Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Shosuke Sasaki Interview
Narrator: Shosuke Sasaki
Interviewers: Frank Abe (primary), Stephen Fugita (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: May 18, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-sshosuke-01-0017

<Begin Segment 17>

FA: How about the second complaint, listening to the JACL?

SS: Well, they, didn't promise one way or the other.

FA: How did they act after that?

SS: Well, they didn't seem to be insisting on their right to listen to Sakamoto. We told them that that would cause trouble. That there would be very, very serious trouble. I meant people would be murdered. And so I think they realized the problem so I had friends check with the people who were working in the office and from them, we learned that Sakamoto had stopped going up there, then we knew that his advice had been rejected. Because otherwise he had been going up there every day.

FA: There is something you're not telling me. In Camp Harmony, ordinarily law abiding Nisei were contemplating murder of one of their own kind.

SS: Yeah. Well, wait a minute. Not Nisei now. The man who spoke to me about murder was an Issei.

FA: Japanese Americans, Issei and Nisei. What was it that they felt so strongly about that they were considering murdering one of their own?

SS: Well, they were fed up with the way the camp was being run. None of our complaints were being listened to and it was getting cold. We needed that, number one. And we were hearing no rumors of any coal being ordered or being expected and it was really cold that early September, I remember. And I was, in fact I was really afraid that if this kept up, there would be a lot of illnesses break out in camp and the JACL would be blamed for that.

FA: If you had to go to court, if Sakamato were murdered and you did go to court, what would you have told the court? How would you have excused murder, how would you have justified it?

SS: I'd say under the circumstances, our requests were being ignored and that meant the lives of people who might get sick. If it gets cold enough, we'd all be sick.

SF: How did you know that Sakamoto was tied to these particular things like not getting enough fuel and things of that sort?

SS: Well, they blamed him. He probably did nothing to obstruct the delivery of coal. But on the other hand, if you were supposed to be the spokesman, the chosen spokesman by the WRA, then it was the fault of the government not to correct that situation.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.