Densho Digital Archive
Japanese American Film Preservation Project Collection
Title: Eiichi Edward Sakauye Interview I
Narrator: Eiichi Edward Sakauye
Interviewer: Wendy Hanamura
Location: San Jose, California
Date: May 14, 2005
Densho ID: denshovh-seiichi-02-0014

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ES: This is everyday scene at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center station. This is one of the trains that the government had sent here to recruit laborers to harvest crops in nearby cities. They were very short of harvesting, harvesters, so they recruited workers from camp, and they sent the train. And trainloads of people went to various cities to help harvest the crop.

Yes, these people are coming in from Tule Lake.

WH: Why were they transferring camps?

ES: Well, they were using Tule Lake as a "no-no" camp, and these people are the loyal aliens as well as loyal citizens that are being transferred to other centers. And Tule Lake people were one of the groups that came to Heart Mountain, Wyoming. That's Mr. Embrey of the housing department, got off the train. Now they're about to board a truck to their various units. Now, after the Tule Lake people were put in this, their different apartments, the "no-no" boys, or the boys' families, the "no-no" families, or those who wished to be sent to Japan, they boarded the same train and they're headed out to Tule Lake.

Now, this is another activity of the camp, is baseball, which was very popular. These are the block managers playing baseball.

On the right, we have a visitor from Arizona looking over the garden. My mother and my father, visitor, and my brother.

This is another induction ceremony, we had 457 or -67 people in service already. Each of the inductees are placing flowers, I mean, star. Chairman of the block managers, Mr. Howard Otomura, saying a few words.

WH: What was the feeling in the camp around volunteering for service at this point?

ES: Well, this is Miss Virgil Paine, she was the head of the welfare department, and she was very, very understanding, and very helpful to the evacuees. There's Mr. Nako and his Boy Scout band. Well, the feeling was that there were a group of people that felt that they were treated unjust, because denying their rights as an American citizen, denying their rights of freedom. So if those rights were restored, they would serve. But the government never restored their rights, so they were classified as "no-no" boys, or wished, a group to be sent back to Japan. That's why they were separated. My policy at that particular time, when I was chairman of the block managers, it was a very difficult decision. And for me it was very difficult, too, because I was denied my rights as American citizen, I've been, my rights as American citizen were denied, and treated as such, and I just felt terribly, but I did not know what to do. But I feel strongly that I am American citizen, therefore I went to induction. But due to my age and my handicap, then I was deferred.

Now, this is Bon Odori, the Japanese custom, annual festival, dance. These girls had sent for their kimonos, others, you see ordinary, everyday clothes. And usually it was toward the evening, so artificial light.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2005 Densho and The Japanese American Film Preservation Project. All Rights Reserved.