Densho Digital Archive
Japanese American Museum of San Jose Collection
Title: Eiichi Sakauye Interview
Narrator: Eiichi Sakauye
Interviewer: Jiro Saito
Location: San Jose, California
Date: February 8, 2005
Densho ID: denshovh-seiichi-01-0030

<Begin Segment 30>

JS: Did you see any differences between how Japanese farmers who organized after the war than, say, before the war?

ES: Well, you know, this whole evacuation just broke up all the little farms. When they come back, they had no farms or anything to go to. So that made it very impossible for, to start over again, except those persons who owned the farm, and, like the large growers. They were able to start over again, or there's, there's some cases that property owners assigned their property for the duration of the war, and when they come back, says, "You gave us the title to the property. It's not yours, it's mine." In other cases where the evacuee had returned, they're willing to give it back to you, but after you look at what they did, did do, it's all, all the equipment's worn out, or lots of it lost, and they had to start all over again. There were very few people who were lucky enough to have everything held together.

JS: So it was really a great reduction in the number of Japanese farmers, then, because of the war?

ES: Oh, yes. I might say there weren't hardly any Japanese farming after the war, 'cause they had no place to go, and they were most, before the war, they were mostly sharecroppers or renters.

JS: So there was you and maybe how many others after the war?

ES: Had property here in the valley?

JS: Uh-huh.

ES: Oh, I think there were more than a dozen.

JS: Okay. Whereas before the war --

ES: But some of 'em lost their property because they had assigned the property to them, and when they come back, says, "There, my property's mine."

JS: You maintained your activities with the Peach Growers -- I mean, Pear Growers' Association in Santa Clara Valley. What did that involve?

ES: Well, we belonged to a co-op organization that would buy together, would pack fruit and market it together. So we had been able to work together with other ethnic background farmers.

JS: So this organization was a mixture of different ethnic groups, then? It wasn't just strictly Japanese or anything like that?

ES: No.

JS: Okay. How did you recruit farm workers after the war?

ES: After the war, all the other farmers who had been farming here had Mexican laborers from Mexico. We joined that group, and that's how we got our help.

ES: Did any problems arise during the farm labor movement, like Cesar Chavez's attempt to unionize?

ES: No, no.

JS: You didn't have any difficulties with that?

ES: No.

JS: Okay. How many farm workers do you employ today?

ES: Today? None. Self.

JS: You, you do your own work by yourself, huh? You're still sending...

ES: No, no. I just have a hobby farm.

JS: Oh, okay, hobbies. You're no longer sending produce to market?

ES: No.

<End Segment 30> - Copyright © 2005 Densho and The Japanese American Museum of San Jose. All Rights Reserved.