Densho Digital Archive
Emiko and Chizuko Omori Collection
Title: Shosuke Sasaki Interview
Narrator: Shosuke Sasaki
Interviewers: Chizu Omori (primary), Emiko Omori (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: September 28, 1992
Densho ID: denshovh-sshosuke-02-0014

<Begin Segment 14>

CO: Well, how do you feel about the internment at this, you know, fifty years later?

SS: All I can say is that it should never have happened, and I regret that it did. But since it did happen, I'm glad I went in camp with those people. Most people looked, well, for one thing, there were, that broke up a lot of families, because the husbands were separated from their wives, you know. And these wives, they wanted somebody back, because they were having a hard time controlling the kids and so forth in camp, so they were trying to get their husbands back. Well, these wives would sometimes write letters, petition letters, in Japanese. And since I was about the only one that they knew who was able to do that, I used to translate, translate those into English. And I had a typewriter that I had sent from Seattle one time, so I used to type up their letters. But they, and of course I was glad to do it. I refused to accept any money whatever for that kind of thing. And one or two of the women later, they, they brought me a dish of cookies that they had gotten from somewhere. But an occasional half a dozen cookies or so was about all the compensation I ever got from doing that. Even then I told them it was not necessary to bring things like that to me. But later I found out that in some of the other camps, some of the JACL bigwigs were charging these women for translating those letters or writing letters for them. They were charging from forty to fifty dollars a letter. And I thought, well, if under those circumstances those bums were willing to take that kind of money away from these poor women, they deserved to be beaten up.

CO: Were these letters helpful, do you know?

SS: Now, that I do not know. I remember one of the letters that I wrote was a letter for the wife of our Buddhist minister. And this was a letter that was signed by all the members of the church. And later, when I came back to Seattle, I went to see the minister, and I remember he thanked me for having written the letter and petition that led to his release. But whether the other letters worked, I never even asked. I didn't know who these men were, and these wives were total strangers to me.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 1992, 2003 Densho and Emiko Omori. All Rights Reserved.