Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: May K. Sasaki Interview
Narrator: May K. Sasaki
Interviewers: Lori Hoshino (primary), Alice Ito (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: October 28, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-smay-01-0036

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LH: The, I know there are a number of issues that were, that JACL had to ponder during the time you're very heavily involved with them, and the redress was very important. But I know that you mentioned talking about an apology to a group of Japanese Americans that made the decision to answer "no-no" on the questionnaire about being willing to serve in the army or not...

MS: In the military. Yes, I think we decided, during the redress movement, that it was a time to heal wounds for everybody. And one of them was that we wanted to then... the JACL had a part in -- I'm not sure how you would say it -- but those who did sign "no-no" and say they would not serve in the military -- were treated very harshly by the JACL and other community. And there was a time now with redress coming for all of us that we should heal those wounds and admit that just as the United States government was now willing to admit they were wrong, JACL could certainly admit that they were wrong at that time. To chastise and to treat so harshly a group of people who decided that they were loyal in their own way and their loyalty was to say, "No, I won't serve and it's because I am an American citizen and you're putting me in this bind." Much dissension and much divisiveness occurred because of this among the Japanese American community, and we had to heal that. We did put forward a resolution to try to have that healing come about, and we were disappointed that it did not go through. Old feelings are still there, and I think probably some people will go to the grave with those feelings, and that's unfortunate. But those were hard times and the feelings that started at that point is deep in all of us and it's hard to get rid of them. And so I didn't realize how deep that was until that resolution was defeated. But I think there'll come a time when we'll be able to pass that resolution because we are becoming more enlightened. And I think the younger generation is now starting to take over, and I think they understand more. That this has to come about. Otherwise we're not all healed.

<End Segment 36> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.