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

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: Okay, today is October 14, 1999, this is the fifth interview with Henry. This is a Thursday morning at nine o'clock at the offices of Densho. And Henry, last time we spoke, where we ended up was, we were talking about the time you were spending at the University of Washington, doing research at the, I believe the law library, one of the libraries, and you had gotten access to the -- a lot of the databases through Tony Hoare, who allowed you to use their business account. And this was during the time when your son was doing gymnastics at the UW so you'd spend a lot of time there. But now you have lots of information, or lots of new information. And so I guess the question I have for you right now is, what were your thoughts right now? What were you thinking now that you had this information?

HM: Well, this study process went on for about four years in total time period. It started off -- one of the key points was this book by tenBroek. It was the final book of the University of California series on the evacuation process. And it was a kind of a summation of the legal and the constitutionality of what happened to Japanese Americans. And that book came out, I think 1968 is when that first edition came out. So usually after their gymnastics session at the U of W Robert and I used to go up to the University of Washington bookstore and we used to look at all the new books coming out, and look at gymnastics books because at that time gymnastics was kind of in a popular fad period. And especially in the Seattle area because Dr. Eric Hughes, who was the head coach for gymnastics, had recruited some people from Japan and they were on the U of W gymnastics team.

TI: And what year, we're talking about 1970?

HM: Yeah, late '60s and early '70s.

TI: Okay.

HM: And so, anyway, during this time period well -- the reason why Robert was in that program was because Eric Hughes wanted to make the Seattle area a high-skilled gymnastics area. And in order to do that -- gymnastics requires a long training period. So you have to start with kids that are not even ten years old and get 'em into tumbling and various stretching capabilities and muscular activities. So, this was a youth program on Saturday mornings. So, Robert and his group, all his same age -- and this included lot of people that were quite active in sports, like Frank Ahern, he was the coach at Asa Mercer Middle School, and he became the coach at Garfield High School. And he groomed a whole bunch of kids in that Beacon Hill area to become real potent basketball players. In fact, three of his protegees went to the national basketball league, professional basketball.

TI: This was Carl Ervin --

HM: Yes.

TI: John Oldham --

HM: Yes, yes. Those three.

TI: And Woods.

HM: Yeah, Woods, yeah. Anyway, Frank had a kid that was just about Robert's age. He was one year younger than Robert. And he looked like a very scrawny kid, but the guy was very good in tumbling and floor exercises. But his arms weren't well developed so he had problems with pommel horse, and that's where Robert was good at. So they were kind of a interesting combination when you watched them because on the floor exercises Robert wasn't as skilled as Ahern's child, but he was able to perform in the other exercises for the all-around.

TI: Well, during this period, how old was Robert -- when taking these courses? 'Cause this --

HM: He was about -- when he started he was about eight years old. And by the time he got through with his program, they were in their junior high school time period.

TI: And was he being groomed to be a top level gymnast? I mean, how good was Robert as a gymnast?

HM: Well, these kids were the cream of the Seattle area. And in fact Benji Green, who later became a dentist, he opted for dental school rather than going out for gymnastics. But, these were kids that were picked from their various areas. And we represented the east side of the Puget Sound area. And Benji was from the, he was, I guess, Kirkland area. And Ahern's son was from the Beacon Hill area, that's where he was residing at that time.

TI: Now out of curiosity, how would they compare nationally with other programs?

HM: Well, when they got to be freshmen in high school, they were competing in the state level. So first year Robert competed he came in seventeenth in the state for all-arounds. But I expected him to be in that general placement, but unfortunately some of the programs that were being carried out in the high school area didn't have the support of the, financial support of the school athletic system. And because gymnastics came down way, probably about eighth in priority, if you look at it in terms of football, baseball, basketball, and that realm. So they didn't get too much financial support. So consequently Hughes' program was all-important, because Hughes wanted to groom these kids through elementary school, middle school, high school, and then he wanted to pick the cream of the crop of those kids to put in his own gymnastics program.

TI: And you say Robert was seventeenth in state, that was competing --

HM: That was first year --

TI: That was competing against seniors, juniors...

HM: Yeah, everybody.

TI ...sophomores.

HM: The total state activity.

TI: Got it.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

HM: Anyway, the problem was, with Dr. Hughes' program was that everybody from the West Coast, the PAC eight conference knew what Hughes was doing with these kids. So the coach from Stanford took a liking to Robert. And they used to have tri-meets at the UW where three of the PAC eight conference schools used to compete on the varsity level for University of Washington. And during that time they used to have the intermission periods, and they would run these young kids that were in Robert's age group in various gymnastic patterns to demonstrate what the young youth could do. And some of these kids were very good in their performance. And anyway, this coach from Stanford came up to me and said, "What would you think of having your son enroll at Stanford?" [Laughs] It was a kind of an interesting situation at that time.

TI: You must have been very proud of him, in terms of his ability in gymnastics.

HM: Well, he was everything I would have liked to be had I had that opportunity to go into gymnastics. He would be doing things like one-arm push ups, and he would do thirty of 'em on the left and right hand side in consecutive order. And then another crazy stunt he used to do was, he used to go upside down on his hands and walk across the basketball court, and then come back again. And he was doing all kinds of crazy stunts like that. But he was a good performer.

TI: So the Stanford coach, was he suggesting that Robert could get a scholarship to Stanford?

HM: Yeah, well, in fact that was what was offered right before Robert had this unfortunate passing at the Overlake Hospital. But he was a Nihonjin guy, by the way. Miyagawa was the guy's name and he took a liking to Asians and he wanted to make his Stanford gymnastics team number one in the country. And so, on Saturdays I used to go drop off Robert, and I knew they had lot of good coach material like Frank Ahern, and he would show Robert what he was doing wrong in some of the events. And he was kind of like an ad hoc assistant to Eric Hughes. And Hughes used to like Ahern to make comments because Ahern had done a lot of work in things like stretching exercises to eliminate injuries. And he was assistant coach at WSU for the football team. And during the time Frank instituted this stretching program for the football players, they did not have one single serious injury during that year. And so he was very emphatic about kids stretching and doing their warm up exercises properly before they started doing any of their stunts and events.

TI: And so there were books and things about this? Or when you mentioned Ahern, because I know Frank Ahern too, because I grew up on Beacon Hill and through football, track, cross country, he did a lot for the --

HM: He did for all the Beacon Hill area --

TI: For the community...

HM: And for the south end of Seattle. He did a lot.

TI: And he was -- I was there at the point where I think he was actually retired. He was -- this was in the '70s...

HM: Yeah.

TI: And the later, yeah, mid '70s and he was, yeah, it was almost like he was retired, but he was still coaching at Franklin High School and other places.

HM: And he was taking on even family situations where these kids, especially the black kids living on single parent families, they weren't getting the proper nutrition and stuff, so he would have them live at his place. I mean -- Frank was an extraordinary individual.

TI: Yeah, he really was. But --

HM: And the more I got to know him, the more I thought, "This is the kind of people we need in the community." But he would take extreme interest in kids, in trying to help them and so this, I felt, I was out of my realm, because here's Frank and some of these other coaches that would bring their own kids into the Hughes program.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

TI: Right. Henry, I'm gonna bring us back to the -- it would be fun to talk about Frank and the program but let's get back to the research and the information that you got at the library now that you'd been there, and your thinking at this point.

HM: Well, the more I looked into this -- the records at the law library indicated to me that there were a lot of things that were done to us as a ethnic group that I don't think had enough publicity. For one thing, the fact that the government, in July of 1941, instituted the Enemy Trading Act, which by executive order placed us in the realm of being enemies of the United States. And this was a law that they passed in 1917, the first version, and they passed another version in 1918. And this was relative to the German economic situation between Germany and the U.S. And we weren't in a state of war at the initial time period when they thought about this Enemy Trading Act, but it was a method of stopping all commercial trade between the U.S. and Germany in essence. And the same law was still in force, and it was instituted against us in July of '41. And this is what caused the commerce between U.S. and Japan to terminate altogether in that time period. So all the banks that were doing business with Japan, they were closed down like Yokohama Species Bank and the Sumitomo Bank in Seattle. And --

TI: And so as you came across this information, what did that make you feel? I mean how did you feel, or what were you thinking as you came across this information?

HM: Well, it brought back all the things that transpired during that time period, and I remember that reported it. We used -- used to be at our house, and so I thought gee, all these things are starting to come into play here. We were designated as enemies before even the war started. To me, that was the declaration of war when you do that, when you say -- you take a class of people and say we're -- those guys are now enemies and we're now gonna institute the Enemy Trading Act against these individuals. Well, that's like a declaration of war. So all these different thoughts start coming back to me and I thought well, the government was knowingly doing this. And of course when I was in the Counterintelligence Corps, all this was very evident and -- but the information now started to become correlated. And the further I went with the stuff, the more I got interested in what methods or approaches we could take to circumvent the kind of actions that they took against us. And during this time period Mike Nakata... well when we were on the SST program, we were the two Asians in that specialist team for structures, for SST program. And he was as outspoken as I was in some of our positions that we took. And Mike would keep telling me, "Well, you keep talking about this stuff, but what the hell are you gonna do about it?" And this was his position. He says --

TI: So when you say, "talking about that stuff," you mean about the internment and the information that you were getting?

HM: Yeah, about like Enemy Trading Act situation and other, well...

TI: So you would discuss and share this with Mike and talk about it?

HM: Yeah. Mike was, Mike's family was totally involved with the Enemy Trading Act when they shut down the commerce between U.S. and Japan. Mike's father's business, which was a timber, lumber export to Japan, that was closed down altogether. So he couldn't do any of the business. So that was the culmination, or the termination of all the commercial activity, so things like that really was more devastating to his family than my own family. But he knew all this because he had firsthand experience with it. So his position was, "I keep hearing you tell me about these things." And he would say to me, "Well, what are you gonna do about it?" But a couple of our main positions were that Nikkei didn't provide an adversarial position on some of these things and we, everybody walked all over us, which was true. And he felt that unless we did something, we're not gonna be treated otherwise at the Boeing Company and in various other scientific and technological areas.

TI: So how did you react when Mike said, "What are you gonna go about it, Henry?"

HM: Well...

TI: You'd been doing all this research...

HM: I didn't know what to do. So I used to have discussions with Tony Hoare, and Tony would say well, you been doing some of your homework here. There is the legal method of approaching this thing, and there is also a legislative approach to the thing. And at that time he directed me to Professor Morris who was head of constitutional law at the University of Washington Law School.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

TI: Before we do that, I'm just curious. I mean, if it weren't for Mike Nakata, if Mike didn't ask that question, "What are you gonna do about it, Henry?" Do you think that made a difference? Do you think you would have perhaps not gone down this route?

HM: Well...

TI: How influential was Mike at this point?

HM: He was very influential because lot of the things that he initiated in my thought process were way in the back of my thought program, way in the back burner someplace. And I never even felt that we would even try to make an approach to contesting what happened to us during the evacuation process. So, he was a kind of a, one of these guys that keep the fire under your seat and make it so hot that you gonna have to do something one way or the other. And he was the initiator of the thing. He was a very strong philosophical influence on me.

TI: Now do you think Mike did this with everyone he came across, or did he see something special in you that thought something would actually happen? I mean what was the relationship like?

HM: Well, I don't know. He, at that time he was a very strong -- he's one of these guys that like to fight fire with fire. And when I did complain about the lack of inaction, or lack of action on the Nikkei part, he would say, "Well you're just like the rest of 'em. You guys are all talk and no action."

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

HM: But during this time period I got together with Tom Koizumi, who was a third level manager in the Boeing business operations area. And Tom used to say, "Well, we gotta get the Asian engineers together, and we gotta make a kind of a platform for us to convey our thoughts to the management." And I agreed with him. And we eventually formed this Asian Technical Employees Association, and we tried to band all the Nikkei together. And it ended up with a session with the head of Industrial Relations at Boeing, and he more or less told us if we don't stop the activity, he was going to have us terminated. Well, that's against all the federal labor laws. And in the course of about three weeks he had to reassemble us together in his office and he served us coffee in his silverware set, and he apologized because he knew that we could have taken action on him. That was in violation of federal labor laws. You can't threaten people to get terminated. So, this is the other avenue that we were taking. Tom was very into political activities. He was in the forty-seventh precinct. He was a precinct (committeeman). He knew all the political types, the congressional representatives in our local area, knew all the legislative aides for Magnuson and Henry Jackson and all this kind of stuff. So, we figured well, let's try to do something from a political standpoint and see how much support we can get from the political area. And one of the efforts that we instigated was the economic or employment opportunity program, EO programs. So Tom was able to access lot of the Boeing labor and employment summaries. And they used to submit to the federal government these employment surveys that all these large defense contractors that had government contracts had to supply to the government. And in that it showed that although Asians represented eleven percent of the engineering force, there was only about one point, at that time 1.4 percent in management. And they weren't in engineering basically, they were in other areas, like accounting and various other fields. And the distribution of income in terms of salary are relative to number of years in college training. We were getting less money than our equivalent peers in the engineering workforce. So Tom felt that this was a better avenue of approach rather than trying to go after some kind of post-World War II remedial legislation on evacuation.

