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

<Begin Segment 1>

FA: For the benefit of our editor, would you tell us your name and why you're here today?

KT: Kenji Taguma. I'm here today to cover this as a news event for the Nichi Bei Times, the oldest Japanese American bilingual daily in northern California.

FA: So what is happening today?

KT: What is happening today? This is part of a process that has been going on, of course, following a resolution presented by the Florin chapter of the JACL and some other sponsoring organizations trying to bring some closure to a deeply divisive issue that has been festering for fifty-five-some-odd years. It was a courageous move by some Sansei within the organization who wanted to bring the Nikkei legacy, the Nisei legacy to some point of closure, discussing this issue of Nisei draft resistance, which has long divided the community.

FA: Are you surprised by the way that this thing has kind of touched a nerve in the community, this resolution that was sponsored by Andy Noguchi?

KT: I'm not surprised; I think it was expected. Actually, in some arenas, I was surprised that it didn't touch an even deeper nerve. I think with the Northern California/Western Nevada Pacific District, I expected more debate, more hostility, but, of course, it was passed with an 18-2 vote. Today's, today's vote, it was expected because I knew from speaking to people from this area that those were the sentiments.

FA: What happened today?

KT: Today the Central California District Council of the JACL had rejected the resolution calling for recognition and apology to the Nisei draft resisters.

FA: And what is that going to mean for this whole movement?

KT: I'm not sure -- I believe the other sponsoring organizations are going to have to reconsider what other strategy they're going to take to bring this issue up again, whether it's at a national convention or whatever other forum. One thing that this resolution did do, for the first time, all chapters throughout the nation are deeply and seriously discussing this issue. Before, there had been talk, there had been assumptions about the resisters issue, which really wasn't brought up until, within this last decade to a large extent. But for the first time, every single chapter in this, in this organization, 112-odd chapters, are seriously considering this issue.

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