Densho Digital Archive
Frank Abe Collection
Title: Sam Horino Interview
Narrator: Sam Horino
Interviewer: Frank Abe
Date: February 22, 1993
Densho ID: denshovh-hsam-01

[Ed. note: Correct spelling of certain names, words and terms used in this interview have not been verified.]

<Begin Segment 1>

FA: Sam, it's a pleasure to meet you after all these years.

SH: Thank you. I'm glad to meet you, too, because this is the first occasion I ever had, you know. People come to me and tell me about their, their experience and things.


FA: Let me, let me start from the beginning.

SH: Okay.

FA: Where, where were you born?

SH: California. Gardena, California. Down below, you know, California, it's Los Angeles.

FA: And where were you when, when the war broke out?

SH: We were in Hollywood. We were gardening at the time. That's when we were asked to evacuate.

FA: What were you doing? How old were you?

SH: I don't remember how old I was. You know, I'm, I'm seventy-nine right now, see. But anyway, I was a little different from the rest of the people. They got proclamation come out. Right then and then I protested. I did, but I won't tell you how far I went, but anyway, when evacuation came, the military said we had to evacuate this area. [Laughs] I told those two lieutenants, "No, no. Not on my own power." Then they'd make a, what, a chair like. Two lieutenants, young men, you know. Smiling, said, "Okay, sit on this." They took me to the front porch. Well, "Thank you." Then I walked up to the bus. Anyway, I was really a problem kid, I think. Even when the, when they first started, all the proclamation come out. I was really a very, well, I was objecting because after all, you know, we're American citizens. We have just as much right as anybody else. And we have just as much right with our Constitution, you know. We have a day in court, we should have a day in court. But, you know, it's still the presidential proclamation. You can't say nothing. Nobody has.

FA: Are you saying that they handcuffed you?

SH: No, no, no. They did not handcuff me. You know, they, there's two lieutenants, so they said, with my, I was in the house, not living room, I said, "I'm not going out of this house on my own power." Then they, then they made a, what, a chair, you know. Two lieutenant hold on their hand like this. He says, "Sit on this." [Laughs] I said, "Okay." Then they took me to the front porch. I said, "Okay."

FA: They carried you on their arms.

SH: Yeah. You know, they carried me out. Took me out of the house. You know, there was nothing wrong with that, you know. Because the military, what they say goes. You know, they got orders, huh?

FA: What about the rest of your family?

SH: Well, they, they volunteered, many of 'em. My brothers, they all went, not all of 'em wanted to volunteer for service, two of 'em went, the first one. Then the other were, another brother was, he was... when he was in the Heart Mountain, they, I think he volunteered, too, he said, "Yeah, I'm gonna serve."

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1993, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

FA: Let me, let me go back a little bit. You must have been twenty-eight years old.

SH: Someplace in there, yeah, you're right, but I don't exactly remember. But I was in that area, yeah.

FA: You're seventy-nine now.

SH: Yeah, right.

FA: So you were twenty-eight then.

SH: Okay.

FA: That was fifty-one years ago.

SH: Uh-huh.

FA: To the day. What were you doing? What was your job?

SH: Gardening.

FA: Landscape gardener?

SH: Just, yeah, well, that was in there, but the gardening was a lot of money in there, at

the time.

FA: Uh-huh. Did you work for your father?

SH: No. Independent. Because it's, it's a business.

FA: How were you doing? Were you doing well?

SH: Pretty good. Because, only thing is, you know, you set up a kind of a contract you make with the owner of the house. Just like the way the doctors are doing there, you know. So many accounts you had, the more income you have. But you just say, "I'll give you this service." "Fine." That's what they want, that's it. I walk, I don't think I walk around.

FA: That's exactly what my father did. My father did the exact same thing.

SH: He did?

FA: Yeah.

SH: But you, don't kid yourself. There's money in that. You say, "This I'll do, okay, at this." Sounds like small money, but it isn't. You add all day, you got pretty good.


FA: Let me ask you, were you, were you married at the time, Sam?

SH: No.

FA: Single.

SH: Single.

FA: Living alone, or living with your family?

SH: Family.

FA: Family, your parents.

SH: Yeah.

FA: Okay, in Hollywood.

SH: That's right.

FA: Okay.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 1993, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

FA: So December 7th, where were you? Or what, what were you doing?

SH: I was, I was in the theater. That's right. I was seeing The Four Roses. Then, the screen it come up: "Japan declare war" on the screen. It came on the screen then, I think, yeah, that's it. I can't forget that because that's a long, long picture, The Four Roses. You get tired of it before the end. So I used to go in the lobby, and come out, go in.