TI: You mean approach being that making this information, or getting this information out so that Nisei engineers and others would be promoted to managerial positions? Is that the approach?

HM: Well for one thing to increase their salaries because we were, even though we had higher educational levels, just based on age brackets, we had higher educational achievements than the peer group and yet we were making six percent less salary. And these were fairly reliable numbers because we were using at that time somewhere in the neighborhood of about eight thousand engineers in that population.

TI: Okay, but going back to Tom's approach; so he was thinking, what happened sorta happened, let's not really try to fix that, but let's really address today --

HM: And the forward...

TI: And go forward --

HM: Future picture.

TI: And let's raise our pay, let's sort of fix those inequalities now, would be his focus.

HM: Yeah.

TI: Okay.

HM: But the more he got into this kind of activity, because he was getting these reports that were not available to the regular engineering workforce, he was warned by his boss that he better cut out some of this extracurricular stuff, because, "I know you're involved with some of these things," and when he was called in front of the Director of Industrial Relations, the report was given back to his boss, Tom's boss, that he was participating in this kind of function. So as it happened, he went on vacation for a couple of weeks and when he went back to work, his whole office area was gone. His whole staff was, had disappeared.

TI: And what reason was given to him?

HM: Well, they said that they were reorganizing his whole department, business management. [Laughs] And that was the writing on the wall for him. But he still pursued the activities.

TI: What, did the Nikkei engineers band around that and try to do something given that he was trying to organize the group, was this an incident that you got together and talked about or did something about?

HM: Well we made quite a few demands on the Industrial Relations Department. One was the fact that we were underrepresented in management, secondly, our salaries were less than the normal engineering population, and on top of that, we had more responsibilities that weren't honored. And we wanted a vice president, Asian vice president to be appointed or be promoted to that level in the engineering area. These were demands that we placed on the head of the Industrial Relations Department, and they didn't take that too kindly. They felt that we were completely out of line and their, the threat that they would fire these individuals that were active in these areas was one of the things that took place. Well, the fact that when he came back off of vacation and nobody was around anymore, his secretary was gone, his whole staff of people that he used to have -- 'cause he had quite a bit of responsibility at that time -- they all disappeared overnight. And this was the writing on the wall.

TI: Well, yeah. It seems like that's a pretty clear response from the management that here you placed these demands to the management and they essentially -- I mean he stuck his neck out and it essentially got chopped off.

HM: Yeah, yeah. Well in order to cope with that, we were trying to get the reports made available to the Asian Engineers Association. And we filed for some of these data summaries from the Department of Labor. And we went through a whole bunch of rigmarole -- they wouldn't respond to us. They said that we weren't a legitimate organization and all this kind of junk. And finally we go into the congressman and they were able to bend the Department of Labor files a little bit, and they said, "Well, we'll give you that information." The fact that Tom was using the Boeing management information system was not a legal means of getting the report for the Technical Employees Association. So consequently, they said, "Okay, you guys could have the reports of the Boeing Labor summary if you would identify what page numbers these things are in, and justify your request for the reproduction of the things." And we went through the entire process and the Department of Labor put these things all out of focus on the Xerox machine, and they sent us 400 pages of junk. You couldn't read any of it except maybe the title of the top page. And so all this stuff was useless. And these were different approaches that the Department of Labor were taking. So anyway, Tom decided we were going to file a complaint to the EEO office.

TI: About what year was this? What's the time period?

HM: This was about the same time period I was doing my junk at the U of W. And --

TI: So late '60s...

HM: And this was one of the --

TI: ...early '70s.

HM: Yeah.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

HM: So Mike's thing about what are you gonna do about it, well, I was getting together with Tom maybe twice a week and we used to go over some of these things. And we thought maybe we should sue the Boeing Company as a class action suit. The appointed EEO person in our local area was a African American woman, and she took a completely different approach to the whole structure of our complaint than we anticipated. She came back and we had a meeting with her. And she said to us that African Americans in the Seattle area by population is about -- at that time it was about two point six percent of the entire population under the Standard Metropolitan Area Statistics. And the fact that they had less than one percent of blacks in the engineering workforce represented a total imbalance of blacks. And, "You Asians represent a total of six percent of all ethnic groups in the Seattle area, and you guys now have eleven percent of the engineering workforce. You guys are five percent over your limit." And she was a quota person. And she liked to tell us quota numbers. So she said, "Well, we need to triple the black engineering workforce, and we need to cut you guys down to half." And that was her idea, and this quota thing was really strong in that time period. And so she took it upon herself to say to us, "If you guys don't want to get cut in half in the workforce, you better play ball with me because I'm the EEO person here. I'm the one that's gonna call the shots."

TI: I'm sorry, the EEO person was an internal Boeing person or --

HM: No, no, this was...

TI: This was a government --

HM: This was a federal government...

TI: Okay.

HM: And she was really into the quota numbers. And we didn't know what to think after she made that presentation. I thought man, this person is crazy. She's nuts. But on the other hand, because the Department of Labor was using some of these criteria as a method of determining the number of people in different fields, I figure well, Tom, what are you gonna do about it? I became like Mike Nakata to Tom Koizumi. During this time period I was into various activities at Boeing and I was called into a human resources meeting one day and they told me flat out that they've been monitoring some of my activities and they don't like what I'm doing. I'm not spending enough time on Boeing work, I'm spending a lot of time doing other things. And I was. I was working with the Seattle Professional Engineering Association, and I was trying to get the numbers through their system because they had all this data of all the engineering workforce, number of years in grade, number of years since college, number of years of college, and all this kind of stuff, standard salaries. And I was asking them to run compilations of non-Caucasian data for us. And at that time the guy that was the director of SPEEA worked with Nihonjins quite a few times, and he thought it was an interesting project so he ran a whole bunch of data for us. But because it was SPEEA data, this EEO person wouldn't recognize it. She would only recognize the part that said that black African Americans... all of us in Boeing were classifying in labor code numbers. And if we were Asians they put us in one category, if we're blacks, or like Hispanics, they put us in a different category. These were all classified and you had to break through their coding system in order to establish what these breakdowns were. So we had a whole run made specifically for our purposes, and he was able to get the information out for us. So we used that as a baseline for our conversation with the EEO person.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

TI: Now how did the other Nikkei engineers feel about the work that you and Tom were doing? Were they in support? Or was there... what were the others feeling at this point?

HM: They -- we were disappointed in the number of people that would support us because it was a very small minority of people.

TI: 'Cause you're talking about eleven percent of the engineers, which is a really large number. You're talking about --

HM: Yeah. About, close to a thousand people.

TI: Okay, so a thousand Japanese American...

HM: And Chinese Americans.

TI: So Asian American...

HM: Korean Americans --

TI: ...engineers, a thousand.

HM: Yeah.

TI: And of that group, a thousand, how many do you think were supporting what you and Tom were doing?

HM: Well our membership roll went up to about 160, but that's about all we got in the Boeing area. And we used to send out -- well I was doing a lot of funny things like the reproduction of memos that we sent out. We used to send them through the company mail which was really not authorized, but nonetheless, I had access to all the reproduction machines and all this kind of stuff, and we used to print out these notices to help our own efforts. And Tom would -- Tom and I would draft the letters and we'd get it, our secretaries used to type it up for us. And this was the kind of stuff that Boeing human resources people were really ticked off at us for. And at that time I had a Nisei, or I guess she's a Sansei secretary, and she was very interested in this area, so she would type up all the stuff for me, and we'd get it reproduced, and we used to send it through the Boeing mail and it didn't cost us anything.

TI: And you said you had 160 who joined --

HM: Yeah.

TI: And that group of 160, how supportive were they of your efforts to get this information?

HM: Well, when we started talking about taking action against the company, well the number dwindled all of a sudden down to about forty people I guess, something like that. And one of the major groups was Ken Nakano's group. And they were in the electrical wiring group.

TI: When you say major group, major group in joining the group to take action?

HM: Yeah.

TI: Okay.

HM: Yeah, because here you had like Fay Hong, you know the guy that runs Hong's Garden Restaurant, and he had the Hong's Restaurant down in the International District. Well he was a, he had a Masters Degree in electrical engineering and he was in the wiring group. I mean, this was a group that it was -- before it became computerized it was all detail work. You had to do wiring runs between different cables in the airplane and you had to be able to discern what connectors they went through and all this kind of stuff, and how you would distribute the wiring so that you wouldn't have one accident damage all the wiring processes for a given system. And it had to be a multiple type system. Anyway, this was the kind of labor force they had. And the Boeing human resources people felt that the only people that would take this kind of crap would be Asians. And they were; they were mostly Asians in that wiring group. And Ken Nakano happened to be one of them. Anyway, that's where I got to know Ken initially. And we saw the plight of that organization. Here they were over-trained, overeducated and they were given these menial jobs that were less than the company average salaries. And we thought this was a really interesting case that we could bring to bear on the company. And this was -- the data was prepared to meet this area's demand, and then this EEO woman tells us we gotta chop our workforce in half. She came back with a very strong letter, and it was a very demeaning letter, really. And I wanted to get her fired because she was not in compliance with the directives of the EEO. And so I told Tom, "Let's see if we can put some pressure on this woman and get her transferred."

TI: Now why would you go through this woman and not go directly to Boeing management to address these concerns?

HM: Well, we had done that.

TI: That's when Tom sorta lost his group.

HM: Yeah.

TI: So your sense was that if you went, if you kept pursuing that path you wouldn't get any response.

HM: Yeah, all of us would have been laid off or fired for one reason or the other. In my case --

TI: So your strategy was to get the federal government involved.

HM: In my case the meeting with the Human Resources Department was the warning like Tom had in terms of his disintegration of his group in the two-week vacation period. So they were applying pressure to us to eliminate this kind of threat. But I felt that we needed to get rid of this EEO person and have her transferred someplace else. Get her promoted someplace and move her out of the Seattle area, otherwise we'd have no possibility of enforcing this whole negotiation process with the company. So anyway, we were trying to get Henry Jackson to get her promoted so that she'd move out. [Laughs] But I was doing all these other activities, besides working for my salary.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

TI: And what was the outcome of this whole thing? I mean you got this information. Were these -- was it ever addressed? Did the Boeing management ever make changes while you were there?

HM: Yeah, Abe Goo became vice president (of engineering in the Aerospace Group).

TI: I'm sorry, who did?

HM: Abe Goo, Chinese American engineer. He's a good one. But after he got to his position of being VP, he turned his back on us. And he said, "Hey, I made it on my own power and on my own skills, and I want you guys to do the same thing." This was a complete change of events. And Tom used to play poker with him once a week, and I thought we had a good ally in our camp, but that wasn't the way it turned out. And one of the things that really bothered a lot of us was the fact that we had guys like Tom Yamaguchi, who was the head of the Lunar Orbiter Program. And I got to know Tom a little bit because I was in Lunar Orbiter Program -- that was the second job I had at Boeing. And he was a good technical person and he was made a director, but he was never made VP. And so all his work became accredited to the person that became VP of the Lunar Orbiter Program, but this was another instance of the Nikkei doing the work and somebody else getting the credit. So this is why Tom felt very strongly that we should insist that a Asian become a vice president. Well it happened that Abe Goo was in Defense Programs, Space and Defense Programs area and he was a fair boy of one of the top level directors of that organization, and they made Abe a vice president. And technically it was a good, a very good selection, but on the other hand he didn't help us with our cause.

TI: Well, the salaries? Did that ever get addressed while you were at Boeing?

HM: They made a commitment to us that they would adjust salaries to the extent that they can in terms of the merit situation, the merit pool. I never saw it because I -- once you get labeled as kind of the crazy activist that I was, they put you on the back burner. In fact if you didn't get any reprimands you would be fairly lucky. But that wasn't part of my interest area at that time. So I got into more trouble later on.

TI: Yeah, we're talking about -- this is close to thirty years ago.

HM: Yeah.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

TI: In the thirty-year period since then, how do you think Boeing did in addressing this issue? I mean at some point did they, did they address it, or do you think those inequalities still exist at Boeing?

HM: Okay, the people that I knew that got some major jumps in their salary, I think were directly affected by this situation.

TI: And when did this happen, do you think?

HM: Well, it took place... probably in about ten years' spread, time period, during that process that we were going through this exercise. And I think they realized that maybe there was some discrimination on the part of the supervisors for looking at Asians. Because they didn't speak out very much. They were very docile. I never heard of an engineer pounding the table to a human resources person. They had us under their control, basically.

