Densho Digital Archive
Frank Abe Collection
Title: Andy Noguchi Interview
Narrator: Andy Noguchi
Interviewer: Frank Abe
Location: Merced, California
Date: August 29, 1999
Densho ID: denshovh-nandy-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

FA: Could you just tell me your name, for the benefit of our editors, and why you're here today.

AN: Sure. My name is Andy Noguchi, I'm with the Florin chapter of the JACL, and I'm here to explain some of the background about this resolution and support of the resisters.

FA: What is the resolution and the background in support of the resisters?

AN: Well, basically, the resolution is to recognize the constitutional stand of the resisters back during the war years, making a very difficult decision like many other people had to make, too. And the resolution also talks about -- in addition to recognition, making an apology from the national JACL to them, and having a recognition ceremony for the resisters.

FA: Now you, you wrote this resolution?

AN: There were a number of us that sponsored this resolution: the Florin chapter which I belong to, Sequoia Golden Gate, the Northern California District Council was a co-sponsor of it, and we got together and decided it was, it was time. It would be important for the JACL to do something like this.

FA: Why?

AN: I think it's important because when you learn about the resisters' story, you find out that they're really a sterling example of standing up for constitutional rights during very difficult times, and everyone had to make really tough decisions there. They decided to protest in one of the few ways they could at that time, in order to stand up for Japanese American rights. I think that that's very important for us to have as an American lesson, as a lesson for the Japanese American community, too, and for that sort of legacy to exist for us. I also think it's important for the Japanese American community to have that sort of a lesson out there for people to be reconciled to divergent points of view. I don't think there are any really bad or good choices that were made back that time. It was, there was no winning choices, you know, as far as internment, just because of what the government put people through. So I think that's important, I think it's important for the JACL, and the JACL to recognize whatever involvement they had in the issue at that time, what some of the national leaders said about the resisters. And to reconcile the community and be in a better position to move forward, deal with the things we have to. Summing it up, I would just say that this resolution's intent is reconciling our past in an attempt to strengthen our future. Because we need to be together, united as a community in order to, to move forward. And we have very many challenges right now with discrimination, hate crimes, and other issues, and we need to be strong to do that.

FA: I understand about the resisters being a sterling example, but why should JACL apologize?

AN: Well, I think the resolution talks about failure to recognize their stand. And I think everyone agrees that -- especially during the war years -- it was not looked on positively by the national leadership of JACL. I'm not talking about all of the, the membership, the thousands of members then or any group of veterans or anyone else like that, but as far as contributing to some of the, the negative feelings and the negative statements and treatment, I think the national JACL leadership at that time had a role. And I think it's fitting to move forward now, just like Japanese Americans fought for redress over many years, telling people, "Stand up for constitutional rights as Americans." And so now I think it's very fitting that JACL and Japanese Americans stand up and recognize the constitutional stand of the resisters, also.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1999, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.