Densho Digital Archive
Frank Abe Collection
Title: Clifford Uyeda Interview
Narrator: Clifford Uyeda
Interviewers: Frank Chin (primary); Frank Abe (secondary)
Location: San Francisco, California
Date: May 5, 1996
Densho ID: denshovh-uclifford-01-0007

<Begin Segment 7>

FC: How did JACL treat the resisters? The resisters were... how did the JACL regard the resisters' stance, if they were resisting the draft in order to test the constitutionality of the evacuation?

CU: Well, I think, I think the JACL did not want anybody to resist the camp, mainly because they did not want anyone to resist the government. They felt that that was unpatriotic, so they considered the resisters as being unpatriotic, un-American, and they said so openly. And I think this really hurt me when I saw some of the statements, especially against the Heart Mountain resisters. The states, I could hear some of the statements that was being made against them, I thought, my gosh, how could an organization that is supposed to be -- of course, by 1960 they claimed to be a civil rights organization -- talk this way? At least you should appreciate the fact that there were some Japanese Americans -- I really felt strongly that, I was so glad when I heard that there were Japanese American resisters, because Japanese Americans, like any other ethnic group in the United States, no, we're, we're not all the same, we're diverse. There are people who agree with things and people who disagree. And yet, to take these people who did disagree and to call them names as if they were un-American, unpatriotic, that was a pretty cruel thing to do.

FC: Did this actually cost the resisters in the community? Did it cause, was it cause for some suffering?

CU: I think so. No, because, it was very interesting because many resisters still, in my mind, to this day, still do not feel comfortable with the rest of the Japanese Americans because they had resisted, they were the different people. And that is, in that way they are sort of ostracized. I think, just make, rather than to feel that, try to understand them, instead of trying to understand them, they called them names. Now, I heard some of the, a few things which I'm not quite sure because I don't have the documentation, but I heard that some of the resisters had a very difficult time after the war even when they had a job, because some of the veterans would find out where they were working, they would go to their boss and say, "Fire the guy," because that person had refused to serve his country during wartime. That type of thing really is hard to understand. But the veterans all seem to accept that, they felt that if you didn't serve your country, you were un-patriotic and therefore un-American. Anything, so you don't deserve anything here in America.

The other, I think the other thing which really bothers me a great deal is that when the veterans say that, "It was we who got the redress for the Japanese Americans; if it wasn't for the 442 and the MIS, there would be no redress," that really bothers me because redress was not for fighting so well in the army. If that was so, how about the other Americans who fought so well? They're not getting anything out of it. I think the redress was for the, for the incarceration, that's what it was for, and not for being a heroic soldier. And the people who were... that is, the resisters had never asked for apology from the veterans. That's a complete, mistaken notion that many of the veterans have, because many of the veterans say, "Why should we, we be apologizing to the resisters?" Well, the resisters have never asked for an apology from them. They said they really honored them, they looked up to the veterans, because that was their choice, to go into the army, and they fought well and they got the medals. But for the resisters, they had, they made their choice, too, but nobody gave them any credit for the choice that they made.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 1998, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.