FA: Is that the name of the theater?

SH: No, no, no, that was Chinese... Chinese theater, I think it was. Loew? Chinese, in Hollywood. It was a beautiful place. I was in the theater watching that, went to see the picture that night. That night, and it went on the screen. It's a funny thing, though. After the picture come out, everybody started going home. They, all the people around me thought I was the poison ivy. You know what they do? They go walk way around me. [Laughs] I thought, gee, look, they recognize I'm Japanese right away, I think. But that's my impression at that time.

FA: What did you think when you saw that on the screen?

SH: Huh?

FA: What was your reaction?

SH: My reaction, I didn't have any. I knew the war was coming, though. There was no way out.

FA: So you weren't surprised.

SH: No. I wasn't. But I was, I thought they would renegotiate, negotiate. Then I thought we were negotiating. I thought they were talking about going to Canada, you know. Let's, let's make on the common ground list, huh? Talk this over, so, I mean, that's according to the paper. Japanese paper was saying that. Fuji say, of course.

FA: So then you, then Pearl Harbor, then there was talk about evacuation.

SH: Yeah, evacuation. But I thought that doesn't apply, that doesn't apply to me. That was in my mind all the time.

FA: Why wouldn't it apply to you?

SH: Because I'm an American citizen. Born here.

FA: In school, did you learn much about the Constitution, Bill of Rights?

SH: Yeah, that's very true. I think I, I liked that more than I did any other subject.

FA: What subject was that?

SH: That current event, affairs. I think that's what teaching, that class introduced that to us, you know. And I liked that. And otherwise I didn't care. As long as I get a passing grade. [Laughs] I don't know why, because I didn't have any desire of going any further you know, after, maybe high school, and maybe get into semi-pro. That's it. You know, get into a private school and learning more about the government.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 1993, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

FA: When the talk of the evacuation started coming around, were you, have any contact with the JACL?

SH: No, never did, because their philosophy and mine, I did not, it didn't, it just didn't gel together. Because I believe that we are the citizen, we have the right, and we don't have to compromise with anybody.

FA: They were talking about the time about cooperating.

SH: Cooperating as is, you know, complying with their, huh? And I had no idea, I like to be heard. It always has been in my mind. Everybody has got a right to be heard.

FA: But you were, that put you at odds with the rest of the --

SH: That's right. That's when the trouble begin. [Laughs]

FA: Tell me about it.

SH: Well, that's the way it is, you know. Because I'm strict and on the Constitution, huh? And anybody talked against it, huh? You know which side of fence I am. So we never gelled together. So you know, that's when, that's when all the friction started. But I always felt that we should have a day in court. But then you know, then the JACL had a different stance. Well, after this president proclamation, then nobody, that's final. That's the rule, isn't it?

FA: Right. So your family reported to the --

SH: Yeah.

FA: And then, so the lieutenants had to come.

SH: And then one of my brother volunteered, went up to the Northern California, where the first camp started. What was that?

FA: Manzanar?

SH: Manzanar, to build the, the buildings.

FA: Oh, what was his name?

SH: Min. Yeah, Min Horino, yeah. He was there. He went, he said, "Well, no use because we all gonna be, gonna be moved."

FA: What did he think of your protest?

SH: Well, he was against it. He was for, but he didn't, he thought it was, it's unconstitutional. And he tried to see if he can, to see if he can get some kind of trial, or be heard.

FA: So, so you had to be carried out of your house.

SH: [Laughs] Yeah, that's, both he laughed and I laughed. I said, "Oh, put me down." The lieutenant, two of 'em. [Laughs]

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 1993, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

FA: You go to Heart Mountain. What was your first contact, your first awareness of the Fair Play Committee in camp?

SH: Oh, that was, I mean, we were, there were many, many group that were protesting individually. And I think Frank Emi's the one got a call, called, got all together instead of having too many places and too many organization saying the same thing. How about pulling, get together, and combine this all talk together. That's when, and then I think Mr. Yamamoto was, he was, I think he's the one with originally the word "Fair Play."

FA: Mr. Okamoto.

SH: Okamoto.

FA: Kiyoshi Okamoto.

SH: Kiyoshi. He's the one, I think. He was really against it. He should, he, he had a lotta article written, huh?

FA: I never met Kiyoshi Okamoto.

SH: Yeah?


