Densho Digital Archive
Frank Abe Collection
Title: Paul Tsuneishi Interview
Narrator: Paul Tsuneishi
Interviewers: Frank Abe (primary); Frank Chin (secondary)
Location: Heart Mountain, Wyoming
Date: May 19, 1995
Densho ID: denshovh-tpaul-01-0004

<Begin Segment 4>

FC: Are you... how, how were the resisters treated in the community after the war up to the present?

PT: My awareness of the treatment of the resisters was that, as I became more familiar with them and came to know some of them, I realized that they were in a position of being ostracized still, after all these decades, and they would not voluntarily come out and say who they were. When I was able to put together a public hearing in 1989 in August in Los Angeles with Peter Irons as a featured speaker, we had very few resisters and people of conscience, probably only two or three that would publicly surface at that time.

FA: Are you aware of any ostracism after the war of the resisters?

FC: Personally, are you aware of...

PT: I, as a member of JACL, and helping to put forward forums publicly in support of them, I came to know James Omura, who has recently passed away, the only member of the press who supported the Fair Play Committee. And when he came, he told us the story of how he was ostracized, and hounded by the JACL, and he felt -- and it was true -- that he was never, be recognized within the Japanese American community until after he died. He passed away, he's not yet recognized, honored, least of all by JACL.

FC: In camp, how was the JACL perceived?

PT: I was eighteen and then nineteen in camp here at Heart Mountain, when the loyalty questionnaires came up. I was not a member of JACL. I was not aware of their activities in the other camps, especially Tule Lake. So I had, I was apolitical, I was a white person. I wanted to be drafted, I wanted to serve my country, so I had no involvement in that area of public opinion within the Japanese American community.

FC: How are you regarded today by the JACL following your attempts to restore the resisters to the community?

PT: I would say as a member of JACL, that I am basically, certainly not supported or encouraged to say that JACL must reclaim its civil rights roots if it wants to do anything further in a number of areas of concern for Japanese Americans. What we need, really, is a change in the mentality of the JACL leadership at its top level.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 1995, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.