TI: Well how does that make you feel? Because you said earlier that you were kind of labeled as this crazy activist who actually did, brought the attention to this issue. And then ten years later the engineers who perhaps weren't pounding the table and were more -- as you consider -- docile got the benefits of that activism?

HM: Well --

TI: How does that feel?

HM: I thought maybe we did some good. It might have not affected us directly, but it did our entire population of Asian engineers some good. And well, in Ken Nakano's case, I know he did very well after that. And he was a lead man in his Flight Deck Group, and so forth. Some of these things really did come to fruition.

TI: And you're comfortable with your role in doing that, even though you weren't directly -- you didn't directly benefit?

HM: Yeah, but my situation was kinda different because I wasn't in a fixed project group. So I was going from one preliminary design function to another one. And as soon as you finished -- these preliminary design groups aren't pools of merit. Your home organization is some staff organization or project organization, so no matter how well you did in these proposal and preliminary design groups, you never might see the merit consideration. So I was in a different situation. I was getting -- my home organization was just saying, "Oh hell, you needn't worry about him. He's gonna be around here. So what if he got a commendation letter. We'll just put 'em in his file, but we'll forget about 'em." So I was going from like a 757 program, 767 program, every program that they had, well we were being shifted. It's like a proposal effort. You're in the preliminary design, conceptual design, do analysis of the key costs of ownership, elements of the new airplane, what you can improve and all this kind of stuff. So we were always going from preliminary design, and once it got into a project mode then they would shift us to another one in a preliminary design group. So we were being shifted around, so I never really had a home organization that protected us. So we were in a different situation. All of us were pretty well qualified, but we didn't have enough attachment to our project organization to merit sufficient consideration for increase in salary or for status.

TI: But those Nikkei engineers or Asian American engineers who were in more of those fixed positions benefit the most from...

HM: Yeah, because they were key members of their organizations. And people that I know of, well, they used to -- well, one comment that was made to me when I opened up my paycheck one day was, "Is that all the salary you get?" he says to me. [Laughs] Well, he was making about twice as much as I was. And we were in the same class in school and we were approximately equal caliber, but I think some of our directions in the company were different. The person I was speaking of, he became the, one of these engineering representatives for the FAA when they certify an airplane. All the stuff that Boeing does goes through him before it goes to the FAA. So he acts as an intermediary. And he was in a very good position. He was a Designated Engineering Representative, DER, they used to call him.

TI: And yet he was a peer of yours. How did it make you feel? When he said --

HM: Well, he was in a fixed organization.

TI: Right. So that goes back to that issue you talked about earlier.

HM: Yeah, he went all the way up through the ranks. He started off as the low man in his organization and he became the top technical person in his organization. So when we used to have trouble, well, like an air conditioning system, well they would send this guy out to the airline. So he would be going out with the head of the engineering department, so I mean, they were well known to each other. Whereas guys like us in preliminary design, hell we never saw the VP's, even though the programs that we were directing had a lot of influence on the direction the company was gonna go. But they never saw us. For one thing it was difficult for them to address us because most of the guys in our group were very highly technically specialized individuals and they didn't want to show their ignorance. And this was part of the problem that we had. Because we were dealing with a very interesting model economically as well as technically in terms of what can we do for the next airplane to make it a salable item that could justify itself economically from a customer's standpoint, from a Boeing manufacturing standpoint and all this kind of stuff. So we had a lot of the sharpest guys around that would enable us to give us this picture.

TI: That's interesting. Because you would think that model -- you're right, I think a lot of times these early planning teams are your best and brightest, and the fact that it was such that they weren't compensated seems to be out of whack.

HM: Yeah, but this is the norm. Like in the wind tunnel test program, these guys were really sharp people, and yet we weren't recognized in terms of what happened. The project guys get the glory, and they say hey, we got this airplane out. Well, that was grinding the crank to us. But it's a different whole situation. But in terms of redress, when were working on redress, it was about the same way. I mean we were trying to innovate different ideas and trying to get people interested in the subject of redress, and it was a very difficult operation just to get the inertia going. To get people interested enough to make this an active program. So I guess going from a preliminary design area to a preliminary design for redress had some of the similar type of problems.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

HM: But in the case of -- going back to that time period, in the Christmas vacation in 1972, this was after Mike had left to go to General Dynamics in the Electric Boat Division where they were making those nuclear submarines. I made it -- during the Christmas vacation we have eight days off at Boeing. So I used to like to summarize what I did for the year and even force myself to write down what did I achieve during the last year.

TI: And how long had you been doing this? Was this something that you tried to do every year?

HM: Yeah, I did that for quite a few years.

TI: And so it's like a diary almost.

HM: Yeah, like for instance when -- I started this thing when I was down at Convair because I used to lose track of all the programs that we used to work on. And so just as a matter of summarizing what my accomplishments were. Now I used to also set what I would like to do for the next year. My objectives for the next year. It was a kind of self-examination process for myself. Anyway, 1972, that Christmas vacation I wrote down what I had learned on the research project that Tony Hoare had given me the financial support for. I kind of put down that I would like to put all the information that I had gathered during the last years into a form that would make it reasonably understandable to the general public on what the background of this whole process was. And whether we go to a legal phase or legislative phase, we needed that information put together in a kind of a common form.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

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.

<Begin Segment 12>

TI: Well, it's somewhat ironic, too, because the audience that you're addressing, the junior high school, that was the same age that you were...

HM: Yeah. Just about same age.

TI: ...when World War II... so it was just about the same age so it's ironic that you started with that age group.

HM: Yeah, and I thought -- I looked at myself, like you say, and I was able to perceive at that age, a lot of these things that relate to the Constitution of the United States. And I thought, well, the teacher is asking me to make this one-hour presentation. I'll assemble this stuff and I'll try to make it in a form that's understandable for junior high school kids. And I did make that presentation. I had second thoughts about whether I should do it or not, but she gathered three classes together. I didn't know this, but it was kind of going back to my deja vu functions with Gordon Hirabayashi, surviving three classes, the numbers are all the same. And these kids, they were all Caucasian except Robert. He was the only Asian kid in this whole class structure. So when I made the presentation, this kid pops up his hand and says, "What took you people so long?" [Laughs] Well here it's 1973 and here we were evacuated in 1945, well '42. So we're talking about a fairly long time span.

TI: So the comment from the student was what took you so long to come out and say something about this?

HM: Yeah.

TI: And what did you say?

HM: Well, I says, I told him it was kind of like a bad memory, or a bad dream and it kind of takes you a while to really figure out what really happened. But the response was very interesting. They felt very empathetic with my presentation. And the teacher was very surprised at the data I was presenting because here she was not even exposed to the evacuation process, had no knowledge of it. And she was from middle west. I forgot what region she was from, but she had no knowledge of the evacuation process. And so for her it was a very interesting exposure. And all these teachers, they kinda talk about the same subjects; if they're in American history, they tend to belong to the same area. So as it happened, one of her friends that taught in Newport High School got wind of the presentation and I got another phone call. And this was the teacher that had taught Kathryn, my oldest daughter, the year before. And so she said, "Hey, we're talking about contemporary problems in American history, so we want you to come down." I didn't want to do that, because high school kids are more rigorous in their approach. I said oh, gosh, I think junior high school kids maybe I can handle, but high school kids I better stay away from 'em.

TI: And so you declined? So you didn't do it?

HM: I declined initially, but she kept on pestering me and pestering me, and then Kathy came one evening and said that, "The teacher came to me and was asking about that material that you presented at Robert's class."


TI: Okay, so Henry, so Kathy wanted to -- came to you and talked to you about what you said in Robert's class. So what happened then?

HM: Well, I had gone to the open house at Newport High School the year before, and I remember that teacher, because what they do at the open house is you have to go to each one of the classes that your son or daughter is involved in. And so you have to hop around to each of these class activity functions and you have to meet the teacher, and the teacher usually gives you an appraisal of the student and what she might suggest, he or she might suggest to improve the student's capabilities. And I remember that teacher, she was quite an invigorated type of individual. And she was very persistent. And so I told Kathy, well this is something that I think might not be in the best interest of my being there.

TI: Again, because you were afraid that the high school students were going to be too rigorous?

HM: Yeah, because they were, maybe three years higher in education, and they would start looking at the Constitution in a different manner. And I thought well maybe I don't want to get myself involved in this thing.

TI: Because at this point you didn't feel as if you were, "expert" may not be the right word, but knowledgeable enough about the topic to describe, or convince or answer the questions of these high school students?

HM: Well, the other thought that came into my mind was the fact that these kids were now probably the children of the veterans of World War II and the Korean War and their recollection of maybe the South Pacific was not the best memories. So consequently these kids might be biased against the Japanese American situation. That was in the back of my mind because I had some neighbors -- when we tried to get into Newport Hills as a residential real estate purchasing thing, the first couple of houses that I really wanted to purchase, the neighbors weren't too friendly and so the real estate person discouraged us from making the purchase agreement. So I knew that this feeling was persistent in that area. And this was one of the things that kind of shied me away from the presentation. But nonetheless, the teacher persisted. She just... I thought to myself, I want to get rid of this persistence. And I tried to find out what really was pushing her to have me make the presentation. And I thought she's gonna put me in a corner someplace and really give me a hard time and so I thought well maybe, if we're gonna do this redress thing, maybe this would even be a better challenge than the junior high school kids. I mean these guys were gonna to be probably more rigorous in their questioning. So I agreed and did the presentation at Newport High School. And it was very supportive. The kids were very supportive. For one thing, there's more -- Taul Watanabe's daughter was in my daughter's class and there were more Asians there than at Ringdall junior high school, and they had a good reputation about being good achievers and so forth. And they had several Chinese kids were in that school, so the reception was very friendly.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

TI: So how did that make you feel? That here you were concerned going in, you did it, the response was favorable, and so how did you feel at that point?

HM: Well, I felt, hey, maybe we have a chance in bringing this to the major population area and try to convince 'em that maybe something should be done in regards to the way we were treated and maybe rewrite some of the laws and so forth. And, well this is what Tony Hoare had suggested to me that hey, you're gonna have to do some legislative action eventually, and also if you want to go after some kind of compensation process. So I had felt Tony's suggestions and direction were very valid. He had a better sense of what the general population was thinking than I did. I was tending to be kinda biased, kind of a feeling that maybe they might have this strong discrimination feeling.

TI: Well, when you think about what you said, well after talking to this high school group that you might have a chance. I mean did you, at this point, I'm just curious looking back, when you -- after that presentation at the high school, and it went well, did you think it was going to be easier, or harder, the whole process, after talking to these high school students?

HM: Well, the -- that wasn't the only exposure. I had exposure to the Unitarian Church in Bellevue. Because they had invited me -- because this teacher was very active in the Unitarian Church, she wanted to bring it up to the discussion group for the adult discussion -- it was a very informal group. And then the leader of that group said, "Well why don't you make it available after the regular church session and you can make for the entire church organization and anybody that wanted to stay and listen." So I did make that presentation.

TI: But how did you feel about this one? Because there you'd probably come across World War II vets.

HM: Yeah. This was my thinking. Well, if I could have the high school people support me, well I want to see what these other guys are gonna do. And that was a very good meeting. The Unitarians are quite objective. I was very impressed with the questions they had and there was no feeling of World War II bitterness. I only encountered that in a VFW situation where it was -- the meeting was starting to get out of control -- "Well you guys bombed Pearl Harbor. You caused my brother's death at Bataan." That was a kind of an opening up period. But I never anticipated the reservation that I would encounter with the Nikkei population. That was a surprise.

TI: Okay, so after doing the junior high school, the high school and the Unitarian, you were very, you were optimistic?

HM: Yeah, I was getting overconfident in fact, that here we could convey this message to these people and they would be willing to support us. In fact the Unitarian Church minister came up to me and said, "If you're gonna do anything that requires any general population support, we'll be willing to go on record." And he was very open to the idea.

TI: And so, and then your comment was, you got more reservation from within the Nikkei community.

HM: Well, I had not encountered the Nikkei population group at that point. And this was the beginning part of '73. Well, as a coincidence here comes Cherry Kinoshita, she's a pro tem president for JACL meeting.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

TI: Okay, before we do that, I want to just finish up one thing. Going back to Boeing, something that happened in '71. This was when the SST program was canceled at Boeing. And that caused an upheaval at Boeing with a lot of engineers being laid off and a lot of different changes. Can you go back and talk about that time period and how it affected you?

