Densho Digital Archive
Frank Abe Collection
Title: Mits Koshiyama Interview
Narrator: Mits Koshiyama
Interviewer: Frank Abe
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: August 15 & 16, 1993
Densho ID: denshovh-kmits-03-0006

<Begin Segment 6>

FA: Why do you think so many resisters came from Mountain View area?

MK: I can't answer that really. I don't know why. I guess maybe the Mountain View area was stronger in teaching constitutional laws in school. That's what I think.

FA: And why do you think that the largest organized resistance to the draft came at Heart Mountain as opposed to the other camps?

MK: Well, I think we had a lot of people from Los Angeles in Heart Mountain, and a lot of those people were well-versed in the Constitution. Well, I'll mention two names is, two or three names is like Kiyoshi Okamoto, Paul Nakadate, Frank Emi and those people. They were well-versed in the Constitution, and organized in an honorable fashion to fight racism and prejudice. Somewhere down the line, when you get pushed back so much, so far, someplace down the line you have to take a stand someplace. That's what happened.

FA: Do you think leadership was a factor, and if so, tell me.

MK: Well, I believe we had very good leadership, people who really believed in the Constitution, who spoke constitutional issues, citizenship rights, I think the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee was organized with that in sight, the constitutional issues, and that we had very good leaders. Kiyoshi Okamoto at the beginning called himself the Fair Play Committee of One, and he went around, all around camp talking about the Constitution in those days, and why it was wrong for us to be put into camp. Because he wasn't a JACL person he's not recognized. But if he was a JACL person he'd probably be a hero today.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 1993, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.