Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Kunio Otani Interview
Narrator: Kunio Otani
Interviewers: Alice Ito (primary), Rebecca Walls (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: May 31, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-okunio-01-0020

<Begin Segment 20>

AI: Well now, as this process continued on, of the answering the "loyalty questions" and so forth, at some point, it became known that Tule Lake would become the so-called "segregation camp" for the so-called "disloyals."

KO: That's right.

AI: When did you hear about this? Or what did you first find out about this?

KO: Well I think being on the newspaper, I became aware that Tule Lake was being considered as a place where they were going to place people who had loyalties toward Japan, or that they were not comfortable having them live in the normal camps.

AI: Or as we said earlier, people who were perfectly loyal but, had to make a hard choice, for some reason had to answer, "no."

KO: That's right. And I really felt for those people, because I'm sure they were doing what their families dictated. But, when the situation came up, there were big meetings in camp and a lot of rabble-rousing, and people had block meetings and tried to -- they wanted to put up some united front against moving, and against showing any loyalty to the States. And so, I think a lot of ill feeling was created during that period, and whether they linger to this day or not, I don't know. But, it made it tough for the younger people. I think the people who were making most of the noise were older people, and you just sat back and listened. And you had your mind made up beforehand anyways. But it was a trying period.

AI: So it sounds like some of these, the older people were quite angry.

KO: They were. I don't know if it was the case in every block, but we had a couple people that were just dead set against cooperating with the government in any way. So they were asking to be placed in Tule Lake, or some segregation center that they were establishing.

RW: They didn't want to be a part of...? I mean, is that something more to do with the fact that they wanted to answer "no," did they just not want to be a part?

KO: Well... I think at some point, you had to make a decision whether you were going to be supportive of the United States, or not. I believe that's the way it went, I... you know, back in those days, I was not too aware of the politics of the whole thing. That's just my opinion.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.