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-01-0017

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[Translated from Japanese]

I2: Can we talk about leaving the stockade now?

I1: Yes.

I2: You left the stockade and formed a youth group.

TY: Kai and Kuratomi's groups had power and control with strong leadership at Tule Lake until we left the stockade.

I1: Until leaving the stockade or entering the stockade?

TY: I meant until the incident. Groups of those who were loyal to the Japanese government come to the camp from all over. Kai group had total control over everything like meetings and so on. Kinzo Wakayama was competing against them. They were from Wakayama prefecture and had young members. There weren't any serious head-on fights with each other. Then, the incident happened. The ones viewed as potentially dangerous were sent to the stockade and confined. The last eleven of us went on a hunger strike and were released unconditionally. We found the camp climate completely different when we returned after we were released. New leadership was established to take over the Kai group while we were gone.

I1: Wakayama and his people?

TY: What was that?

I1: Wakayama and his people?

TY: No. Not them, but a group of Issei who were demanding immediate repatriation to Japan. Young people were also forming a group in an attempt to go back to Japan.

I1: You mean Sokuji Kikoku Hoshidan and Sokoku Kenkyuu Seinendan?

TY: We were released and went back in the midst of the power shift. We were asked to attend one of these youth meetings. Which one was that? I think it was in the 27 mess hall. I was invited to attend a meeting. They told me they were forming a group and naming it Sokoku Kenkyuu Seinendan. Their goal was to prepare young people for going back to Japan and immediately getting to work for the country. They discussed the needs for educating Nisei who didn't know anything about Japan. They need to learn the Japanese language, customs and other things. I agreed with them and encouraged them to go forward. They asked me, "Do you have any objection to the formation of Sokoku Kenkyuu Seinendan?" I answered, "No objection, I agree with you." They asked me to join them.

I1: So, other people proposed to form the group, but it wasn't officially established until you and others came back from the stockade.

TY: We discussed forming a preparatory committee and who should be the chairman. We decided to appoint Isamu Uchida from Kumamoto in Kyushu. He held the forth dan in judo. Yoshinaga was appointed as the vice chairman. I forgot who the relation officer was. Tamura became an inmate director. I was asked to be the athletic director. And Yoshiyama from Osaka. He betrayed us later on. He was the relation officer.

I2: What do you mean he betrayed?

TY: Yes. He was doing fine at the beginning. But as he discussed and negotiated matters with the administration, he shared everything with them, even things that should not be shared.

I2: Shared with the administration?

TY: Right. There was a problem like that. Anyway, I asked what should be the main purpose of the youth group as we began acting as a group. We agreed that the main purpose should be educating the youth to be valued citizens in Japan.

I2: Who came to you to talk about the group?

TY: I wondered who it was. I think it was someone whom I met in the stockade. Someone who had left the stockade before I did.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright (c) 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.