Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Kanji Sahara Interview
Narrator: Kanji Sahara
Interviewer: Brian Niiya
Location: Torrance, California
Date: October 5, 2018
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-448-21

[Correct spelling of certain names, words and terms used in this interview have not been verified.]

<Begin Segment 21>

BN: So was the Tuna Canyon story and the stuff you're doing at JANM, why do you feel this is important?

KS: JANM, right now I've been doing the tour guide for about five years, but also trying to tell the people at JANM that they should digitize their collection. They got ninety thousand objects in the back rooms in the collections department, and what good is that object if people can't see it? So if they could digitize all the diaries that they have, I don't know how many hundred diaries they have, how many thousand letters they got, and if they could digitize those and put them on the internet so that people could read at home in L.A. or Boston or Tokyo, it'd be much better than just having them locked up in that collections room. So I'm trying to talk them into that. So that'd be a big job if they do that. I think if you could digitize five thousand of those ninety thousand, that's a big, big step. Now, I noticed that, like you were saying that the Cal State Dominguez Hills wants people to come donate articles or objects to their collection, but I think JANM started twenty, thirty years ago, so they got, quote, the "good stuff" already, so that they should just digitize it and show it.

BN: Why is it so important to you to do this? To devote so much of your time to this?

KS: Oh, I think, I think the collection is the most valuable thing that JANM has. Now, JANM has a nice, the main hallway, the Aratani Hall that the people could use, and they have Common Grounds. But Common Grounds, I think, every week, maybe a hundred people come to see it or something. But if they have their stuff digitized, people could see their stuff from their home. And I think all the other libraries like Bancroft and all that say, hey, what's the use of having the manuscript down in the basement when it should be out there for the people to see? And I think these letters, they're not by famous people, but by reading these letters and by reading these diaries, you could see how the Japanese people felt during the war years and also before. And another thing is that JANM has Rafu Shimpo, but I think Rafu Shimpo is, and Kashu Mainichi mainly in Japanese. If that could be somehow, a reader could translate that into English, then a regular guy could see what the Japanese were reading in 1930.

BN: That would be a very big job.

KS: Yeah, but that'd be a start. But I think JANM, if they digitize their collection, they'll be way up there. I don't know, is the Smithsonian doing something like that?

BN: Uh-huh. That's about all that I have. Is there anything else you'd like to add that you'd like to, how would you like to be remembered?

KS: Oh, right now, I'm trying to organize rallies. So then I have a group called Save Our Nation, and then about two months ago we had a rally out there in Hawthorne Boulevard and Artesia, and that time it was... I already forgot what it was, but we had about four hundred fifty people come. And then about a month ago, we had a rally out there, it was to stop Cavanaugh, and we had about a hundred and twenty-five people come. Oh, yeah, the first rally we had was, remember when everybody found out about the family, the immigrants, how the family was separated? That time, I think in Los Angeles they had about fifty or seventy thousand people show up by the city hall. So we had our share, so we had our rally at the same day. So I did that through Move On. So if you put up your rally information on Move On, then a lot of people see it and they come. So we had a lot of good chanting, so had to figure out good chants for people to say. So that's a lot of it.

BN: You're keeping busy. Thank you very much.

KS: Oh, you're welcome.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2018 Densho. All Rights Reserved.