Title: "Japanese Here Oppose Removal," Seattle Times, 1/31/1942, (ddr-densho-56-589)
Densho ID: ddr-densho-56-589


Solon Calls Internment Sacrifice To U.S. Cause

Six thousand Japanese residents of Seattle and its environs, like those in other Pacific Coast communities, are finding war's problems particularly troublous since last December 7.

The Japanese know that, whether born in Japan or natives of the United States, they are suspects to most Americans. They know, too, that officialdom at Washington in being flooded with demands that all Japanese be removed from their Pacific Coast homes and interned somewhere in the Midwest, or at least east of the Rockies. They know, too, that at least they will be removed from certain strategic areas near vital war industries and establishments.

But they are going calmly on with their various endeavors, where possible, and are redoubling their tasks on behalf of the Red Cross, civilian defense, buying of defense bonds and all the patriotic chores to which Americans are applying themselves.

Representative Leland M. Ford, Republican, California, last week announced that due to "the seriousness of the Japanese situation on the West Coast," he advocated moving all Japanese, American-born and alien, is concentration camps in the interior.

The congressmen admitted that the question was "rather touchy in some quarters due to the fact many of the Japanese are American-born." He added that many loyal Japanese are serving in the United States Army and Navy and if these men are willing to give their lives for this country, then he believes it is not asking too much for other Japanese to make their sacrifice in the form of permitting themselves to be placed in concentration camps for the duration.

Patriotic Acts Cited

Seattle Japanese, however, argue that they do not want to become charges of the government. They point to their record of Red Cross work, sale of defense bonds and stamps and of young men serving in the armed service as signs of their patriotism and loyalty to this country.

"When the time comes--as we know it will--we shall be able to render a service as other racial group can in leading the offensive against the Japanese Empire," James Sakamoto, American-born publisher of The Japanese-American Courier, English-speaking newspaper declared.

"There is only one side to this fight as far as Japanese-Americans are concerned and that is to beat Japan," he continued. "We must maintain our democratic institutions and a way of life. We American-born Japanese are proud of our American citizenship. We don't agree with the judgment of relatives and friends living in Japan. We are Americans and willing to fight for that precious heritage."

Evacuation Scored

Sakamoto said that evacuation of Japanese from the Pacific Coast would destroy all the progress that Japanese have built up here for the past 50 years.

"The processes of Americanization, so carefully and successfully nurtured, would be blighted almost irreparably," he said. "It would retard the national unity in this country by almost two generations. That's how long it's taken to build what we now have.

"We realize that much suspicion naturally falls on the foreign-born. We are cooperating actively with the authorities to uncover all subversive activity in our midst, and if need be we are ready to stand as protective custodians over our parent generation to guard against danger to the United States arising from them."

Sakamoto is general chairman of the Emergency Defense Council of the Seattle Chapter, Japanese-American Citizens' League.

Washington Recalled

William Hosokawa, Seattle-born Japanese who was graduated from the University of Washington in 1937 and then spent five years in the Orient, where he was for a time editor of The Singapore Herald, said:

"American-born Japanese here in Seattle are in much the same spot as George Washington was during Revolutionary days. He was fighting his home country and disagreed with relatives and friends who still were living in England. But he was fighting for liberty and an ideal. That's the same thing we American-born Japanese have to face at the present time."

Hosokawa said that every Japanese in Seattle is here because he likes the American way of life and wants to live here the rest of his life and send his children to American schools and "make them good Americans." He pointed out that Japanese who wanted to return to the Orient were given an opportun

ity to leave last November when the last boats to the Orient sailed.

Seattle, however, with the second largest Japanese population in the nation, hasn't been sold completely on the loyalty of Japanese living in this country. Japanese-owned grocery stores and markets report business has fallen off as much as 60 per cent since war was declared.

Many zealous adults are demanding that their government take no chances on the loyalty of the Japanese colony, but the youngsters of Seattle don't seem to see eye to eye with their elders. High-school basketball games find the Japanese boys and girls rooting as eagerly as the American students, and the latter show every sign of accepting them as unfortunate victims of circumstances.

Approximately 65 per cent of the truck gardening in King County is done by Japanese. They also grow most of the lettuce and cauliflower in the Kent Valley and much of the strawberry crop at Bellevue.

Drastic restrictions on trade with alien Japanese were effected after the Pearl Harbor attack, but since have been removed so that produce flows freely from Japanese farms to Seattle markets.

More than 20 Japanese-owned business firms in Seattle have closed down since the order freezing assets of Japanese aliens in this country was in effect temporarily after the declaration of war.

The Emergency Defense Council has more than 150 names of unemployed Japanese in their files, Sakamoto said. Members of the Japanese community are handling the problem, however, he said, and the unemployed and their families are being fed by voluntary contributions from other Japanese.

Japanese and other aliens quality for state unemployment compensation under the same rules governing citizens.

Sons in Army: Fathers Held

Approximately 160 Japanese nationals have been interned here since the bombing of Pearl Harbor, according to H.B. Fletcher, agent in charge of the Seattle office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. More than 100 of those arrested have been transferred to Fort Missoula, Mont., where hearings were scheduled this week.

Ironically, several of the arrested Japanese have sons serving in the United States Army, Hosokawa said. He added that letters from the fathers advised the sons to "be good Americans and don't worry about us ... We are being treated very well and are comfortable."

Orders to remove alien Japanese from certain defense areas in Los Angeles and San Francisco were issued Thursday, but Seattle was not affected--although federal agents believe such an order may come.

Hosokawa cited the work being done by the Japanese unit of the American Red Cross in Seattle. He said more than 100 individuals and 11 organizations have donated approximately 2,833 hours to volunteer Red Cross work, such as sewing, knitting and wrapping of surgical dressings.

[Photo caption]: Japanese owner of a Jackson Street furniture store, Takaaki Okazaki, had his picture displayed in his United States Army uniform in the store window showing him at Fort Lewis. His sister, Miss Kiyoko Okazaki (show here), is running the store "for the duration."

[Photo caption]: Leader in the Japanese community and general chairman of the Emergency Defense Council of the Seattle Chapter, Japanese-American Citizens' League, is James Y. Sakamoto (right), who is shown here in his office at The Japanese-American Courier, English-language newspaper he publishes.

[Photo caption]: Headquarters of the Japanese-American Red Cross unit has more than doubled its output since the war started, according to Mrs. Yone Arai, unit chairman. Shown here are Mrs. Sakao Nakamura, Mrs. Arai, Mrs. Doris Hoshide, Miss Faye Shimono and Mrs. Hoshi Yamada (seated at the table knitting). The unit headquarters serves as a clearing house where sewing materials and knitting are assigned to volunteer workers who do the work in their homes, as proof of their loyalty.

[Photo caption]: University of Washington-educated Herbert Yoshida, who is a third-generation Japanese-American citizen, is shown here in his grocery store at 2419 Dearborn St. Neighbors like Mrs. Lewis Miller and her small daughter, Dawn, patronize the small store. Some Japanese-American grocers have suffered huge losses in business, others still have the confidence and patronage of their customers.

[Photo caption]: Center of activity in the Japanese community these days is the Defense Council Headquarters at 517 Main St., where volunteer workers are kept busy answering questions, selling defense stamps and serving as a clearing house for Red Cross work in the district. Satsujiro Uno, in foreground wearing striped overalls, a poultry farmer, has been a Seattle resident since 1906. He is the father of six American-born children, four of them university graduates.