Densho Digital Archive
Japanese American Film Preservation Project Collection
Title: Eiichi Edward Sakauye Interview II
Narrator: Eiichi Edward Sakauye
Interviewer: Wendy Hanamura
Location: San Jose, California
Date: May 14, 2005
Densho ID: denshovh-seiichi-03-0016

<Begin Segment 16>

WH: I wanted to talk a little bit about Ben Kuroki if you don't mind.

ES: Okay.

WH: We know from history that, you know, in the backdrop of Heart Mountain there was the whole resisters and kind of a lot of emotion around whether to go serve or not. What was it like to have this kind of, supposedly war hero come into the midst of all of that?

ES: Well, I was block chairman at the time, and they asked me the question, "What is your opinion after answering those questionnaires?" And I says to 'em, "It's very difficult. I myself was put in a difficult position. I am American citizen by birth, but I was not given the privilege or exercise my rights as an American citizen, only a short time after I was twenty-one years of age. Now they take away all my rights, and also deprived of my parents, many things, so I cannot tell you what you should, stand you should take. All I can say, let conscience be your guide, because your experience and my experience and suffering that we'd gone through, parents had gone through, was entirely different. If you feel as I do, or if you feel as somebody else do, that's your feeling. I'm not going to tell you what you should do." So I said, "My motto is 'let conscience be your guide.'"

WH: So that's what you would say to people when they came and said, "How shall I, what shall I do, 'yes-yes' or 'no-no'?"

ES: Yeah.

WH: Were you worried as a block manager when Ben Kuroki came that there would be riots?

ES: Yes, but there was no riot. Absolutely no riot when Ben Kuroki came. You can see from my pictures that he was welcome. Look at all the youngsters marching in the band. If there was a riot, then I'd been one of the persons that get criticized right away, being chairman of block manager.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2005 Densho and The Japanese American Film Preservation Project. All Rights Reserved.