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-03-0008

<Begin Segment 8>

FA: Frank Emi, were you eligible for the draft?

FE: I was not eligible for the draft because at that time they were not drafting men with families, with children. So I wasn't affected by the draft, I had two children at that time. Some of the leaders, of the seven leaders that were later convicted, only three of them were actually eligible for the draft: Min Tamesa, Ben Wakaye and Sam Horino. And myself and Paul Nakadate, we were, we had families, so we weren't eligible, and Kiyoshi Okamoto was overage, he was in his forties, I think. And Mr. Kubota was in his forties and also he was an alien so he wouldn't be eligible for the draft. But I think the thing that brought us all together was the fact that it was such an unjust and unfair thing that was happening.

FA: Let me ask that question again: Frank, you were not eligible for the draft.

FE: No, I wasn't.

FA: Why didn't you, why did you resist?

FE: I felt so strongly about the unfairness of this whole thing, about the injustice that the government is compounding, they not only, was unjust when they kicked us out of California into these camps but now they were compounding their injustice by saying you were eligible for the draft and I felt that there was no end to it. We went quietly when they forced us out of our homes, but now, they want us to risk our lives for something that we weren't privy to, for democracy, which was denied us. I felt that there was a place and time when you have to stand up and fight for your rights.

FA: Tell me about the dues that, you collected dues.

FE: Yeah, we collected two dollars apiece from the Fair Play Committee members to set up a fund in case we had to have legal action instituted. So we had about close to two hundred paying members at that time. Although we had about four hundred at these mass meetings, not everybody signed up.

FA: And what did you use the money for?

FE: We used it in the beginning for buying materials for mimeographing machines, ink, paper and also telephone calls to the attorney, and I think we really didn't have enough money to pay for the attorney, we had to get donations after that, but for the initial payment and everything we used that.

FC: At what point did you get an attorney? '43, or after the draft was reinstated?

FE: After draft was reinstated. After the fellows were being arrested for resisting the draft.

FA: You described the JACL earlier as being an educated elite, whatever. Did you think of going to the JACL and asking for their assistance in your cause?

FE: Actually, we didn't because we didn't have much faith in the JACL.

FA: Tell me about the JACL and their response to the creation and strength of the Fair Play Committee.

FE: Well, they were very adamant in their stand against what the Fair Play Committee was doing. They said that we were creating a second Pearl Harbor, that we should be charged with sedition, and that we were undoing all the good things that the Nisei soldiers were doing. They really tried to tear us, tear us apart.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 1998, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.