FA: So, I never met Kiyoshi Okamoto. We're not sure if we have a good picture of him.

SH: Well, he's a very peaceful man. But he, he was mostly interested in the government should compensate us for this, this unconstitutional act. That's what we stated in one, you know, one statement.

FA: Yeah.

SH: That was his philosophy, and he believed in it.

FA: What was your impression of Kiyoshi Okamoto when you first met him?

SH: Well, he was normal. He was just like a professor, you know. Some people might call him, call him, he's on the other side of the line, or this side of the line. Genius, or the other side. Because he did write and he'd always write about the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution. If you want to believe him, okay, if you don't want to believe him, so be it. See? But he is so motivated. We should be compensated for this illegal camp.

FA: What kind of personality did he have?

SH: Well, he is, he didn't have very many friends. But he kept everything to himself, but when it come to this issue, he is very vocal.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 1993, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

FA: Why did you decide, and how did you decide to join the Fair Play Committee?

SH: We had the same feeling. Like Frank Emi, I believe he's the one, instead of so many organization saying the same thing from different angles, let's all get together. Then he's the one that put all, everybody together. I mean, that's just a general statement, see? Then you know, then we all said, "Sure. Sure, why not?" Then we got a very few people first before you know, we had to have a, we had to have microphones outside the mess hall and everything.

FA: What do you mean by that?

SH: Well, we had first, at first we have a little room like this to go. You know, just the people that were, they were very critical about our, and before you knew, well, people got no place to sit, you know. They want to hear, they want to talk, they want to give their views. So we rented the mess hall. Then before you know, there's more people. They want to exchange view with you. And Paul Nakadate was our, we nominated him as the emcee.


FA: Tell me one more time, Sam, the meetings got so big, what did you have to do?

SH: We have to put a microphone outside, outside of the mess hall, so the people want to hear. They demand it, "We want." So more, so it just got larger and larger.

FA: How did that make you feel?

SH: Well, well, anyway, I thought we were kind of gathering information, what people think, reviews. And they were young children, young children at the time, you know, there were a lot undecided. And, but with that... synagogue? People gathering together? People made, made their opinions. Some says, "No. I'm going comply." I said, "No, I'm going to bug it." You know, they divided. They drew their own...

FA: Did you ever tell any young boy what they should do?

SH: Yeah, what to do? What do you mean by "what to do"?

FA: Whether to, did you ever tell them that they should resist the draft?

SH: No way. That's not a... no, no, no. That's each individual opinion, decision. Sure, because I got no right to run other people's life. But anyway, that was in that stage. It was in that stage. And, you know, the thing started formulating, so I thought, like I said over the phone, we gotta get, we gotta have ammunition here to, to fight this issue. And we got to have somebody that could speak Japanese language very fluently. And then Mr. Kubota, I met him some time ago, before, and I was talking to him. He has a good voice, good vocabulary, and good speaker. So I asked him, we had this kind of movement, "We need your help. Were you willing to help us?" I told him details about this. "But I don't want you to put, you know, just express your views." So he went on, the, he volunteered immediately. "Sure." Then I introduced him to Frank and Paul. I said, "They will be the key." They will be the, Paul is emcee always, and then Frank will be the correspondent. So any information you want, and we'll stay in the guideline.

FA: Guntaro Kubota was an Issei. You felt it was, you felt it was important to have an Issei.

SH: No, I had to have somebody that can speak Japanese language fluently in order to, we got to have the money. And then you have the tell, express to the, those Japanese-speaking people that, "This is the Fair Play view. And if you have any other opinions or any views, come to the platform. We'll listen to you." That was our whole... but, because I think it was soon after that, some time later, FBI -- [laughs] -- they picked me up, and that's it. It wasn't quite yet fully matured, but it was pretty well in order. And the organization was moving well.

FA: You felt... again, the Nisei, did the Nisei have the kind of money that would support a test case?

SH: Yeah. They did.

FA: Okay. But you told me on the phone that you felt that Issei were the ones who had the money.

SH: Well, they did. You know, they control the purse. So that would help. But you had to understand them.

FA: What kind of -- let me ask you this -- what kind of support for the Fair Play Committee did you find among the Issei?

SH: Well, they will help you, "Go ahead."

FA: Again please.

SH: Yeah. They said, "Go ahead. We'll help you financially." And that's all. But you know, after that I was picked up, I wouldn't know what happened.

FA: Why do you think the Issei said, "Go ahead"?

