Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Frank Miyamoto Interview II
Narrator: Frank Miyamoto
Interviewer: Stephen Fugita
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: March 18, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-mfrank-02-0016

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SF: What did these Nisei organizations do to try to combat the discrimination and acts of hostility?

FM: Well...

SF: Or could they do anything, I mean?

FM: There was not much that they could do. They might have perhaps, but the know how was simply not there. And the basis for doing something was not there. Today, of course, you've got Japanese Americans who are in the Congress, who are in important positions throughout the country within the larger society. That was, of course, not at all the case back in 1930. And here in Seattle, for example, Jimmy Sakamoto, who starts his newspaper in 1928 is already a blind man and so that's a handicap for him. But what he could do was try to find or urge, American politicians or American business people to support the Japanese and even try to persuade them in one way or the other. And there was a lawyer named Clarence Arai, whose, got into the public zone realm in some degree became appointed to the Board of Directors of the Seattle Public Library. Things like this. And the aim was to build up a base on which you could begin to exert some influence up on the larger society. But the success of the organization or success of Nisei leaders in achieving this kind of thing was extremely limited and the best they could do was in a sense to look for what you might call "white angels." In fact, there is a terminology of that kind. People who would take an interest in the Japanese Americans and help them. People of some influence and then, thereby reduce the discriminatory activity against them. So, I think, if you ask what degree of success did they have, it was minimal and it was mainly directed towards finding these "white angels" in the larger society. People who were friendly to Japanese Americans. Sometimes friendly because they had American business interests with Japan, but anyway, seeking out these people who would potentially help the Japanese Americans. And that was about the extent of the activity that was going on.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.