HM: Okay. The SST program, the Super Sonic Transport program was a commercial transport endeavor. It was funded by a quasi group of government agencies with Boeing money. And one was Department of Transportation, and one was Department of Energy and NASA was supporting the program because they were helping us with a lot of the aeronautical stuff. And it became an issue because of the requirement for congressional support and appropriations on a yearly basis. The group in the East Coast that was composed of thirty-one different environmental-type groups, waged a lobbying effort against the SST saying that the SST was going to be too noisy, it was going to be polluting the atmosphere, it would change the balance of the upper atmosphere, a whole bunch of things that totally were technologically not supported. But it was a grouping of thirty-one different organizations. And it was run by a woman that was a specialist in communications. And she was the coordinator of this thing and she was writing letters to these different organizations, and they in turn would write letters to the congressmen. And they were flooding Congress with a whole bunch of this anti-SST information. And it ended up that they had enough congressional support to vote down the appropriations for the SST program. And this was in the beginning part of 1971. And in the area that we worked in, we were trying to get support from people in Washington State and the West Coast and all the supporting contractors that we had on the research programs to provide letters to our congressmen supporting the SST. Well, unfortunately this woman that did the coordination for the anti area did a better job than we did by the weight. The congressman wrote us a letter one time saying they weighed the pros and the cons and they put it into these big baskets and the ones with the anti-SST was three times the weight of the ones that were pro-SST, so the congressmen decided to vote against the SST program. And I thought (this was) crazy. Man, this is a technological and economic venture for the government and I thought man, this is something different.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

HM: Well, during the same time period, if I may detract a little bit, the Title II of the Internal Security Act thing was under evolvement, and this was about 1968 to '71 period. And this bill that was being introduced by Nixon indicated that they needed to reinvigorate the six camps for internment of individuals that would be a threat to the internal security of the United States. And the Internal Security Act, going backwards in time, had two parts to it. First part was the registration of all the communists in the United States that were communist party members. Secondly was the internal security function to maintain security in the United States. At that time there were some activities in terms of Black Panthers that were starting to gel at that point. So the bill incorporated, in the Title II portion of that bill, incorporated the installation and reinvigoration of six camps. And it happened to be one of the camps was Tule Lake. And they're gonna appropriate two point six million dollars to get these camps going again, so that in case there is an internal security problem, they can gather up all these people that are dangerous to the United States' internal security and throw 'em into these camps. Anyway, Raymond Okamura and those guys got a hold of this thing and they said hey, this is Tule Lake, they're gonna reinstall Tule Lake. And they started a huge drive for repealing the Title II provision of the Enemy Security Act. And unfortunately the JACL organization wouldn't support that repeal process until they were finally given the writing on the wall by Raymond and those guys, saying, "Hey, if you guys don't do this we're gonna make this a public issue and say that you guys aren't really a civil rights organization, and we're gonna try to get your charter disabled." So anyway JACL begrudgingly became a supporter for the repeal of Title II. That had one message saying, hey, if we can get together as all the crazy guys in the JACL to support this kind of issue, and they can repeal a portion of the public law that's being considered in Congress, man, then this is kind of interesting.

TI: So you felt empowered? Or the people felt empowered.

HM: Yeah.

TI: That the change could be made.

HM: And then the fact that this woman that was coordinating again for a different program --

TI: The anti-SST.

HM: Yeah, and she was able to mobilize these people. Be it right or wrong, whether they're technically correct or not, that's something else. But she was able to mobilize these people and write all these crazy letters. And by weight of the mail be able to completely destroy this program. To me, these two things were very interesting, and they all happened in the 1971 period.

TI: Right.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

HM: So there was a message here. That the other part of the problem was hey, they're gonna can the program, and here we had, I think a total of six thousand people assigned to the SST program. I mean, at that point it was a very large program. We had a lot of research going on, we had a lotta hardware being generated, and testing and so forth. And this was March 21 of 1971 and the bill was killed in Congress. And the following day they sent out all the pink slips for the SST program. And he first thing they said was they were gonna lay off half the people in the SST program. And they're gonna lay off half the engineering workforce. And the pink slips indicated that. They're getting rid of a lot of engineers. And my boss called me in and he said, "You're not going to be affected by this thing. We're gonna put you in a termination group." We have to get our money back from the federal government, because Boeing had a ten percent participation function in this entire program and at that time we had spent more than twenty percent of the program budget. And so consequently we had to gather up all the contractual requirement documents, put them all together, put them into some form that is recognizable, put them into some order, and then send 'em back to the Department of Transportation.

TI: So Boeing could be reimbursed for this --

HM: Yes. For their twelve and some odd person...

TI: And how long did that take, that process?

HM: Well, I see these guys that had worked for years on these... and all this documentation, and they were thrown into these refuse bins, and here we had all these forklift trucks coming and they were going and dumping it into this big disposal process. And I thought, "Oh man, all the work that we did, and they're not even going to keep any of it." Well, they were so ticked off because they got their pink slip notice, they got two week notice saying that they're gonna be laid off. I can't blame them for what they did. But our job was to get enough documentation together saying that we did accomplish these different milestones and therefore Boeing should be reimbursed for this stuff. And that was our job; they had twenty of us doing that. So, I was taking care of some of the design information areas. It took us, let's see, until July, I think it was about middle of July, I think it took us to get all that data put together. And well, what they were doing is that when they knocked off half of the engineering workforce -- two weeks prior to that by the way, the chief engineer of the Boeing company came to the SST area. We had two different meetings in the cafeteria. They have a huge cafeteria in the development center. He had to have it in two shifts. And he made a statement that said, "Everybody here are the cream of the crop in the technical area of Boeing, therefore we're going to retain you people." That was two weeks prior to this bill being cut off. [Laughs] Two weeks later of course, when the bill went down, they had half of the guys getting their two week termination notices. So the faith and credibility of the Boeing company went down the tube immediately. And everybody was so ticked off. And what they did with the remaining people was they would do this toteming process. They would put them into toteming retention groups one, two, three, four, five. At that time we had five different groups. And after the first group was let go, then they totemed everybody and they said everybody that's totem three or below, would get terminated in another two weeks.

TI: So toteming was a process to evaluate the performance?

HM: Yeah.

TI: Ranking of --

HM: Both performance and the capabilities of the individual for future programs and this sort of thing.

TI: And would each engineer know what level they were at in terms of the toteming process?

HM: Yeah. They were given arbitrary notice afterwards. Saying that they were totem two, or totem four or whatever it happens to be. If you were three, four or five you were out the door in the next two weeks.

TI: And what was your level?

HM: Well I was at totem two. But that, we were kind of put in a different pile because we were in the contract termination group, so it didn't make any difference at that point. So anyway, that's what they were doing, automatically, every two weeks they were going through another toteming process so they would get rid of another bunch of guys and re-totem the individuals again. So eventually, even if you were totem one to begin with --

TI: You could be a five --

HM: You could be a five after...

TI: Later on.

HM: ...after the third generation of these toteming exercises. Well this was according to the contract we had. But, they could go through as many toteming processes as they felt like. So this was a way of getting rid of the workforce.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

HM: Well, when we got through with the contract termination area, each of us were being given interviews by a human resources individual. The guy had, he started off very friendly in the interview --

TI: So this was to be interviewed for open positions at -- so they were reassigning, trying to get...

HM: Yeah

TI ...again, a very small group. They had essentially the pick of a lot. They could pick a few to stay at Boeing.

HM: Yeah, and this process where we had the twenty guys, I think one guy left voluntarily, but I think we had nineteen residuals I think. Anyway, they took a balance of what was available in the company, what the demands were, and the skill code area versus the toteming process. So they adjusted the toteming function to where they could fit the guy in the company. It wasn't a really a fair way of doing it, but that's the procedure they followed. And well this guy started off very friendly, this interviewer, and anyway, we get into this whole thing about where my relatives were. He looked up my personnel records and he extracted information very carefully. And he said, "All your references are in Seattle area now, and you went to the University of Washington, and all your relatives are here. Your references for security file things are all from the local area." And he indicated to me that, you know, you're a native Northwesterner, born and raised here. He says, "I don't think you're gonna leave for very much, for any long duration." So this was the way he started off, and I thought well, this guy did his homework. [Laughs] Then he gets into this realm about okay, since we can't give you equivalent job, one thing we'll have to do is we're gonna have to give you a pay cut. So they said well, they chopping quarter of my pay in one jolt. And he says, "We're doing this to all the guys in the termination group. And you guys should be lucky that you're gonna be offered a job." Then I kinda got kinda peeved at this whole process, and I said, "This is so arbitrary, we're not even given a fair shake." And so he gets out a bunch of papers off of his briefcase and starts saying hey, "I know Japanese Americans. I have a neighbor that's a Japanese American." And he's a smart guy, but he's one of these guys that never say anything. And then he proceeded to tell me about Japanese American history a little bit. At that point he says okay, this is the creed of the Japanese Americans, and he started reading it to me.

TI: Let's, and I have a copy of -- and you're saying the creed of the Japanese American Citizen League, right? The JACL?

HM: Yeah.

TI: Japanese American creed. And this was written in 1941 by Mike Masaoka, and I'll read it to you. And this was the document that he read. He says, or it states, "I am proud that I am an American citizen of Japanese ancestry. For my very background makes me appreciate more fully the wonderful advantages of this nation. I believe in her institutions, ideals and traditions. I glory in her heritage. I boast of her history. I trust in her future. Although some individuals may discriminate against me, I shall never become bitter or lose faith, for I know that such persons are not representative of the majority of the American people. Because I believe in America, I pledge myself to assume actively my duties and obligations as a citizen, cheerfully and without any reservations whatsoever in the hope that I may become a better American in a greater America." So that's the creed that the JACL had. So how did you feel when he read that to you?

HM: Well, I was surprised that the guy had studied this area so well for my specific case. And the one thing that I was disturbed at was the fact that they're giving me this pay cut and they're telling me why I was supposed to take this pay cut. The creed, in essence, was his justification for saying well, we can treat you any way we feel like. And that was a very interesting message to me. That stated hey, this is the way that this guy is appraising me in terms of how I feel about my treatment to the company. And it was like a big bell ringing saying, hey, wake up buddy. You're not as good as what you think you are. I mean, they're gonna treat you just like what you deserve. So that kind of really took me by surprise, and it also put me in a position of making me think maybe we're gonna have to do something to have people reappraise their position for Japanese Americans.

TI: Well, it's almost like if Mike Nakata were right there he'd probably say, "Hey Henry, what are you gonna do about it?"

HM: Yeah, "I told you so."

TI: And so, what did you do? When he -- so he offered you this pay cut, this position, and read the creed, and said, "So Henry, here it is, what are you gonna do?" What did you do?

HM: Well, I had another job offer from the San Francisco Bay area. And unfortunately the kids were in the school system, and they had a lotta friends in the Newport Hills area, they were in the swimming team and all this kind of stuff. And I let them make the decision, which was not the most rational thing to do, but I felt for the best interest of the children and their welfare they should be relevant to making the decision. And so I did accept the pay cut. I accepted the stay at Boeing.

TI: And so when you walked out of the office, how did you feel? What were you thinking?

HM: This is not a good deal, but I thought to myself, we need to do something in order to have the general population take a different position on how they can treat Japanese Americans. That was really the message that I got from that reading. And during the course of events, it took me about a year before I got to the point of saying hey, we're gonna do something. This was the December '72 situation. I thought to myself, well, I'm gonna dedicate myself to changing this whole situation that we're faced with, for the good of us Japanese Americans, and maybe for the good of the American population in general, maybe even take a stance on the constitutional rights of minorities. So my philosophy about different things kind of changed in that area. And the other thing was the Title II repeal was successful, and the fact that this woman knocked down the whole SST program, pretty much single-handedly, by just organizing these different activity groups.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

TI: So all these events happened, and then that brings us to, and you just started getting into it, there was a meeting chaired by Cherry Kinoshita, and we're now in 1975 --

HM: No '73.

TI: Seventy-three, I'm sorry. Summer of '73, a JACL meeting that you attended. Let's pick it up there. Why don't you talk about that?

HM: Well, Tomio Moriguchi was the president of the JACL before Ben Nakagawa, and this was in 1972 time period. And that's when Chuck was working on the Japanese Cultural Center, and he needed support politically, so he -- well to go backwards even a little bit better. Chuck's son is the same age as my son, and their stature was very similar. And they were good friends and they used to work out at the Seattle Dojo. And, well, Chuck's family is a real judo family and Shuzo is a black belt eighth grader or ninth grader, somewhere way up there. And so Chuck's family had a lot to do with the judo effort. And so Chuck was into judo and he used to help Shuzo occasionally train the young kids. And since our sons were involved in the thing, Chuck and I used to talk to each other about different things. And he talked to me about this cultural center. And I thought gee, this is a very ambitious program. And one of the things that he wanted to find out was, he was trying to write a whole bunch of justifications for the cultural center and why we needed it. And one of the things that I mentioned to him was the fact that they took away all the martial arts and the relative Japanese cultural activities during the war. And so he says, well -- we got into a long conversation. And I had been studying about all the losses and all the fact that they took all the judo instructors and put 'em into Santa Fe, New Mexico and Missoula, Montana. And took all the kendo instructors, except my dad was obsolete kendo instructor so I guess they didn't take him. But they took a lot of the martial arts people. And I said this is a method that they used to kind of break down the whole martial arts and cultural background of Nikkei Americans. So he said, "Well, here's what I want to do" -- so he described some of the things he wanted to do. He wanted to know where the population was going in terms of the Japanese American population in the Seattle area. Well, I had already researched that area about where the, centrally the population was because I was trying to get some idea as to what was happening to the economics, the thing after World War II. So I was, I had access to the SMA... SMAS data. Statistical Metropolitan Area data. And so I volunteered to help him on this thing. And in terms of determining the center of the Japanese American population, and where centrally it should be located if we were going to have this kind of cultural center. So I got involved with him because of the previous studies I had done in this evacuation.

