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-01-0025

<Begin Segment 25>

SS: Oh yes, and this is something which I should mention. The... [pauses]

FA: Well, Shosuke, the Lowry bill was tabled in favor of a congressional study.

SS: Yeah, that was a deliberate delaying tactic by Masaoka. I think most people who use their common sense on that, would have felt as I did that we should go right ahead with it. To heck with that delaying. That delayed it by two years, you know. At least two years.

FA: Well the redress commission hearings were held in 1981, the bill wasn't signed by President Reagan until 1988.

SS: Yeah. But it was delayed from time to time, by delaying tactics introduced by Masaoka.

FA: Well, the argument was that they needed the foundation laid for public understanding and public education on the issue. So the commission...

SS: That was Masaoka plea for his bit of delaying that thing. I was almost going crazy those days because the Issei were dying off rapidly. I knew that if they delayed it any more, they would be, they would be dead. They wouldn't be around to collect redress and my fears proved to be true. I'll never forgive Masaoka.

FA: When President Reagan finally signed the bill in 1988, August, what were your thoughts?

SS: I thought he signed it too late. Far too late. Too many people had died in between. And that was all Masaoka's idea.

SF: Let's go back a bit. After the war, you went to New York and you got involved with the JACL in New York City?

SS: Yeah.

FA: How did you feel about that, since you were so critical of their role during the war to be involved in the JACL after the war?

SS: That was the only organization in existence, Japanese American. And if I had known more about how their minds worked, I would never have appealed to them. I thought they might have some use since they were widely recognized as a Japanese American organization. But it turned out, with Masaoka there, he was out to slow it down as far as he possibly could. That's the way he struck me.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.