Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Frank Miyamoto Interview III
Narrator: Frank Miyamoto
Interviewer: Stephen Fugita
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: April 29, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-mfrank-03-0010

<Begin Segment 10>

SF: Would you characterize the relationships among the Japanese Americans at that time as becoming more cohesive because of the stress, or was the stress such that it made relationships more tense and difficult?

FM: I think it did make things, relationships more cohesive. But there was very little opportunity for organized response to what was happening. There simply was not time enough to think about how to organize in response to this situation, and therefore, essentially what you had were people responding as family units. And people who were close to each other as friends who would respond as small groups of friends. Rather than that there would be a large scale organized response to the kinds of problems which were developing. The JACL came into the picture fairly prominently at this time because they became then the intermediary between the Japanese community and the government. Or put it the other way, the government chose the JACL to be the intermediary, and therefore JACL was looked upon as the source of information and advice as to just exactly how to deal with some of the problems that were developing. But on the whole, people were responding individually, or family-wise, rather than on an organized basis.


SF: Frank, you were mentioning that the JACL was sort of selected by the Government to "represent the community." How did community people feel about the role that JACL played during this period, getting ready to be evacuated?

FM: I know that in places like San Francisco, for example, there was a stronger anti-JACL feeling that was developed, groups of people who had stronger anti-JACL feelings. Here in Seattle I don't know that there was that kind of a group feeling. But on the whole, a lot of people felt that JACL was simply kowtowing to the authorities, and responding as collaborators often are depicted as responding. And therefore, there was not a lot of strong, favorable feeling towards the JACL through this period. The JACL leaders, insofar as they were representing the federal government and the military in carrying out the evacuation orders, necessarily took on authoritarian character about them. And people in the community responded antagonistically to that, or unfavorably to that. On the other hand, the JACL was the only organized group that could organize the affairs of the community in any fashion. The Issei community organizations had been totally shut down, so -- and the JACL was the only Japanese American organization that existed. So there was kind of an ambivalent feeling, I would say, towards the JACL under these circumstances. People were grateful to have them running things in some sense, but also critical and unfavorably disposed to them, insofar as they were representing military and governmental orders.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.