Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Toru Sakahara - Kiyo Sakahara Interview I
Narrator: Toru Sakahara, Kiyo Sakahara
Interviewer: Dee Goto
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: February 24, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-storu_g-01-0031

<Begin Segment 31>

DG: So you had been active in JACL before that?

TS: I was a member of the Puyallup chapter.

DG: When did you join that?

TS: Oh, several years I think, before.

DG: What kind of activities... oh, you said that Farmers' Association changed to the JACL later.

TS: No, I think the Farmers' Association sponsored the Seinenkai, the youth groups which was, went into sports and things like that and socials, and that developed into the Puyallup Valley JACL.

DG: What were their activities in those early...?

TS: Mostly social.

DG: Then why would they need a JACL then? You had the Seinenkai.

TS: Because the JACL had a loyalty program.

KS: Yeah.

DG: What was that?

TS: To become good United States citizens. [Laughs]

DG: Why did they have such a thing?

TS: That goes back to the beginnings of JACL, and there's guys like Jimmy Sakamoto and Clarence Arai and Tuck Nogaki and all those people that started a Citizens League. Basically, I think Japanese have a innate desire to serve their community and this is part of it. Even if the program of the group itself may be just social, they have a feeling that, "I'm a member of a loyalty group." And that was constant... and besides, what else is there to do, besides socials? Until the war breaks out and then there's some real issues that start coming up, you know? So the...

DG: Why did you join?

TS: Because I'm a joiner, I guess, basically.

DG: With some friends?

TS: Uh-huh.

KS: All that and I think by then people looked to Toru for leadership.

DG: Because you said you organized something else earlier, some conferences.

TS: Well, yeah.

KS: He was on the organizing committee for that, you were very young, but you were.

TS: I remember being invited to make a talk before the young Christian group that had a gathering at some beach. I wrote a long, impetuous dissertation on leadership and community obligations and so forth and so on. The leadership group in Seattle happened to be at this leadership... and so when I went to school in '34, I naturally joined a Methodist Seattle group and from there the organization of different young peoples groups and different churches formed a conference sponsor...

DG: Called the YPCC.

TS: They elected me General Chairman of that '36 Conference that was held at the University Christian Church.

<End Segment 31> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.