TI: Because now other people in the community recognized that you were this repository of information data.

HM: Not really. They didn't know what I was doing basically.

TI: Well, but then Chuck...

HM: Chuck finally realized --

TI: ...knew enough to --

HM: Here's Henry doing all this funny stuff. And so we conglomerated the information together and he put it into his proposal. And he thought he had all the skids greased. And so this was a time when he made the presentations at the JACL meeting. And Tomio had encouraged us to show up at the meeting and Tomio said that he would help us in the EEO action against Boeing and some of these other things that unfortunately JACL isn't that rigorous in their capabilities, so some of it didn't go through. But anyway, this is where Chuck and I kind of started assembling our energies together. And at that time Ken Nakano was supporting Chuck because of his Japanese language capability. He was gonna approach the Nikkeijinkai and other organizations. So we became a kind of informal network of cooperation. But Chuck's activities went to naught because they had a competitive proposal put in by another organization here in Seattle Nikkei community. It was a very unfortunate experience for him.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

TI: So you had two Nikkei organizations essentially asking for the same thing to the same federal agencies.

HM: For the same funds. Yeah. And Chuck made a presentation to this other organization and they wanted a copy of his entire proposal. And I tried to convince Chuck that that might not be the best thing to do, but because Chuck's so straightforward about these things he thought, well nothing harmful could come if it, so he gave 'em a copy of the proposal. And unfortunately, they just changed parts of it and they submitted a proposal very equal to what Chuck had proposed.

TI: Now, was Chuck working with an existing organization to submit the proposal? Was it through the, for instance, I thought it was through the Japanese Language School or...

HM: Well, he had all the different supporting organizations like Language School, Seattle Dojo, JACL, all these different supporting organizations. So it was a kind of consortium of different organizations that would sponsor this function. And the JACL would be the nonprofit organization that would be the management function for this whole process.

TI: Okay. And that was -- and then Chuck also had a site picked out, was that the --

HM: Yeah, yeah.

TI: Where the current, where the Japanese Language School is currently?

HM: Yes. The other site that we had picked out -- well we had four different sites altogether. One was that Burbank North --

TI: Oh, the Luther Burbank? On Mercer Island?

HM: Yeah. That was being designated as surplus federal property at that time. So we had capability of accruing that thing on the basis of this, if we were successful on this --

TI: Well, that would've been wonderful. That would have been lakefront property.

HM: Yeah, that would have been -- and then the other properties we had, one was near where Paul Allen is securing his venture on Lake Washington north of Renton. That was another piece of property. And then we had another property, this was in Factoria, on the east side. And the reason why we were thinking of that was that potentially we could have purchased the entire property that was available. I knew the person that was selling it, and he said, "Well, if it's going to be a cultural center, I'll give it to you for a real nominal price." And our plan was to sell half of it to the Factoria Shopping Management Group and keep the other half, and have it paid off immediately. But anyway, we had all these grandiose plans, but unfortunately when the proposals were submitted, it was denied to us because we had two identical proposals practically and the EDA Administrator says, you guys make up your own mind, and they awarded the 1.26 million dollars to another organization, unfortunately.

TI: Was there ever an attempt by Chuck to work with this other organization? And the other organization --

HM: Well, they did it without our knowledge.

TI: Right, but then --

HM: They submitted --

TI: But then given that -- so it was just too late. I mean proposals were...

HM: Yeah

TI: ...were sent and it was the final proposals and they were competing ones, and so because of --

HM: We didn't realize that they had submitted one, also.

TI: And the other competing group was the Buddhist Temple proposing the Collins Playfield.

HM: Yes, yeah. They wanted to preserve the Collins Playfield entity. There was competition with the Randolph Carter Workshop for the Collins Playfield. And so this was to protect the best interest of the Buddhist Church, or that's how they felt.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

HM: So, well Chuck and I at that point -- on the redress process, when I indicated hey, I'm thinking about the thing... and this was now in '73. And after these exposure to the Caucasian groups, I was getting kind of -- started feeling well, maybe this is a possibility. And when they had the JACL meeting in '73 -- I had attended several meetings prior to that. And Ben Nakagawa was the president in '73 and he went on summer vacation. And he put Cherry Kinoshita in charge of that meeting. And Cherry read a letter from Barry Matsumoto who was the Washington JACL representative and he indicated that although the reparations subject has come up in various national conventions, nothing was done, but he wanted to ferret out ideas from the different chapters to see if we could get a coordinated activity going on. So that was a letter that she read, and she asked if anybody wanted to volunteer for this thing. So by that time I had a lot of these flip charts already made because I had already made these presentations previously and that's the media I was using. And I decided --

TI: At this point had you formed an opinion about reparations and what should be done in terms of...?

HM: Yeah. I had, for the ones that I had intended to use for the Nikkei one, I did have the reparation things in there. The other ones were more -- for the students they were more historical. They showed the losses, they showed what psychologically had been done to us and things of this nature. And I talked about things like what happens to prisoners of war for their lost salaries and damages and so forth. But I didn't prepare money values for the reparations thing like I did for the ones I intended for the Japanese Americans. So...

TI: So at this point, at this first meeting, were you a member of the JACL?

HM: Yeah, I was a member because Tomio induced us to become members because he said -- and Tom Koizumi decided we're going to try to empower the JACL and make it a progressive organization. And Tom had a lot of data processing background. This was his business management role. And he felt that the way that JACL was running their business, especially out of the national headquarters was so obsolete that he wanted to make complete revamp and change of the thing. So Tomio induced us to join, and we joined en masse.

TI: So you joined the year before, in 1972?

HM: Yeah, yeah so we joined in a big bunch. And we started attending the meetings and started to become active in the proposition.

TI: Okay, so then at this summer of '73 meeting, Cherry read this letter from Barry about reparations and so you volunteered to look into it?

HM: Yeah. Well, I already had the material so I figured well, I'm gonna put this in a form and I'll see if I can use this chapter as a start off point, and maybe we could do something with it. And that was my intent.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

TI: And so the next step was in November of '73, the JACL met and they scheduled you to present your information.

HM: Yeah, well they had too many activities in the months between the summer one and the November one, and Ben Nakagawa couldn't put me on the agenda. In fact, in the November one he went overtime like he normally does on these meetings and consequently he stated to the board there, that if anybody wanted to stick around and listen to Henry, they're welcome to do so. [Laughs]

TI: So explain that. So this was a evening meeting?

HM: Yeah.

TI: Was it kind of late? And so what time does the meeting start? And what time did he --

HM: Okay. It started off at seven o'clock, and here we were about nine-thirty I think it was. And then that's when he said hey, if anybody wanted to listen to Henry, stick around, otherwise, you're free to leave. So everybody left except Min Masuda, Shosuke Sasaki, Chuck Kato, Ken Nakano, and there was one other guy there. I forgot who he was.

TI: So how many were in the overall meeting? A couple dozen? Or...

HM: Oh yeah. We used to have pretty good turnouts. Maybe twenty-five people or something like that. It used to be a pretty good meeting.

TI: Okay, so after 9:30 twenty of them left and only about five stayed.

HM: Yeah. Oh, Eira Nagaoka stayed because he was the secretary and he wanted to take some notes on what was gonna transpire. And it was good that Eira stayed because he had another connecting factor to Japanese Baptist Church. So we went through the presentation and Min sat there, Min Masuda sat there and didn't say too much. So I covered all this material and then I went into the money process, the redress money process and how we're gonna put it into a trust fund and all this kind of junk. And Shosuke at that point -- well prior to that meeting Mike Nakata had told Shosuke if Mike was back from Groton, Connecticut, or wherever the heck he was, he was working as a Chief Welding Engineer for Todd Shipyards. And he told Shosuke, "Attend this meeting. This guy, he might be a nut, but he might be presenting some very interesting information."

TI: So was this Shosuke's first time at a JACL meeting? Or...

HM: No, no.

TI: ...or was he a member?

HM: He had been there before and Ben Nakagawa was trying to get him to agree to run as a commissioner for the FCC Commission, because of his communication skills and all that, and the fact that he was allied with the newspaper guild and other organizations. And in Shosuke's case, that was how he was able to get the word "Jap" out of the dictionary and all this newspaper publication stuff. But that was the first time I met Shosuke formally. He thought this bootstrap operation about having us put all the income tax that we paid, the Nikkei paid their income tax, we would be able to put it into a trust fund from which we would pay the oldest persons first, and then come down to the youngest individuals. And he thought this would get away from the problem of direct appropriations every year from Congress. And anyway, as it turned out, we made a pitch to Joel Pritchard who was the congressman in the north part of Seattle.

TI: This was, you mean one of the outcomes of after you presented, the five of you, you decided to go present this to Joel Pritchard?

HM: No. Tomio got wind of the thing because Tomio had kind of kept track of what we were doing, Koizumi and myself, and I had a chance to make a presentation personally to Tomio. And Tomio said well, hey, we should go see the congressman and see how he feels. And that's when we made the pitch to Joel Pritchard. He liked it. He said, "Man, this is something I could really support."

TI: And when you made the pitch to Joel, was it under the JACL organization that this pitch was made, or how was it presented?

HM: Oh, we said that we were a committee of the JACL. But, well, we couldn't get Ben to go along with the redress.

TI: Well, okay. So after you presented to those five, how did the information get to the larger membership of the JACL? Were you given another opportunity later on to show Ben and the others, or how did that happen?

HM: On the December meeting, Ben decided to table our issue. He was trying to put his own version into the redress process. He wanted all the monies to go into educational fund. He thought that was the most important thing. And I saw the merits of that because this is an educational process that has to continue. So I agreed with him and I said, "If there's unused funds, unclaimed funds, then we'll allocate it to the educational process." And in fact, even on the bill that eventually got through Congress, they did put in this educational thing, and that became the portion of the educational fund for redress. The five million bucks.

TI: But when Ben tables it, it's tabled so that your work wouldn't go forward to National? He wanted to -- what was he tabling? Because National is essentially asking for feedback at this point?

HM: Well, he wanted to tailor it to his own liking.

TI: Okay, so he wanted to tailor it, and then when it was to his liking, then submit it to National?

HM: Yeah.

TI: Is that the thinking?

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

HM: But then the following year, January, of course, Sam Shoji took over as president. And so Sam was more gung ho on redress than Ben was. [Laughs] So Sam took it upon himself to try to organize redress in a more substantial manner. And we put it to a vote in Seattle chapter and they adopted the plan that we set forth. And then he tried to get the Northwest Regional District Council to support it and we had a -- we set up two days for the education of these people because this was a problem: educating Japanese Americans. It's a issue that, they really don't understand the terms of the constitutionality of the process that we went through. And the people that I thought we would have the easiest time, it turned out to be the most difficult. And this was surprising to me. I thought these guys, they're smart enough to understand the Constitution and all this kind of material. They were able to understand the Hirabayashi case. So I thought for sure that these guys would be supportive, but they turned out to be the worst opposition. And well --

TI: Why do you think that was? Why do you think they had the strongest opposition from within the community?

HM: Well, there's two strong opposition functions. One is that they thought we would rock the boat. This is a very controversial issue, especially when we demand monies from the U.S. Congress for damages that were done to us. And it would damage the reputation and integrity of Nikkei Americans. That was one point of view. And the other was, you're demeaning the character of Japanese Americans to go after money. And maybe the other point of view was saying, "Hey, we're making enough progress. Don't do anything that would prevent us from making more progress." And well, Eira Nagaoka, through his Reverend Nagano, Paul Nagano was the minister at Seattle Baptist Church. And Eira said, "I want you to talk to the reverend." And so in the first conversation Nagano asked me, "What are you trying to do in this process?" And of course the two years previous to that I had been out to Baptist Church and we were pitching Keiro Nursing home and we were trying to raise money. [Laughs]

TI: Was it the Keiro nursing home, or the Cultural Center?

HM: No, Keiro nursing home.

TI: It was Keiro. Okay.