SH: Well, they thought if you have a cause, you believe in it. And then naturally I said in order to go to court, it takes money. And without the money, we can't proceed with our objective.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 1993, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

FA: Paul Nakadate...

SH: Yeah.

FA: another history figure.

FA: Tell me, what kind of man was Paul Nakadate?

SH: Well, he's a, I would say he's a scholar because of, I think he must have been a teacher. He was good in conducting a meeting. He doesn't take either side, though. But he was good. He has opinion, he has opinion, he has opinion, see. Then you put 'em together right away.

FA: Frank Emi. Did you know him before the war?

SH: Oh, I knew him. [Laughs] But I didn't, I didn't, I didn't know he was that much interested in this movement at first.

FA: Why --

SH: No, because --

FA: Why do you laugh when I say -- why do you laugh?

SH: Why? I didn't believed that he had, he'd be interested in the, this movement at the time, then more I talked to him, he's sincere. He meant it. He would help. Help me and I'll help you.

FA: You knew Frank before.

SH: Oh, yes.

FA: In what way?

SH: Huh? We were, we were in the same judo class that he was in. That's how I get acquainted with him. But you know, he just, in the classes you just meet, you don't pay attention to it. But I know he was a, he was a student there. That's it, that's how I got acquainted. And Frank approached me, too. That's why we got better acquainted. I got an understanding of him better, and I thought, "Well, he's okay." He's not tell-, in other words, he want to discuss the issue. Fine. Because I didn't believe in taking either side. It's up to you. Individual got a right to make their own decisions. But we, if you have anything to say, put it on the platform. Come out there and express your views. We'll listen, everybody listens.

FA: Tell me about you and judo. You, what's your involvement with judo before the war?

SH: Yeah, oh yeah. Well, I mean, I was just an average person.

FA: Were you good?

SH: Well, I've taken my best friend, and he took me, so it's fifty-fifty. He takes me once in contest, I take him the next one. So it's a draw, and then we laugh about it. [Laughs] You know how it is, "Shucks. I fell down, and the referee gave you the point." "What are you talking about?" [Laughs] You know how it is, huh? Even though you're defeated, you won't admit it. "Come on, come on." He said, "I just fell down, I just tripped on my own feet." But that's the way it went. But it's always a draw. He takes, people take me, it doesn't make any, who it was, especially among friends.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 1993, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

FA: Okay. Fair Play Committee. Frank was telling us how you guys got together in Kubota's apartment to write the bulletins. Do you remember that?

SH: Well, sure. I mean, those were written, all those are written because Frank Emi and Paul Nakadate are the, they were the nucleus top. He was the publish, and he was publisher, and then Paul Nakadate was the emcee. And in other words, he's, not every meeting he comes, and he listened to all sides of a argument. At that meeting it's always different. This issue was brought up and this was, this and this.

FA: Tell me about sitting down to write those bulletins.

SH: That was, that was over the meeting and what they have said. He takes the notes down, then he makes the... what do you call, the news report or what you want to call it. And it was distributed that way. So, in other words...

FA: Who took the notes? Frank or Paul?

SH: All of them. And everybody's involved, you know.

FA: Then you get together afterwards, and write them out?

SH: You put them out, then they say that's what the meeting said. And this is the way we will publish it. And then, I don't know. That so-called newspaper was very powerful. They went all those other camp, too.

FA: The bulletins, you mean.

SH: Bulletin. And then, even one newspaper I think it was. What was it? Denver Post. Denver somebody.

FA: The Rocky Shimpo?

SH: Rocky... what's his name?

FA: James Omura.

SH: Yeah. He got involved in it, too.

FA: Tell me about who... did you read the Rocky Shimpo in camp?

SH: Well, when people give it to me, I read it. But he was strictly, he's strictly on the Constitution side. He never, he would never tell you to do this or do that, huh? "Let's call 'em as we see it." You know, that's his view, I think it was. "This is what I see."

FA: How, did you, how did you feel about him saying that?

SH: Well, it's a fact. The father and mother and childrens are in camp, and their sons are out there, in Italy, front, isn't it? He said that's what it is, so what, you know. That's how it went. Because you're the... this is a very ticklish issue. You can't, you can't say this or that, you know. You're...

FA: I want to ask about the bulletins again, Sam. Do you remember the bulletin, "One for All, All for One"?

SH: Yeah.

FA: Do you remember any part that you helped write, or any part that you contributed?

