Densho Digital Archive
Frank Abe Collection
Title: Art Hansen Interview
Narrator: Art Hansen
Interviewers: Frank Abe (primary); Frank Chin (secondary)
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: February 22, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-hart-01-0006

<Begin Segment 6>

FC: Could you go back just a bit, and how the JACL perceived, what JACL perceived as acts or attitudes of disloyalty.

AH: Well, at the beginning, even before the war, when the JACL is, is, I mean, before the evacuation, after, after Pearl Harbor, when the JACL becomes the spokespeople for the community, one of their preoccupations is with the fact that they have citizenship. They may not have the things that give them leadership within the Japanese American community because they don't have so much money and they don't have age and they don't have experience. But what they do have is the ear of the American government and the cooperation of the American government so they're empowered by them to do certain things. So one of the first things that they do is to start doing the bidding of the government in helping to run down information on so-called "disloyal people." And this is where the trouble really gets started for the JACL because they're somewhat flagrant in being able to cast dispersions at different people. Now, so this sets them on a course and especially when they start a committee within the JACL called the Anti-Axis League. And they have what they call muscular patriotism. And muscular patriotism is, is a hyper form of chauvinism, etcetera, that makes them better patriots by the number of people who are on their hit list almost. It's sort of like doing battle in war only it's being able to gratify your overlords by giving them quote/unquote "useful information in a crisis situation." And the amount of names that were turned in might have been significant in itself but then the rumors even about what they were doing, I think, escalated reality to the point that people perceived them in a very, very dangerous way. And I think that they had a, something of a honeymoon within the camps up until the end of 1942 when almost simultaneously in three different camps you have the Manzanar riot, and the Poston strike and you have an incident at Gila that almost becomes a bloody strike or a protracted, a bloody riot or a protracted strike. And this is, again, at the center of it is suspicions about the JACL.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 1998, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.