HM: We were trying to raise the four hundred forty thousand dollars to buy that property, on Massachusetts Street. And I had used the same pitch, pitch chart, flip chart presentation. And so he felt -- he supported us very strongly on that Keiro nursing home project. And when I told him what I was trying to do he said, "Well, we have an adult discussion group; if you feel like presenting it, we'd like to have it as a discussion item." So I said, "Well, let me give you a personal presentation first, and then if you feel kindly to it, then maybe we can make it to the entire group." And he agreed to that. We did that. And he was very responsive. He thought gee, gosh, this is a good collection of information. And just for information's sake I'm sure that the people would be interested in listening to you. And he was very encouraging about it. And I had received a so-called so-so attitude from the JACL. And here's this church minister saying, "Hey, we want to have this as a moral and community issue." So I made the presentation and they were very supportive of that. And then I decided, "Hey Chuck, you're a big wheel at the Blaine Methodist and you're a big wheel in the Nisei Vets. Why don't we try to get out to all these different organizations and we'll try to get a flavor of how much support we can get?"

TI: But then going back to the Baptists, the response actually was positive? Earlier you mentioned how there was strong opposition within the community, but you didn't feel it at the Baptist church?

HM: Well, JACL happened to be kind of an interesting mixture of individuals. Min Masuda in the beginning was not supportive of redress. In fact he, this is the reason why Ben Nakagawa tabled the motion in December because Min got to Ben and said, "Hey, this is a very controversial issue. We've got to be careful about what we do with this thing."

TI: So the opposition you were talking about was more JACL-centered? Not necessarily the whole community?

HM: Well, on top of that Min was very highly regarded. And I respect a lot of the things that Min was trying to do. And he was involved with the Pride and Shame exhibit and things of this nature. And I respected his viewpoint. But he felt that it was so controversial that we had better be careful about how we make these presentations and how we expose ourselves to the public. And so anyway, Ben decided to table it and he'd leave it for the next president to take care of.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

HM: So we decided to go and expose this information to Blaine Methodist. And then Sam Shoji, being president of JACL said, "Hey, I want you to present it to St. Peters. And I could get you on the calendar." So we started doing this stuff. And we started going, and then we decided hey, we're gonna have to get the Nikkeijinkai involved in this thing. So we said okay Ken, you make the translations on this thing --

TI: This is Ken Nakano, that you're talking about?

HM: Yeah. And so he agreed to it and so we presented it to the Nikkeijinkai. And the first meeting we had with them, they didn't know what to think about it. They were kind of lost. For one thing we were talking about going after the U.S. Government [Laughs] and man, that really caused them to think twice, or three times. But after we got the exposure and information to them -- and then the second time we had to explain all the reasoning behind it. They started to accept the reasoning process that we went through. And I think about the third meeting they agreed to support us.

TI: So pretty much were all these community groups in support of what you were talking about?

HM: Yeah, Every one of them eventually supported us. Well, the one meeting that we had with the Nisei Vets was a kind of a excited meeting, but we never anticipated that type of excitement.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

TI: Okay, so let's go back to the reaction of the Nisei Vets and you said you presented to them. So what happened at that meeting?

HM: Well Chuck was the presenter at the Nisei Vets meeting. And I thought this was going to be duck soup. No problem.

TI: Now why did you think it was going to be duck soup? Because you were all veterans? You're all Nisei?

HM: Yeah. Veterans. I thought we were fighting for same ideals, same principles. You know, you put up your right hand and you swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States. I thought everybody knew what the Constitution represented. And as I went along in this whole process I found that a lot of people would say they uphold the Constitution of the United States and yet they don't really understand what the Constitution has stated, and what the Bill of Rights guarantees. But at the Vets meeting -- it started off friendly enough. Chuck did a pretty good job of presenting the data.

TI: Now were you at the meeting also?

HM: Yeah, Ken Nakano, myself and --

TI: Now why did you choose Chuck and not you to present the data?

HM: Well, because he was a Nisei Vets member.

TI: Okay.

HM: And he was a pretty high visibility person. And he had taken part in lotta the activities. And of course Shuzo and the rest of his family had been strong participants in the Nisei Vets and he knew a lot of those guys. And I knew some of the people, but not to the extent that Chuck knew 'em. So anyway, Chuck volunteered for that job. And we used to volunteer for different functions, and I used to take different churches and Chuck would take the other ones that I didn't feel like presenting to. So there was a kind of a common agreement. And then Ken would take all the Nikkeijinkais and kenjinkais and so forth. So, well Chuck felt that this was gonna be just, just goin' down the road type situation. So initially when he started off the presentation everybody was pretty comfortable with it. And when we started talkin' about the monetary situation, then there started coming a bunch of questions from the floor without Chuck wanting to respond to some of 'em because they were kinda strong points, anyway. And towards the end, gee, they started, they were shouting at him and making all kinds of statements. By the time he finished and they opened it up for question and answers, it became a very heated discussion. "Why are you guys doing this?" And one guy stood up and said, "Really, the things that we fought for, you're trying to undo. This is creating a total change of direction from our objective," and stuff like that. And as things progressed, it got to a point where one of the guys stood up and called him a traitor. And Chuck didn't take too kindly to that because he had lost one of his brothers in the army. And he made a rebuttal and it became another rebuttal and it became very heated and it got to a point where they were ready to swing at each other. [Laughs]

TI: And where were you? I mean, what was your role? Were you an active participant or were you --

HM: Yeah. I was trying to respond to some of the things that Chuck couldn't handle and I was yelling at the other guys just as much as they were yelling at us. And I thought to myself, oh gee, we're faced with an interesting proposition here. Well, at that point we were asking for some funding support so that we could carry on the program. And I thought well, I guess we should forget about getting any funds from these guys. But as it turned out, they had another meeting after that and they agreed to fund us for a hundred bucks.

TI: That's interesting. So although there was strong opposition, it must have meant that the majority of the people there were actually in support of what you had to say and wanted to fund it? Or, how do you interpret that? I guess I don't understand.

HM: Well, I had a private meeting with the president of the, I mean the commander of the Nisei Vets after that. And I said, "Hey, you guys are sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States, and your oath of office, all your elected officers are required to do this, and all your board members are required to do this. In the Constitution of the United States, that's what it says." And I laid it down to him. You should be able to go after redress, I mean that's part of the Constitution. And these things were, stuff they did to us were violation of constitutional rights that we have. They have no right to put us into a camp for unlimited time period. They had no right to gather up our parents and put 'em into internment facility separate from us. And they -- we don't have a due process of law. We were never indicted for anything. We never violated any of these crimes, no espionage, no federal, state, or city type laws. And he had to agree with me. And so I don't know if that had an influence on what they finally decided or not. But anyway they did give us a hundred bucks for some of the programs they were involved in.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

HM: But I thought to myself, the higher up you go in this process, in the Nikkei population, the less support you get.

TI: You say the "higher up." What do you mean by the "higher up," the older, or the more prominent? I don't quite understand when you say "higher up."

HM: Well, okay like in the JACL for instance, in the chapter, to get it past the chapter approval system was one step of difficulty. You get to the regional area, to prevent what was happening in the chapter area, we learned a lesson. The thing that we need to educate these people a little bit on what really happened to us and what the damages were. So in the district council meeting, we had two days of education process. I mean, we're talking six hours at a whack, for two days, twelve hours of education. And even at that when it came to a vote it was not unanimous. It was like sixty-forty. And so I thought man, this is gonna be uphill battle. At the lower level you can get to the people. You can make rational conversation with them. Dialogue becomes more difficult because they have other interests involved in the process, you know, preservation of the Nikkei reputation, and all this kind of stuff that's completely non-quantitative. And I learned this when I went to the National Board meeting in San Francisco. They wouldn't take action on it. They decided to take a alternative action by putting what you call a legislative education committee together. So I use the terminology that Drucker uses occasionally, he says, there's darkness at the top of the stairs. And it prevails at any large organization. The higher up you go, the less informed they are about these different subject areas and the less they care because there's other considerations to be made. Just like in Boeing company. We were trying to get them to do things like 727, the 777 program way early on, make big engines and reduce the number of engines, and all this kind of stuff, reduce the number of systems. But we never got to the top management because there are too many filters going up the ladder. And this was the same case in the JACL. And in Joel Pritchard's case where it's totally different, because here's a congressman and he says, "Man, I know what happened to you guys because I had classmates that were evacuated. I sympathize with what you guys are doing and I want to help you." And he goes to the extent of -- we had these audio tapes made, of the appeal for action, and he had copies made of 'em and he was sending them out to his friends, cohorts in Congress. And then he gets a message from Mineta saying, "Hey, I speak for Japanese Americans, you know. I don't want you in this activity." So Pritchard says, okay, fine.

TI: Interesting.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

TI: Let's go back locally. So after the Nisei Vets, other local organizations, any opposition?

HM: We thought we weren't getting good feedback, so -- I tried one out in a kinda spontaneous group, just to try to get their feelings, and these were some of my friends. And I thought before we did the Baptist Church one I better get a consensus of how a normal individual not affiliated with JACL or any other organization would feel about it. And they were my friends and I said, "I want your candid opinion on what you feel about this thing if I made a presentation for a group and you were in that group." And they said, well, for one thing they're not gonna speak out affirmatively or negatively on your presentation unless they feel very strongly about it. And most Nikkei will not do that. So you gotta give 'em a chance to put it down in their own private communication to you. So that's what we decided. And in the Baptist Church one, we gave everybody a form and asked them if they agreed with the presentation's main ideals and so forth. And would you support us in this kind of activity and we gave them an option of signing their name to the thing, or putting in any other suggestions that they would like to sound out. And a lot of them wouldn't give us the form back. They just kept their paper.

TI: And why do you think that?

HM: Because they wanted to reserve their feelings, and they didn't have strong enough conclusions that they would want to specify these.

TI: So similar to what your early group said: that people wouldn't want to express an opinion one way or the other unless they had really strong opinions.

HM: So, but the ones that we did get at Baptist Church were very positive. I think there was only one negative one in the whole Baptist Church collection. Then my next one, my personal next one was the St. Peters and we did get quite a few negative ones there. And I was surprised. They said that we were gonna destroy the reputation of Japanese America. The fact that our parents and others had worked so hard to put us into this good position, we're gonna destroy it by going and making an issue of this thing. And I guess this type of feeling persisted in a lot of individuals. One of our intents, the reason why we said we were doing this, one of the objectives was to make this area of American history, clarify to the American public. And make it a known subject rather than having it subverted to a under the table situation. And the truth is more important than trying to hide what history was like. And anyway, I had all the list of objectives of why we're doing this. And Chuck and I, we used to talk about this thing after every meeting and say if they made a suggestion that we want to incorporate, let's put it in there. So the pitch was an evolving process. And Chuck didn't like some of the charts I made so I said, "Chuck, you make up the ones you want to make up." So we really had a general format that was similar to the stuff that we were presenting to everybody, and then some of the stuff like our flow charts on the money flow, Chuck wanted to -- he used to say, "Your damn charts are so damn complex that nobody can make sense out of it except you." So he used to revise those charts. And he did a better job I think on presenting the flow charts than I did. And mine were a little bit too complex, but I was in system engineering format -- these logic modes and all that kind of crap. [Laughs]

TI: I'm curious. Given, especially Chuck's relationship with the Buddhist Church, how did the Buddhist Church react to your proposal?

HM: Well, Chuck made a presentation for the Buddhist Church. He volunteered to do that.

TI: And how did that go?

HM: Well, I did it for the Dharma group which is an adult group. And Fred Imanishi at that time was very active in the Buddhist Church and he was one of the few guys in the Buddhist Church that I used to agree with in principle and some of their activities. And Fred was a good friend of my brother's and I knew Fred Imanishi for a long time. And in the Dharma group it was a pretty friendly exchange. It was done on an adult level of conversation. And the rationale was given to them and they more or less agreed with it. But for the board when Chuck made the presentation it was different, completely different.

TI: And what was the reaction? What happened?

HM: Well they were just like, they're sitting there and no emotional response, no rebuttals, no nothing. And they just said they'll think about it. And they didn't support it. But the Dharma group --

TI: Out of curiosity, why did the group decide to let Chuck do it given just two years ago or whatever that --

HM: Chuck volunteered for it. [Laughs] He took it on as a challenge. He thought he was gonna be able to turn these guys around.

TI: Because I would imagine Chuck had, must have felt some bitterness...

HM: Yeah, well he did --

TI: ...towards the Buddhist Church because of his project.

HM: But he felt that this was the way to redeem himself. But he volunteered for it. I said hey, I took on the Dharma group so I'm willing to do it for these guys, and he said, "No, I'll do it."

TI: Well, as a group did you ever talk about sort of, strategically or tactically who would be better at one versus the other?