SH: That was the key. That's what we got stuck with the conspiracy, you're talking about. [Laughs] Yeah, I think that was, that's where the conspiracy coming in. [Interruption] Yeah, that is the key. I mean, that's what the people wanted at the time. "One for all, all for one." So we, he worded it, said, "We refuse." There that's when the federal government kind of stepped in and said this is a conspiracy to overthrow government, all that crap.

FA: Do you remember that conversation you and Paul and the others had about that key phrase, "We hereby refuse"?

SH: Yeah, that was divided. It was divided.

FA: How --

SH: But the majority win. I mean, majority was for it.

FA: How was it divided, Sam?

SH: Huh? Oh, it was, it was among, among the steering committee it was close. [Inaudible] were neutral, but it was, it was a margin that we shall publish it because that was the wish of the people.

FA: Where did you stand on that?

SH: Huh?

FA: Where did you stand?

SH: I said I go with, I go with the opinion of the, of the people. The congregation, or whatever they called it.

FA: And then Nakadate added the phrase.

SH: No, yeah.

FA: And again, the last phrase, "Under the present conditions we hereby refuse," and Nakadate --

SH: Yeah, true, true. There were a lot of those things brought up. But there were a lot of -- if you have to take the whole, whole, whole articles, you had to put 'em together how it come about. Otherwise it's pretty hard to just take a segment says this. Where did it come, it says to that conclusion? And there were many, many meetings held, and many at different locations. Never at one place. But we had quite a bit of support. That I can say.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 1993, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

FA: You, so you guys argued about that. You decided to go with it, and then the FBI came in.

SH: That's when they picked me up first.

FA: Tell me about that.

SH: That's it. "I'm FBI. You're under arrest."

FA: They come to your barracks?

SH: They come to you.

FA: Did they have to carry you this time?

SH: No, no, no. I. They, well, anyway, I had a spy, uh? Had a spy telling me, "They're here for you." So I got everything. So in other word, I just kept what I need, my possessions. Another thing, they wanted, I said, "What do you want?" "Your personal thing." I said, "This is it." But they picked up my notebook, you know, and then that was illegal seizure, anyway.

FA: Where, where is your notebook?

SH: Huh?

FA: Do you still have it?

SH: I don't think so. But you know, there were a lot of names and things on there, but they couldn't use it because it was illegal seizure. Then letters, too. There were all, people from other camps and friends, you know.

FA: Did the FBI interrogate you?

SH: I said I need an attorney.

FA: Did they give you one?

SH: Nope.

FA: Did they interrogate you?

SH: They did, but I didn't, I was non-cooperative.

FA: Why?

SH: Huh? Why should I comfort the enemy? You know, put it mildly, huh? When the time comes, it's in the court, isn't it?

FA: How was jail?

SH: [Laughs] It was interesting. First day they took me out. Then this marshal says, "You know, well, you're here. How do you like it?" I said, "Not bad." And my -- this Okamoto was with me. He says, "Stay walking in the middle there," he said. "You're gonna get hurt if you get by there." These people? They're American, American drunkard. They're American people. They're not, they're not that kind of people. He said, "I'm going have him eating out of my hand before midnight tonight." But he says, "Anyway, protect yourself." Because, I don't know how, I'm American, I've been growing up with American people, and I've associated with a lot of different kind of people. Right after dinnertime, representatives come. See? Naturally, I may have dramatized it a little bit but, but I tell them about the Japanese Isseis and Niseis, how they come about. Tell them every little detail. Maybe I might dramatize a little bit, you know. Then, he said okay. He comes back. And he's telling the other people, "This Japanese guy could speak better English than we can." [Laughs] And then, he said, and afterwards, they said, "It's going to be cold tonight." So he says, "Here, here's more blanket. And we'll get you some more food. Pork chops," I think he said. "No, we had enough food right now, so thank you very much." That's the way it was. Next morning, FBI. "Sam, you've been talking again, haven't you?" "Why?" I said, "Sure, I give 'em a salutation in the morning" Then the next place he go, "Nobody in that jail except me." [Laughs] I couldn't get over that.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 1993, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

FA: Okay, so, tell me about the, remember the trial?

SH: That trial, you know. They were only interested in whether conspiracy occurred or not. That was it.

FA: How did you feel about that?

SH: I thought, I thought that was a little, it should have been a little more elaborated, huh? But you know, they have the battleground. Want to get you out of here, I guess. So I didn't have, I didn't say very much about it, 'cause you can't. Whether conspiracy occurred? They said, "Were you a member?" "Yes, I was a member." What are you going to say? "Are you elected?" "Yes, I was elected." This was my duty, that's all.

