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-01-0028

<Begin Segment 28>

FA: There is one other thing you wanted to talk about, Shosuke, and that was the Issei who returned to Seattle after the camps.

SS: Yeah.

FA: You wanted to tell me about the fellow who jumped off the bridge. Do you want to just go ahead and tell that real quickly?

SS: Yeah. His name was Mr. Aoki. He had two sons and a daughter and I was a friend of both the sons. They're all dead now. Mr. Aoki ran, well, he must have been under a lease. He couldn't have owned a building in those days. But he, he was... Mr. Aoki, as you know, was the only person I know of that jumped off of a bridge and ended his life that way. He came from the samurai class and that influence was evident in the way he carried himself and the way he behaved. He was respected by everyone that knew him and I thought the method he chose to end his own suffering and to show his contempt for what the government had done to him was quite honorable and appropriate under the circumstances and I respect him for it. And I think that kind of pride, where he would not allow himself to go on his knees to ask for relief and chose death instead, that is a pride and an attitude I think is admirable. If more Americans had that same spirit, this country would not be in the mess it's now in.

FA: Just to give for background, he was in need because, why was he in need of relief?

SS: Well, he had lost his lease on that building. The business.


SF: Looking back at your whole life in terms of the war and in terms of the evacuation and incarceration, the settlement and all that. Would you have done anything differently in retrospect now that you kind of look at the whole picture or not?

SS: Well, maybe I should have been even stronger in my denunciations of the JACL. To this day, I would like to see that organization disbanded. I'd like to see them make a public apology to the entire Japanese community for misleading others into taking such a soft-kneed attitude toward the various injustices that were inflicted on us during World War II. They should have protested at every turn. Instead the JACL blocked any kind of protest... [Interruption] Hosokawa's, I should say, Hosokawa's father is the guy that was looked upon with suspicion by the Issei. He was involved in a collapse of a brokerage firm that was run by Bill Hosokawa's father. Hosokawa's father had been in partnership with an Issei who suddenly absconded with all the money that was held in trust by him for his brokerage customers. And Hosokawa, his statement was, "I don't know what he did with that money." He claimed total ignorance. And most Japanese, the older people in the Japanese community, they didn't believe him. They couldn't have worked together all that many years and been totally ignorant of the situation.

FA: Of course, that's just speculation.

SS: Of course, that's pure speculation, but that was the rumor.

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.