HM: Well, this is why we volunteered for different groups. Like for instance I took on St. Peters because Sam Shoji said, he invited me personally to do it so I felt comfortable with that. And then the hakujin churches I used to take on, especially on the east side because they -- a lot of them were interested in the subject and they felt that morally that there was some burden on the churches to have supported the Nikkei. And if you know the actual Seattle Greater Council of Churches, they supported the evacuation. They supported what the federal government did. The only person that really put up a fight was Father Tebbisar of Maryknoll. He's the only guy that I know of, and Reverend Andrews did, but they weren't able to influence the council. So...

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

TI: Let's go back to the JACL. That you -- we talked about the district JACL meeting, where you educated them for two days. So what was the outcome of that meeting? This was March, 1974.

HM Okay. The guys that I thought we were going to have hundred percent support from, they didn't come through. They were either negative or they kept their mouth shut. And I was kinda surprised at that.

TI: Now, how did you figure out or think in terms of who would be supportive and who not? I mean, how would you figure this out?

HM: By looking at how they voted on Title II repeal.

TI: Okay.

HM: That for one. Because Title II repeal to me was indicative of how they felt about evacuation, whether they felt evacuation was justified. And if they felt evacuation was justified, they would vote for maintaining Title II and setting up these camps. And the guys that were opposed to it were really opposed to evacuation in essence because that represented the camps. So I had a knowledge of the Title II actions that were going on. The only people that really surprised me was Don Kazama who really fought hard to lobby those people to vote against the redress process. He had his own reasons. I didn't agree with him but --

TI: Did you ever talk to him about those?

HM: Yeah we used to have, we used to go out after the meetings and we used to argue the point.

TI: And what was his argument?

HM: Well, he says, "You're gonna do psychological damage to the Nikkei population." And I'm not that good of a psychologist. I've taken some psychology courses, but I wasn't able to fight him on that. But I found this to be the prevailing mode of feeling of a lot of the psychologists, Sam Shoji being the exception. He was a very strong supporter of redress. But Don was really anti-redress. And he was a pretty powerful influence in the district meetings. Him and Ellis, anyway, that's a husband and wife team. Edna was the wife. She was a supporter of redress. She counteracted the vote of Paul Ellis who was anti-redress. And I thought Paul would be totally for redress. I misjudged him entirely. But his wife negated his votes. In fact they were doing complete negation process all along the whole road to redress. Edna was a very well-educated person, she had background in comparative relations and things of this nature. And Paul was this minister type. But between the two, there was complete conflict in some of these different principles of what I felt about the Constitution anyway.

TI: So what was the outcome of that meeting?

HM: Well, they voted for supporting the redress plan. And they also supported having that presentation made to the National Board meeting, which was November of 1974.

TI: Now was that the intent, going back to the original memo that Cherry read at that meeting, and they're looking for sorta chapter feedback, was the expectation that it would sort of flow up this way? All the way through the chain?

HM: Well unfortunately Barry Matsumoto quit his job as the Washington DC rep for JACL. So all the stuff that he was trying to do went down the tube because the following person wasn't interested in doing anything.

TI: Okay, so the only way that it would get up there would have to have to go through the chapter.

HM: Yeah, chapter, district, and then to the national.

TI: Okay.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<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.

<Begin Segment 29>

HM: And during that meeting the only person outside, well Edison Uno was a guest of that board meeting, and Tomio was National Treasurer for JACL. So Tomio kinda shied away from making any inputs, but Edison was the only guy that related to the subject. Because he had made these national resolutions on reparations every other year for, since 1970.

TI: And what was Edison's response? What did he say?

HM: Oh, he was supportive of it. And in fact, after the presentation he says, "Hey, if we knew you guys had an integrated total plan, we would have supported you from the very beginning." Well, Edison stood for block grants, and we were after individual payments because that's -- our individual constitutional rights were violated in my way of thinking. But in Edison's case, well, he said block grants to different organizational functions would be best entertained. I had strong opposition with that and it took me all of maybe two years before I convinced Edison that we have to go through individual payment basis. But he was very frank with me, and we had dinner together and we talked a lot about --

TI: Was this your first really, opportunity to talk to Edison Uno?

HM: Yes. I had talked to him on the phone, but this was the first personal contact I had with him. And Tomio arranged dinner and we all went out together. So Jim Tsujimura, who was vice president of JACL National, Tomio, he was treasurer, and Edison, and myself, we had dinner at this restaurant --

TI: Well, when you think about that first meeting, face to face with Edison Uno, how would you characterize where his thinking -- you mentioned the block grant --

HM: Yeah.

TI: And then your plan. You said he mentioned how if he knew about your plan it could have been integrated with some of his thinking...

HM: No.

TI: ...into a total package? Explain that a little bit more about where he was versus where you were.

HM: His position was he would just make the resolution every year from his supporting chapter in San Francisco, and present it at the national convention and they would pass it. And it was done. It was passed in 1970, '72 and '74.

TI: And what was he hoping? By doing that it would do what? I mean what was his hope?

HM: It would cause people like Barry Matsumoto to kick the organization in the butt and make it do something.

TI: So it was more like a top down approach...

HM: Yeah.

TI: ...of this is sort of where we're going and you guys figure it out?

HM Yeah.

TI: Okay.

HM: Okay. And in Edison's case, he used to write this article in the Pacific Citizen as a "Minority of One." And I never understood why should he title it "Minority of One." And so, I think it was the second meeting I had with him, I said, "Edison, what is this thing about 'Minority of One'?" Well, his organizations, he had a number of them by the way, he was the only member of that organization. And he would go to the San Francisco City Council and say that he is the representative for this organization. And it would be a legitimate organization because he had it registered. And he would represent himself as the representative, and he would make this spiel in front of the San Francisco City Council. And this is what he was doing. So the "Minority of One" represented that kind of action. I never realized that. [Laughs] And this was how he got a lot of the inputs to the City Council. He was very organized in that fashion and he felt that trying to make a committee, especially in the chapter that he worked with, they didn't necessarily agree with everything he wanted to do. So this is why he set up these "Minority of One" organizations.

TI: But going back where Edison Uno's thinking was. He was thinking block grants but didn't really have the specifics...

HM: No, no.

TI: ...or details of sort of backing that up into a overall plan.

HM: No.

TI: And so, he then saw yours which had a lot of the information, the details, supporting the reparations or redress. So he was favorable to that although he perhaps disagreed with the individual versus block grants.

HM: Versus block grants, yeah.

TI: So, keep --

HM: No, he didn't go into things like why do we want to do this, what's the objective. Since I came from a system engineering and engineering background, to me these were requirements of that essential program that we were going to follow through on. And I needed to know in my own way and fashion why are we doing this, and what are the objectives that we want to meet and achieve, and so forth, and what are the constraints involving this process. So mine was a little bit different from Edison's in the way we would construct a project or program, completely different -- I'm looking at it from an engineering and limitation and constraint basis, and how much money can we generate to do these kinda things, and how much support do we need and all this. So that was part of my definition process. And Edison's case, he wanted to do this broad program, but when you started asking specifics, then he said, "Well, we'll have to come to that later." This is the way he responded.

TI: Well what attempt, or what attempt was made to integrate the two parties together, in working together at this point?

HM: Oh, I invited him to join us. And I said to him, well, if you feel comfortable with the things that we're presenting, why don't you take the parts that you feel kindly to and make the presentation to your groups. But that block grant thing was really the thing that caused him not to go along with everything because everything was based on individual constitutional rights. And it was not to his best interest if he was going to use the block grant method. Now the national organization, if they were having to -- forced up against the wall and having to do reparations, they would rather do the block grant and they wanted to control the entire financial package. And that was the last thing I wanted them to do because their management of financial funds, endowment funds is their reputation and their past history is zilch. They destroy endowment funds. And they take away management funds and all this kind of stuff and they leave it with practically nothing. And I knew the history of it because I asked Tomio, as the treasurer, "What the heck happened to these funds? How come we can't tap these things for things like the redress process?" And he investigated and found out they were being driveled to death because of poor management. So you know if they did they did the block grant thing, I was gonna raise -- I was gonna completely oppose that situation. And I tried to explain this to Edison and it wouldn't get past him because he was involved with the Kimochi Program in San Francisco, which is a very honorable program, a very well-run program. And he felt that those kind of organizations would be able to do much more for the community than if we obtained funds individually. I opposed that issue because I wanted the individual to make up his mind on how he wanted to distribute those funds, be it Keiro nursing home or other activities, or the church or whatever he felt comfortable with. So these were philosophical differences. But Edison was guest at my house a couple of times and I was trying to brainwash him during those visits because he was a captive audience to me. But it took a long while before I got all these differences of opinion --

TI: But in those two years where Edison was pursuing more of the block grant, were the two organizations or the two efforts viewed as competing efforts?

HM: No, no, no, because we were presenting what they referred to as the Seattle Plan, as one integrated plan structure for the national organization to pursue, and they adopted it in 1976 in Sacramento. And they adopted the whole package. That's the one that Ben Nakagawa presented at Sacramento and he beat down all the opposition. [Laughs]

TI: And when was that?

HM: This was August of 1976.

TI: Okay, so that's a little bit later.

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 30>

TI: Let's go back. So at the end of the National JACL board meeting, you said it was sorta disappointing, they looked half-asleep. But were there any actions taken by the National JACL Board? Did they adopt anything, or was it just purely informational?

HM: They decided to set up a legislative action committee, and, who would be chaired by some person that would be able to define the legislative problems. And well -- after my presentation, and the following day, when I stuck around for the other stuff, Sugiyama and Dave Ushio came up to me and says, "You know, we don't really agree with what you're doing. And we don't see the justification in pursuing reparations." So I tried to change the subject and I knew what their response was going to be because the way they behaved during the meeting. So I asked 'em, "Hey, how about some help revoking E.O. 9066, because I had researched that area and found that E.O. 9066 was still on the books. It's in the Federal Code."

TI: Now why the shift in interests?

HM: Because I couldn't get any help from them on the main area. So I decided maybe they could help me, or they would be willing to help me, because E.O. 9066 is a thorn in the Nikkei history, really.

TI: And so you thought you could sorta take them in that direction by taking a, perhaps a smaller step?

HM: Yeah.

TI: Do something with them that --

HM: And they said they weren't interested. So I figured, well, these guys, they're past the point of me trying to do anything with them. That was my conclusion that I reached. So I decided well, maybe we'll do it on our own.

TI: And so when they --

HM: And after that we did it on our own, but they got the credit.

TI: The recision of E.O. 9066? And that happened in 1976, and we'll get to that.

<End Segment 30> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 31>

TI: Let's -- so you got this disappointing response from the National JACL Board, and so you come back to Seattle, and what do you decide to do at that point?

HM: Well, I gave my report to the JACL meeting --

TI: This is the Seattle Chapter?

HM: Yeah. And then there started to appear in the Pacific Citizen, the newspaper, articles by Mike Masaoka opposing reparations, and we got articles written by Bill Hosokawa saying this whole idea of reparations is done by a bunch of, he called us "Sansei activists," "radical activists" in one article.

TI: Was this Bill Hosokawa or S. I. Hayakawa?

HM: Well, S. I. Hayakawa called us a buncha names too, but Hosokawa called us some unfriendly names so Tomio wrote him two letters saying hey, we're not a bunch of radical people. We got one Issei and one Kibei and the rest of us are Nisei, but still Hosokawa in his book calls us the names that he wanted. Well, you know, Shosuke knew Hosokawa from before the war, so he should know better, but he purposely does that. This is like demonizing Japanese Americans, well he's trying to categorize us and say hey, we're a bunch of ultra leftist, radical nuts here. Well, his articles get read by a lotta people.

TI: Was he specifically talking about you? Or was he lumping you with Edison Uno and --

HM: Yeah, the whole group of us. Shosuke, because Shosuke used to write the rebuttals in a lotta of the newspaper columns. And Bill Hosokawa knew Tomio fairly well and he knew us, but he used to still label us to make it so that he would have better followship in his readers. But anyway these articles started coming out and then the only guy that was supportive of redress or reparations at that time was Edison Uno. His "Minority of One" column used to support the things that we stood for. And he used to review the information that we sent him and he was kinda happy with the way we were going. So he would write his letters or columns of support and the other two guys were trying to run us down the tube. So well, that was '74. And then they set up this Legislative Action Committee that was supposed to meet in the spring of '75 and that's when Kaz Oshiki, who was a legislative aide for Katzenmier, who was a congressman, he set up the meeting and had the representatives from all these different areas. Well, in '75 we had Mineta from San Jose area come up and he was a guest of Tomio, and Tomio was trying to collect some campaign money for him, for his run at the Congress. And we were at Bush Gardens there and Tom Koizumi figured well, this is the best time to put Mineta in posture position on redress.

TI: 'Cause you figure he's up there trying to get funding or contributions --

HM: Yeah.