FA: Were you disappointed the issue wasn't on the constitutional grounds of evacuation?

SH: I was. But you know, I'm not going to argue with the district, I mean, attorney. They drove the battleground. They want to get you out of here. So I just followed their...

FA: Anything funny happen during the trial?

SH: I don't think... no, I do not.

FA: Were you, how did you feel during the trial?

SH: Well, that's the best we, best we can do.

FA: Were you scared?

SH: But still, the decision was incorrect. I wasn't happy with the decisions. And, since it was, it was on a, even a trial like that, it was still on constitutional ground. It's still unconstitutional. We haven't violated any federal laws, state laws, city laws. In the past, our past life, we never, we never had, in our civilian life, we always abide by it. I haven't heard Japanese people murdering anybody, Isseis or Niseis. And I haven't heard anybody, Japanese people, holding up a bank, murdering.

FA: The decision was unconstitutional.

SH: Definitely. 'Cause that's the only thing. That's a human right anyway, isn't it? Everybody has that right.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 1993, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

FA: Did you go to Leavenworth or McNeil?

SH: Leavenworth.

FA: How was that?

SH: Well, I have no complaint. They have to do their jobs, you know. In other word, the court says this, so we had to comply. They gave us, in the five years... so we had to comply, and then it was appealed. What more can you do?

FA: Was there a point during the trial or the prison, that you felt maybe you made a mistake?

SH: Oh, I always felt that when the trial was going on, they were barking up the wrong tree. They only asked you whether the conspiracy occurred. Any... conspiracy is a very slim line, you know. You get three of us talking together, we do something, well, "You talked about it?" "Yeah." Conspiracy, you get three of us [inaudible]. See?

FA: When you were in prison, did you ever think feel like maybe you shouldn't have taken the path you did?

SH: Nope. Never did. I never did, because I thought that's the right thing to do. I believed in it. Because that's our inherent right.

FA: Frank Emi told us about the judo exhibition at Leavenworth. Tell me about that.

SH: Well, I, that and I do go with what the, what the, what the opponent, I don't want to. I knew I could control everybody. So he's a rassler, I rassled with him. If he's a boxer, you could tell a boxer. I won't let him get, I won't let him get the, the range on me. [Laughs] So we'd take it around and roll all over and that's it. 'Tisn't the idea of whether you draw or lose.

FA: Frank Emi says it was meant to establish your place among the inmates, to show them that they should not mess with you.

SH: I think they did, but you know, only thing is, I said, "It's a sport," I said. It's a sport. Boxer got a sport. It's a sport, huh? Baseball is a sport, judo is a sport. This is for our, for our own health's sake. You know, you do that. Some people like tennis and some people like fencing. I chose that, but I never, I never want to use that to punish anybody or anything. But I play with him, he's a, just to get, just about draw. Figure draw always.

FA: Sure.

SH: Roll around, you get on top of me, I get underneath and let him roll all over. Let him get tired. I get tired, too. [Laughs]

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1993, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

FA: After you finished your term, where did you go?

SH: I went to Laramie to recuperate for a while. Then I decided, well, I gotta, I gotta start making my life. Then I went, come to California. Then I decided, well, I, you know, my body's still weak, huh? You know. And I have to have a little more examination, my body, There's something wrong with it. So I went into estate work, so I, estate, you know, make the yard. And then I got my, my physical body in order. You go to see a doctor, and he said, "Well, you have this, this problem." "Can you correct it?" Says, "Sure." "Go ahead." He could do it in the office. Office surgery. Correct it for me. Then I got myself in pretty good shape, you know. Then I thought well, I'd better make something out of my life. Then I decided to get married and start the gardening route, you know. But I got in, I said I'll do this, just like the doctor's doing. Just this, so much, that's all. And I picked other people, the poor people, the poor people said, you know, the people are working, but they're not that poor. But they don't like, they haven't got time to cut the lawn. I cut the lawn for this price, but that's all. Okay. They're happy, and I'm happy.

FA: You're doing the same work after the war as you did before the war.

SH: That's when I started, just started before the war.

FA: Just started before the war.

SH: That was more, more like my education for about a year. You know, when you first start, you want to go --

FA: After the war, when you came back to California, did you have any encounters with people?

SH: No. These people? They welcome me with open arms. All you have to be a Japanese, and they hire you. For example, let's take this --

FA: Let me interrupt you, Sam. I mean among other, other Japanese. Did the people say --

SH: They do, but I ignore 'em.

FA: What, tell me what people said?

