Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Henry Miyatake Interview V
Narrator: Henry Miyatake
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: October 14, 1999
Densho ID: denshovh-mhenry-05-0011

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HM: And the beginning of the year, 1973, Robert's class, my son's class, in the Ringdall junior high school, the teacher sent the textbook back with Robert with a note on it. And there were two paragraphs about the evacuation of Japanese Americans during World War II. And this was a American history class that Robert was in. And Robert came to me and says, "Are these two paragraphs accurate?" And he had heard me talk about evacuation. And I read the thing and I wasn't very happy with the way it was described. What I did was I wrote a note to the teacher saying, maybe you could take a look at some of these other publications that's available, and I sent it back with him. And then she gives me feedback, and she asked if she can converse with me on the telephone. So I said, "Okay, here's my Boeing phone number, you can catch me during working hours." So she had a whole bunch of -- she asked for fifteen minutes, so I said fine, go ahead. When I ended up I think about two hours of conversation on the phone. And she finally induced me to come to the class. Well, during that Christmas vacation, the previous one, I had started some notes on what is the most important parts of the evacuation process, what was our losses. And in that interim period Chuck Kato had started this cultural center activity. He was trying to get money from the Economic Development Agency relative to supporting the Japanese commerce organizations that were in the Seattle area, to have a bridge between the Japanese community locally, and the Shosha people. And his proposal was that we make a central cultural center that would have the dojo --

TI: Henry, I want to get into this, but why don't you finish up sort of the Christmas vacation '73 and what you were focusing on? And then we can go into --

HM: Okay.

TI: Or '72 --

HM: Seventy-two, yeah, Okay. Well, I thought I'd better write some of these things down relative to the study I was engaged in. Because I was running through so much information that I was unable to capture it in a sufficiently lucid form for somebody else to read and understand. So I took the history of what happened prior to World War II as a baseline. And because I was biased due to the CIC information, the Central Records Facility, I had other feelings other than the historical data. And so I tried to put this down in a logical format. And when the teacher, Robert's teacher asked me to provide the information, I was using that format of information. So these things started to come together. And then the thing that came to my mind was, well, if I can make these junior high school students understand the issue, this would be a good springboard to have an analysis of what these kids are feeling. And at that age they're pretty responsive, and they're intelligent enough to understand these issues, and they've studied them during the normal course of their American history studies.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.