Densho Digital Archive
Frank Abe Collection
Title: Frank Emi Interview II
Narrator: Frank Emi
Interviewer: Frank Abe (primary); Frank Chin (secondary)
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: January 30, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-efrank-03-0023

<Begin Segment 23>

FA: You recently got into a pissing match with a fellow named George Yoshinaga. What... what's the question I want here?

FC: What does George Yoshinaga mean? Does he speak for the community?

FE: No, I think George Yoshinaga speaks for himself. Whatever stuff that he dishes out, which is a lot of times, un-... is not true.

FC: Does he represent a significant body of the Nisei...

FE: Well, I think he represents a lot of the very conservative veterans, and maybe some of the conservative JACLers. Although at times he speaks, he criticizes the JACL. But he's almost... very critical of the resisters.

FC: What brought you out to respond to George Yoshinaga? What was the thing that he said, that really, that, "I'm gonna answer this"?

FE: Well, I can't hardly remember it unless I read his first article that prompted me to resist -- to rebut. But my first article to rebut him was quite long. It came out in two, two or three issues of the Rafu Shimpo. But in a way, he was a blessing in disguise to us because I was able to publicize our platform. The Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee in detail came out for I don't know how many weeks. Back and forth, back and forth. And a lot of the letters that came in to the editor on this discussion, I would say ten to one was in support of the resisters.

FA: I know what I wanted to ask you. Do veterans, Nisei veterans still come up to you today and say, "You guys really sabotaged the whole cause"?

FE: Nobody's ever come up and said that to us, but I remember when the JACL, the Southwest Pacific JACL gave us, who gave us an apology, the Pacific Southwest District, the seventeen Nisei veterans wrote a letter to the editor in both the Rafu and the L.A. Times and I think the Pacific Citizen, saying that, "We don't have to apologize to the draft resisters." And this was stupid because we had never asked anybody to apologize to us. But some of the Nisei veterans are very paranoid that way.

FC: Way back when your father had the auto accident, made you leave school to take over the business, what was the nature of that accident? What got injured? What was the nature of his injuries?

FE: I think he broke some ribs. He got broadsided by a car and broke some ribs. After that he more or less retired from the business.

FC: How old was he at the time?

FE: He was in his fifties.

FC: And what kind of car was he driving?

FE: He was driving a Chevy truck.

FC: Family truck?

FE: Yeah, the one for the business. And this is amazing, when we were farming, when I was a little kid, he was going to the market with a truckload of cucumbers on a one-ton Ford Model T truck. And he got a head-on crash by a drunken driver that was driving a Studebaker and the whole load was thrown all over the street and the car was smashed, the other guy died, and he came out with a scratch on his ankle.

Male voice: In Salt Lake, were you, did you expect anything more than what you got when you went to Salt Lake when you spoke at the JACL convention? How disappointed were you?

FE: Well the one thing, they limited us on time. So there was too much we couldn't say.

Male voice: You had to be disappointed. Were you?

FE: Yeah, because I thought maybe, maybe they might apologize or something like that. And seeing Deborah Lim there, I figured... but they didn't even have her speak.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 1998, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.