SH: Oh, they think I'm un-American. I'm not going to, I'm not going to talk with this guy. It's a waste of time. Waste of time and effort. So I never bothered with him.

FA: That didn't bother you, obviously.

SH: No, it didn't bother, bother me. But the customer ask me what I did in the war, during the wartime, I tell him. I tell him I had served time at Leavenworth. "What happened?" Well, I protested against this camp." I think I made more friends being honest than trying to hide it. They got, I mean, I got some pretty good customers all up in there. Happen to be all Jews, it looked like. But they're all right, they paid me well.

FA: Brings back some, some memories.

SH: Well, that's the, yeah, that's the way it was, but I'll always believe, be honest. You may be wrong, but that was my view of it then. You're better off. Sure, I told a lot of people. Sure, I was in Leavenworth.

FA: Sounds like you were grateful that they accepted you.

SH: Well, I was. I told them because they were older people now, you know, they, their health broke down, they go to the hospital. I'd go, I'd visit them, you know. My customers. I tell them you know, "I'm very grateful that you hired, employed me." He says, all they said, we appreciate and all this. And there'd be something for you, which they were.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 1993, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

FA: No JACL bringing problems up?

SH: Oh, I don't bother with them.

FA: But did they give you any trouble after the war?

SH: They tried, but that was once.

FA: What did they do?

SH: I told the guy, told him to get the hell off my property.

FA: What did they do?

SH: Huh? They come up there and they said, "You should have a little more public relations. Try to get along. Try to make a good impression, Japanese people with, relation with the American people."

FA: This was after the war?

SH: Yeah.

FA: But who came to your door?

SH: I don't know. And...

FA: Who?

SH: I don't know. He said, JACL, they said. But to me, when they came with that approach, I said, "I want you to get the hell out of here." That was my first... or else, huh?

FA: I don't understand what they wanted you to do.

SH: Oh, they wanted me to be the... well, that's what they told me. That's one incident that I remembered, and that's it. And my impression was anytime they talk about the, from JACL, I'm not too cooperative with him. I'm a little hostile.

FA: Why?

SH: Huh?

FA: Why?

SH: Well, they compromise too much. My past, my past experience with them. They want to try keeping it peaceful. "Well, let's give a little, give a little." You don't have to compromise yourself. Right is right and wrong is wrong. You're better off that way. You start compromising, before you know it, you're gonna be compromising everything you do. Before you know it, you

don't know what you said.

FA: When you were in the Cheyenne jail, or Laramie jail, Cody jail, did Min Yasui or Joe Grant Masaoka come talk to you?

SH: Nope.

FA: Anybody try and talk you out of it?

SH: Nope. I think that, I think the, I think all those people remember I'm very hostile against the JACL. Just once, that's it, just like I mentioned, and I just didn't give any grounds at all. I just told them, "Get the hell out of my ground." They left, too.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 1993, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

FA: After the war, when you were recuperating in Laramie, some people I talked to thought that you had gone "sour." Why would they think that?

SH: Well, everything was in order. There was nothing I could help anymore. We're, we're in a vise. You know, it was, it was going to court. What is there to do? So I stayed out, and then you know, stayed out, and then more like recuperating, you know, outside, in the outside society, I was out. And I, I told this jail, I told him, I says, "I'd as soon as stay here for another month before the trial." He said, "Come on. Come on. Get out, will ya?" [Laughs] "You don't have to stay here."

FA: Over these years, some people have thought that old Sam kind of felt bad about what he did.

SH: No.

FA: They're wrong.

SH: No. Only thing is, everything was in the vise. Everything was in the place. There was nothing you could do anymore. Now is the courtroom, to go to court. And then, I didn't want to but if something happened, you don't like chew about it, past and gone. So I didn't, that was my view. What is to talk about? We're in a vise, you gotta, the court is coming, that's it.

FA: So there are, so I, I can tell the people they're wrong.

SH: Well, you don't --

FA: Sam is --

SH: Well, I don't resent it. Maybe they did think that way. But, to me, no. I was, everything was in the pot. It was in the... it was in the groove now. What is it? Trial. Nothing you can do about that.

FA: I'm talking about after the trial.

SH: After the trial, true, like right now, same thing. I didn't take very much movement. You know, many people asked me, "Let's get together. Let's get together. You say you're a good, good organizer." You say he could get the people together. But my age, my health, I just couldn't do it. I had a handful. You know, it's very strained and draining. That's it. I mean, that and all the people that I met out, out here time to time, huh? I told them, "This is my position. I'd like to, but I can't."

