Densho Digital Archive
Frank Abe Collection
Title: Fred Hirasuna Interview
Narrator: Fred Hirasuna
Interviewers: Frank Abe (primary); Frank Chin (secondary)
Date: 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-hfred-02-0003

<Begin Segment 3>

FC: You think helping the war effort, giving up Japanese American civil rights, all of them, and accepting living in concentration camps forever, for an indefinite period, that helped Japanese American kids?

FH: Listen; we knew that the camps were not going to last forever. We knew that, didn't we? It wouldn't last forever; when the war was over, you had that Endo case. Okay, now, you talk about the Heart Mountain group again, and I know that those who, among the sixty-three that you mentioned, and so many of 'em said, "If our civil rights are restored, we will willingly volunteer for the army." How many of 'em did?

FC: We've talked to one man who has been, who was drafted twice after the war --

FH: I mean, how many of that group did?

FC: -- we've talked to -- how many of that group did?

FH: Yes.

FA: Several.

FC: Several.

FH: What do you mean by several?

FA: What's his name? Tei...

FH: How many?

FC: No, but several. But several.

FA: Two that we know of.

FH: Two out of sixty-three?

FC: No, no, no. There are more than that.

FA: That we know of.

FA: There were more than that.

FH: How many more?

FA: That volunteered, that were drafted, for, that served in the Korean War...

FH: How many? How many? Tell me.

Paul Tsuneishi: In our interviews, there were seven names given of people who are willingly drafted once they were freed from the camps. There's a difference between volunteering and being drafted, and there's a question within the camps of the Fair Play Committing saying, "We're willing to be drafted if you give us our civil rights back." It just happens in the small amount of people we interviewed, Tak Hoshizaki gave me the names of six other, the people in his same category who are willing to be drafted and were drafted.

FC: But the question isn't whether they were sincere or not, but were they right?

FH: Well, I think that --

FC: Were they right? I mean, their constitutional rights were violated. They were violated. They were in concentration camps. There was no right of the government to draft them out of concentration camps.

FA: Let him finish.

FH: Their constitutional rights were evacuated -- were violated at the time of evacuation. If they felt so much about that violation of their constitutional rights, that was the time for them to come up in protest. Not when they were faced with the imminence of draft, of military service.

FC: Why?

FH: Their timing was very, very bad.

FC: Why?

FH: Why? Because if they believed the constitutional rights were being violated, why did they go into camp in the first place?

FC: They expected the JACL to go to court and defend those rights.

FH: Oh, applesauce. You, Frank, you're anti-, I don't know why you're anti-JACL, but you are, and you are, too, Frank Abe. You're both anti-, I knew that from friends that tell me in Seattle. They tell me that. Okay. So what I fear is that this whole project is going to be not only pro-draft resisters, but anti-JACL. This whole project that you're on, with $100,000 grant. That's what I think, and I think you'll admit that I'm right.

FA: I've given you the opportunity to say that.

FH: Yeah, well, you don't admit that you're right. Can't I ask you questions? Can't you be required to give me answers?

FC: To questions of fact, sure.

FH: Is that, is that an interview?

FC: Sure.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 1998, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.