young friends. They told me to be sure to make my hand visible to the MPs or Department of Justice officers, as it was a facility run by the department. Let the officers know. It could be after you get on a train. You could also let the soldiers know. It could be even just before you step onto the ship at the port. Let us know if you change your mind. They told us over and over again until the end.

I1: It was in October, but I don't see anything reported on the hearing. Why wasn't any report on the hearing? Who conducted the hearing?

I2: Did you see anybody who raised his hand?

TY: No.

I2: Nobody?

TY: I didn't see anybody but I heard that some people changed their mind about going back to Japan or renouncing their U.S. citizenship after talking to the DOJ officers. Some people still had their parents in Tule Lake and didn't want to make their final decision until they talked to their parents.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright (c) 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.