Densho Digital Archive
Emiko and Chizuko Omori Collection
Title: Frank Emi Interview
Narrator: Frank Emi
Interviewers: Emiko Omori (primary), Chizu Omori (secondary)
Location: San Francisco, California
Date: March 20, 1994
Densho ID: denshovh-efrank-01-0010

<Begin Segment 10>

EO: Talk about how you were sending out these bulletins and news releases to various outside...

FE: Oh, yes. While this, all this was going on, we were sending out news releases to the different newspapers, such as the Pacific Citizen, Denver Post, Billings Gazette, Cheyenne Eagle, I mean, Wyoming Eagle, and United Press and AP. The reason that we were doing that because we wanted the public to know what was going on in camp, that, how we were treated and how we as prisoners were being told to go into the army as if we were free citizens on the outside and we figured that maybe the public might be fair-minded enough to understand our position. So I sent news releases to these papers and the only paper that published our releases was the Rocky Shimpo, in which James Omura was the English editor at the time. And he not only printed the releases that I sent him, but he would editorially support us saying that we were fighting for a constitutional principle and he thought we had a right to do that. And for that we really respected him and held him in very high esteem. The Pacific Citizen would never print any of our releases. They editorialized all right, but they editorialized, but they editorialized calling us saboteurs, and disloyal seditionists, etcetera, etcetera. They really vilified us.


EO: You sound very organized.

FE: Well, I guess we felt that we had such a righteous case, that the public would, once they understood the situation, would sympathize with us and maybe the Congress might do something, but actually it just spontaneous, we felt that it was desperate times take desperate measures. [Laughs] In fact, I did get an answer from Harold Ickes and Attorney General Biddle when I sent them copies of George Ishikawa's letter. He says, these, this is how the boys feel about this, they're incarcerated in county jail now, etcetera, and they gave me very, very nice answers. I might have brought copies of it today.

EO: They gave you a nice answer? What did they say?

FE: They said, "We appreciate what you sent us," etcetera, etcetera, and I don't remember the exact wording but I brought a copy of it today so you can see it.

EO: So, you were beginning to tell us about this newspaper called the Pacific Citizen? Can you tell us what the Pacific Citizen is?


FE: The Pacific Citizen is the newspaper put out by the Japanese American Citizens League. It's like their house organ. And that paper really called, not only called us seditionists, disloyals and all kinds of other bad names, but they also came down very hard on James Omura, saying he was the one to blame for all this stuff that was going on in camp, etcetera. And the Heart Mountain Sentinel was the camp newspaper which was really coming out bad, very hard against us. They called us provocateurs, dim-witted, sneak attack, another Pearl Harbor, etcetera, about what the Fair Play Committee was doing. And not only in one or two but several, several editorials, they came out. And one was so bad that I wrote a very long letter to the editor rebutting that and it had to come out in two issues because it was so long. And Paul Nakadate also wrote them a rebuttal letter and I think, if I'm not mistaken, Minoru Tamesa might have written a letter.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 1994, 2003 Densho and Emiko Omori. All Rights Reserved.