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-05-0028

<Begin Segment 28>

TI: So it goes through the Pacific Northwest Chapter, March, 1974. The summer of '74 is when the National JACL gets back together. What was the response at that level?

HM: You mean at the convention?

TI: Right, the convention.

HM: Well, I didn't attend the convention and we weren't, the redress committee wasn't appraised of the convention, so that went like normal convention does with all the resolutions and junk. And again Edison Uno, I didn't realize it at that time, but Edison Uno presented a resolution for reparations for Japanese Americans. And it passed again. It passed in 1970, '72 and '74. But we weren't appraised of that meeting and so we were left in the dark. And I think that part of it was done on purpose because they thought we were kind of a controversial area.

TI: And who's -- when you say it was done on purpose, who was sort of, do you think, making those decisions?

HM: Well, because they had the delegates already appointed for that national convention. They have two delegates from each --

TI: So this was at the district level you thought they were doing this, or the...

HM: Well, both the district and the even the --

TI: ...chapter level.

HM: Chapter. Yeah.. 'Cause Min was, Min Masuda felt that we weren't ready to be exposed to national level. And he felt there should be more considerations made before we made this kind of presentation. But Sam Shoji didn't feel that way. So he wrote a letter to the national board, national president and said hey, this is what we'd like to do --

TI: And this was towards the end of '74, September of '74 that Sam wrote this letter?

HM: Yeah. And then in November they had us on the calendar for ninety minutes.

TI: And this was the National JACL board...

HM: Yeah.

TI: ...meeting. Okay, so let's talk about that. What happened then?

HM: Well, there was a couple of things that happened that really made me kinda feel funny. Well, first of all the board meeting was being held at the Miyako Hotel in San Francisco. And most of the people that were attending the meeting were being housed at the Miyako Hotel or the Miyako Inn, one or the other. And when they made my reservation for me, they put me in a hotel that was thirteen blocks away from Miyako Hotel. And in fact, when I got to the hotel, I couldn't believe the place they had reserved for me. It really was a flea bag to say the least. In fact, I did find some cockroaches and things when I first registered there.

TI: And who made these reservations for you?

HM: The people that -- this was by the national office, San Francisco office. So anyway I got to this place and so I asked him, "Where is this Miyako Hotel?" And the guy says, "Well, over this next hill. And you can't miss it once you get over the top of the hill." It was thirteen blocks. [Laughs] So I was carrying this pitch material, and it was raining that day, and I thought, oh, this is symbolic, maybe. This is the kind of reception I'm gonna get. It was. It was very symbolic. When I got there the guy says to me, Sugiyama says, "Well we got a really crowded schedule. We can only give you at most an hour." And then by the time they got the thing squeezed down tight, they said, "Well, we got thirty minutes for you." Well actually they gave me twenty minutes and then some question and answer time. And I was ready for the ninety minute presentation. I was considering sixty minutes plus for the presentation and thirty minutes for the question and answers. That was what I was prepared for. Because this was our normal pitch to the churches and to do it justice for explanation of the whole thing.

TI: And they had originally scheduled you for those ninety minutes --

HM Ninety minutes, yeah.

TI: And then they --

HM: And then they cut it down to an hour --

TI: And you had explained to them beforehand that you needed those ninety minutes to do the full --

HM: Yeah, yeah. because we have to explain the rationale of the thing.

TI: Okay.

HM Because it's important that we define what the objectives are and why we're doing this. And they had agreed to it. And so they gave me twenty minutes. And by that time of the day these guys are, oh, like that you know, and they were so disinterested in the subject that it was like talking to a bunch of guys half-asleep. I had better response from the junior high school kids than these guys who were present.

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.