TI: And that would be a great time to --

HM: Talk to him, yeah, and see what his conditions were. And so we had the dinner and Tom placed the question to Mineta and said, "What would it take for you to sponsor a bill in Congress to do reparations for Japanese Americans?" And well, he came out with these general statements. "Well, you have to get the support of the general Japanese American population, you have to get the support of the congressmen in your local areas," and all this kind of stuff. So Tom asked him specifically about, what conditions are you talking about? And so he said, "Well, you have to get the JACL to support you." Anyway, I asked the question, "What in terms of JACL are you looking for," because here I go to the board meeting and they don't give us their approval or anything. And he said, "Well, you have to pass the resolution for the convention." So I said, "Okay, what else do you want us to do?" And he says, "Well you have to get the general consensus of the JACL organization to support it." And I said, "Would you sponsor a bill if we can get that support and get that resolution passed?" And he said, "Yes, I will." Well, that was 1975. That was when he was looking for campaign money. 1976 comes around and we do pass that resolution in Sacramento. We get Mike Masaoka on our side, in fact that was our strategy, to look at all the articles that Masaoka generated opposing reparations, take all the points of view that he had, and have a rebuttal to every one of 'em that would be without question, overwhelming to him. And so we had Shosuke write a letter to Mike Masaoka three days before the convention, or I mean three days prior to the convention start, asking him for three day reservation, we want to discuss this issue of reparation.

TI: One of the reasons you had Shosuke write this was because he knew Mike...

HM: Yes.

TI: ...or he had worked with Mike previously.

HM: Yeah, yeah. My only exposure to Mike Masaoka up until that time was the time --

TI: At that party, right.

HM: I met him at that party in Washington D.C. So anyway, and Mike Masaoka agreed to it, which was a surprise to me because I thought hell, he's gonna oppose this meeting. And so we spent the two days, we thought it was gonna take us three days. We had all his statements put on a format sheet. I had 5 x 7 cards made up, and the question, and our rebuttal, and how it was substantiated. Had all these things put together. And so for two days we met with him. And into the, well, it was about noon of the second day he says, "Okay, I'll support you guys. I'll put it in my sayonara speech." And he did. He did support it. But then he reneged after that. [Laughs]

TI: But at least at that event -- this is the 1976 JACL National Convention in Sacramento --

HM: Well --

TI: They passed it.

<End Segment 31> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 32>

HM: Well, we had a couple of things going for us because we had -- Gerald Ford was President at that time on the Biennial function for the country, the 1976, 19... well, 1776 to (1976) Biennial situation.

TI: Right the 1776 to 1976, right.

HM: We had him write the "American Promise" which had the recision function for E.O. 9066.

TI: That happened earlier that year on February 19, 1976.

HM: Yes. And so anyway, I guess Dave Ushio felt kind of guilty about the fact that we did all the work and they got all the credits for it. So on the program that they had for that Sacramento convention, the program, main program sheet, had the "American Promise" right on the front cover. They didn't talk about who did it, but it was on the front cover. So when we went to that convention, Mike Masaoka was kinda interested in how we did that. And so that was in the two day session that we had with him. So I explained to him what avenues of approach we took and he said -- I told him that since Sugiyama and Ushio wouldn't give us any support, we did it ourselves. And he was kinda surprised. But that kind of changed his attitude about these crazy guys from Seattle. So he had a little bit more respect than he had prior to that.

TI: Because then at that --

HM: He didn't know where we were coming from. He didn't know how powerful we were. The fact that we could get to Governor Evans and get to Nelson Rockefeller and get to Gerald Ford, and be able to do this.

<End Segment 32> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 33>

TI: Let's actually tell that story, but let's finish up with the '76 convention. It's sort of an important time in that, not only did you get Mike Masaoka's support, but they passed a resolution supporting the Seattle Plan --

HM: Yeah, in fact we had the whole plan in the resolution as an addendum to it and they passed it unanimously in the convention.

TI: Right. And furthermore, they formed a national committee to focus specifically on reparations at that point. They called it The National Committee for Reparations.

HM: Yeah. [Laughs] Yeah.

TI: And that was, so that was sort of... in some ways, a high point in what you had been doing to get it this far. And this was all, in some ways, in response to that conversation with Mineta, saying if we got all these things done he would --

HM: Sponsor a bill.

TI: Sponsor a bill. And so you felt that by doing this...

HM: We had most of the --

TI: The next step would be Mineta --

HM: And I felt that since we were able to educate the people in Seattle, that every other Japanese American community could do the same thing and we should be able to get full congressional support in Washington, Oregon, California, but this was a total misconception on my part. Because these other cities, well they didn't have a group like well, Raymond Okamura and these guys represent. They didn't want to study. They didn't want to really get well-versed into the subject so that they could discuss it with any group, be it Caucasian, or general public or Nikkei or whatever. So I had expected a lot more from these different chapters. But the JACL isn't that powerful organization. It is just a bunch of chapters that meet socially, mostly, and maybe politically on some instances, but they're not that active.

<End Segment 33> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 34>

TI: Let's go back -- let's have you tell the story about the recision of E.O. 9066 because that's an interesting process that you went through, essentially used state connections to make it happen.

HM: Well, this is one example of where grassroots organizations, if they use the right connections and get the right people to support 'em can do something very effectively in a short period of time. And I have to give a lot of credit to Tom Koizumi and Ruth Woo and James Dolliver and people that helped us in this effort, Governor Evans, Nelson Rockefeller and even President Gerald Ford. And well, since Tom Koizumi was active in the political scene... when I came back from San Francisco in '74, I had a long discussion with Tom. And I said, "Hey, I have no hope of using JACL as an active board for getting E.O. 9066 revoked." And all the stuff that I researched at that law library indicated it's in the Federal Code. It was part of the Federal Code. And they were, the War Powers Act enabled the President of the United States to invoke this kind of power. And the thing wrong with E.O. 9066, it was a very innocuous document. It doesn't say that you're gonna put Japanese Americans into camps, it just says that they can make military security areas where they deem necessary, and then take proper security actions. This was the forerunner of the Internal Security Act, by the way, if you want to go back to real congressional history. But I told Tom, we should at least revoke this darn thing. This was the forerunner, precursor of Public Law 503 that set up the legislative action to throw us into camps. If we can't get rid of this thing, then anything that we do wouldn't have much meaning. Well, Tom said, "Well we gotta do this other thing about the Asian engineer thing." And I said, I told him, "Hell, this is uppermost priority and we gotta get this thing done." And I said hey, you know all the political realms in this thing, and at that time Mitch Matsudaira was the Asian American Affairs Director. And I said, you know Mitch and Mitch has been involved with you on this EEO process, and in fact Mitch lost his job because he was involved with EEO thing, by the way. And that's why he became the director at Olympia. So I said, "Hey, let's use all our contacts and let's make this thing work." Well, Tom knew Phil Hayasaka, who was the equal opportunity person for the City of Seattle. And Phil was, going back to high school, we were bumping each other for candidacy for class officer, and I had a very high respect for Phil from way back. And I knew he could do a lotta things.

TI: So he was kind of like a rival of yours?

HM: Yeah. [Laughs] But anyway, Tom said okay, "Let's line up all these people. Let's see if we can get support from these individuals. And let's see if we can go through the governor's office because Ruth is the Executive Secretary now in Olympia. She can pull a lot of strings for us."

TI: And you felt that the governor was a good choice because of his relationship with Nelson Rockefeller --

HM: Yeah, because --

TI: Who was, at that point he was Vice President of the United States.

HM: Yeah, in fact, he introduced Nelson Rockefeller at the National Republican Convention, I think. Anyway, so we had all this, and we made a flow chart of who is connected with whom, just like a dumb engineer does. And said, I told Tom, "Let's get Ruth to get us an appointment with somebody on Evans' staff. And let's explain the situation to him and let's see if he's gonna want to do anything." So that's what we pursued. He contacted Ruth, and Ruth talked with Phil Hayasaka and talked with Mitch Matsudaira and she talked to Governor Evans, and Governor Evans decided to put James Dolliver, his Chief of Staff on this thing, since Dolliver was an attorney. And so we met with him near the Seattle Center and Dolliver was so convinced that they had revoked E.O. 9066 that he said, "There's not a remote chance that this thing is still empowered." And I said no, this is the status of the thing, and it's in the Federal Code. And I gave him the Federal Code number. And he says, "I'm sure they have revoked it." So I said well, "In the event that it isn't revoked, would you follow up on this thing for us?" And he says, "Well, I'll do what I can." So he does his research and sure enough it isn't revoked. So a week later, a week and a half later he calls me up and he says, "Yeah, I think you're right. This has not been revoked." And so I said, I asked him what action he's gonna take and he says he'll bring it up with the governor. And so Evans gets informed about it and he says he wants Dolliver to go to Washington D.C. to see what the Department of Justice thinks about the thing, and maybe get into the Domestic Affairs Office. So that's what he did.

Evans authorized the trip for Dolliver and he went to Washington D.C., and went to the Department of Justice and they verified it, and it goes to the Domestic Affairs Office and then the Domestic Affairs Office is willing to help cooperate. [Laughs] And this is just by coincidence. And so when he came back from Washington he says, "Hey, if you want to do something about this thing, I think if Governor Evans is willing to take action, I think we could get something done." And he mentioned, well, there's some connections he could make within the White House. He didn't say who at that time. Anyway, he made three trips, and every trip he made he felt more convinced that it could be done. And so the connection was made with Nelson Rockefeller, and then Rockefeller -- from Dolliver to Evans to Rockefeller, and Rockefeller put it on Gerald Ford's desk.

<End Segment 34> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 35>

HM: And the Domestic Affairs Office in the White House came back and says, "What do you propose to be in this document that would revoke EO 9066?" And I -- in the midst of my Boeing work I, in the one afternoon I drafted a document --

TI: And that was the precursor to the American Promise?

HM: Yeah, but see we lost control of it because the JACL, the Washington D.C. representative got wind of it. What Ford had done was he asked the Domestic Affairs Office what day this revocation should take place? And his two dates that he mentioned was the anniversary date of the first E.O. 9066, 1942 date.

TI: Which would be February 19th.

HM: And the other date was December 7th.

TI: The bombing of Pearl Harbor.

HM: Yeah. So this woman calls me up at Boeing and I said, "No, you can't consider December 7th. It has to be February 19th." And I was very emphatic. And she couldn't understand why I was so emphatic. And I says, "Hey, these are two different issues. This is the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Imperial Forces, and we're American citizens and this is the act that President Roosevelt did to us." And she finally consented. But then she said that they were looking at the draft that we prepared for them and I sent it by fax, and I don't even know where I kept my original copy. But she said, "We're thinking about making some revisions to it." And then she said, "We'll have to have it approved by other people." And I didn't know -- I didn't realize at that time that they were in contact with the Washington D.C. office of JACL. Anyway, that's where they contacted. And then they said all the arrangements are going to be made through that organization because that's who was affected. Well, this is one of the deals where in order for the Washington D.C. office to keep its reputation, there was supposed to be notification to all the key members of the participants in this area. So the night before, this was February 18th, there's a telephone message on my log when I went home and it says that I'm supposed to take the airplane to DC to be at this ten o'clock presentation by Gerald Ford. And here it's nine o'clock at night, and I wasn't about to take the red-eye.

TI: Do you think that was withheld on purpose?

HM: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

TI: That there's no way you could make it?

HM: Because two days earlier, Evans' office had an invitation for both Dolliver and Governor Evans. And so Evans gave his invitation to Mitch Matsudaira. But Mitch thought that we were being given the same invitation also so he just didn't even bother to notify us.

TI: So at the actual event, February 19, 1976, as Gerald Ford signed it, it was with JACL people there.

HM: Yeah, And Ed Yamamoto, who was the "Reppa Camp (Advocate)," he was the Northwest Director for the reparation movement, he was another block grant guy, he was sitting in his wheelchair and with the rest of 'em, and Mitch Matsudaira got pushed to the back. And Mineta and those guys were all in the back of Gerald Ford. So it was kind of an interesting situation. But that was one situation where if you could plan these things and know the connections, and know how to get to these people, you can get some very interesting things done. And --

TI: Well, how did you feel about not getting credit for the work that you did?

HM: Well, I thought, at least we did it. It was a situation where nobody gave us support. National JACL didn't give us support. In fact Roger Daniels keeps maintaining that it was Hiram Fong, the senator from Hawaii that did this. Well Hiram Fong didn't do anything but write a letter of endorsement for that action. He had nothing to do with it. But anyway this is what Roger Daniels says. And in fact that's what came out in the LA, UCLA meeting. He came up and said it was due to Hiram Fong, and I questioned his information. But anyway, that's the way they write history and if you don't... the whole pathway that we generated was kind of an interesting pathway. Well like Ruth Woo she's very modest about the things that she does, and she was very instrumental in some of these activities, very, very modest.

<End Segment 35> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.