Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Henry Miyatake Interview I
Narrator: Henry Miyatake
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: March 26, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-mhenry-01-0018

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TI: Let's go back to the Polish Jew. And now after the war was over and these things were happening and your conversations with him, what, do you recall anything that he said during this period or what his thoughts were?

HM: Well, I guess that he was more concerned that something was going to happen to us than I was. [Laughs]

TI: To the American citizens, the Japanese Americans?

HM: Yeah, because Mr. Sears, the principal of Washington Junior High School, had been in Japan in 1939, I believe. In fact, there was a ruckus about him being, going over to Japan because some of his expenses were paid by some organization that was supposed to be... not held in the best esteem by some people in the United States. Nonetheless, he was familiar with Japan. Akira Koda was responsible for raising (the school) flag in the morning and taking it down before he went home from school. And Akira got tired of doing it on an exclusive basis and he talked me into sharing the responsibility with him.

So anyway, first time I had a chance to talk to Sears at length was the fact that Akira's trying to convince the principal that I should be partly responsible for taking the flag down because Akira had all kinds of funny after school activities and sometimes his social requirements were more a priority than taking the flag down. So anyway, that's the first time I had a chance to talk to Sears. We talked about his trip to Japan and things of this nature and I was interested because the reporter had talked about different things, and I was trying to communicate with him. So I got to know Mr. Sears quite well.

He had a big assembly for all Japanese Americans and this was about in February. And he said one of his concerns was the fact that he didn't want any harm to come to us, and to report any physical activities against us. And to, if we were... encountered anyone going to and from school that we were supposed to report to him. He was going to take an active interest in making sure that we were physically not getting any problem. They had invoked a curfew by that time and he was aware that we had to be home by such-and-such time and so forth and we couldn't be out during certain hours. So he says, "All you people that have early class activities" -- some of them started real early and that meant that the kids would be out before the curfew function in the morning -- so he says, "Because you're involved and the curfew is now a requirement, if you have any of these activities tell your instructors and so forth, in order to get the whole thing rectified on a timetable basis." He said, "No matter what happens we'll have all your records and you'll be able to continue your education." So he was kind of foretelling the future but we weren't recognizing it. It was bouncing off all our ears.

TI: This was February so this was before any official announcement of any...

HM: Yeah, right after that then Roosevelt had this EO 9066.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.