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 1993, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

FA: I'm going to go, one more question, and I want to jump back, Sam. Your two brothers volunteered for the army?

SH: Army. The army, yeah.

FA: Did they volunteer, or were they drafted?

SH: No, no, two of them were volunteers.

FA: Min, and who else?

SH: No, no, no. Min didn't.

FA: Okay.

SH: My brother Joe and my brother Coke. They both volunteered.

FA: What did they think, Sam, about what you did? What did they say?

SH: "That's my opinion," he said. "That's your privilege." But then they knew that I'm, I was this way. I'm really critical about a lot, when I'm, when I get... well, I've always been this way. Anything that it doesn't, I think is wrong, that's it. Wrong. Not interested.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 1993, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

FA: Is there anything more you want to say, Sam?

SH: No, there isn't. You know, this thing become hearsay and all that stuff. There isn't. There isn't. One, one thing I can say is I'm thankful all those people helped us out. It's those people that made it possible for the Fair Play Committee to, did what they did. If it wasn't for the people, couldn't have made it. It was the boys and girls and everybody helped. I know who they are. They said, "Here's the money for, it's a little money, but give it to the committee." There was a lot of 'em. Girls, too. And Issei, too, they helped quite a lot, too. And then when I was put into the transfer to the camp or something, a lotta people say, "Sam, here's fifty bucks. Spend it on yourself." You know, that's the kind of people they were. So I'll, I mean, I appreciate all those people. I mean those people. They're the ones who made it possible. If it wasn't for them, you know, we wouldn't be here. I mean, we wouldn't be where we are now, starting from the go to Supreme Court of the United States.

FA: Do you have a sense of how historic what you did, the Fair Play Committee did, is?

SH: Well, I never thought about it.

FA: Has it ever been a frustration to you over the years? That the Fair Play Committee isn't mentioned in the books by Bill Hosokawa?

SH: No, no, no. I never cared about Bill Hosokawa anyway. He's, a bunch of crap that he has written in there. But he's writing his views. That's his, that's, that's a very strong, very moral issue. Hosokawa is a very strong moral issue. I'm not interested in that, that's your personal view.

FA: Setting him aside, I mean, just in terms of Japanese America in general, had forgotten about the Fair Play Committee for over fifty years. Does that frustrate you?

SH: No. But to my opinion, what I... they haven't forgotten. They remind me. They bring the subject up. And many may be still bitter as they were at the time, of that time, to date. And I, those people, I don't want to interfere with their thinking because that's what they believe. What are you going to do?

FA: A lot of veterans today still say that you guys are nothing but draft evaders.

SH: That's right. That's what they say.

FA: Burn you up?

SH: Nope. I know it, and I said I believed it. I know I'm right. Our Constitution is the highest law of the land. That's our privilege. Everybody have it. But I mean, I compromise, but I mean, there's no, I don't, I am a hard-liner. I admit that. Stay with it, huh? I still, I still am with that, I'm still with that in my everyday life. That's why I make a lot of enemies with doctors.


Male voice: I'm very interested because you had a conviction all the way through. You said, "This is what I believe and this is what I'm going to do."

SH: That's right.

Male voice: Is that peculiar among Japanese men?

SH: They compromise a lot. Let's, let's get public relations. Let's have this public, public relations. Sure, you could have good public relations by being honest. And you tell me different where I'm wrong in my, in my thinking, I'll listen to you. See? I said to be honest is the best public relation you can have. That's why I have more of those people, executive people, they come to speak to me all the time, you know. They say, "Mr. Horino, how are you?" Lotta people, "Gee, how do you know him?" Well, I just met him several time and then they... even I was down with my boy friend all this, some time ago, this Toyota company, down, main office down at the, some downtown here. I was with my friend. The executive branch of the Toyota. He's a white man. He came out and talked to me. And the salesman says, "How did you know him?" I hear that word all the time, "How do you know him?" He came talk to me, everyday life, he says, "Did you have these people?" They don't seem to, to get hold of Toyota cars. These Japan-made cars, they still buy American-made cars, these Japanese people. He says, "I can't understand this. It's a good car." And that's the way they are.

Male voice: When you were in Leavenworth...

SH: Yeah?

FA: Did any of the prisoners get after the Japanese prisoners? Did they hassle them?

SH: Nope. Never did. Far as I'm concerned, I never have. We were all, we had our chores to do, we had work to do, and we did it. We minded our own business.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 1993, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.