Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Victor Ikeda Interview
Narrator: Victor Ikeda
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: November 6, 2007
Densho ID: denshovh-ivictor-01-0042

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RP: Just a, to go back on what you just said about the group, was there a schism that developed in the group between those who wanted to, wanted to affirm their loyalty...

VI: Right, what had happened was... it was a fairly large group, and out of the group when they first had a chance to volunteer, the fellow I went picking potatoes with, my partner, he volunteered, and some of the other people volunteered, which is, you know, it's kind of a thing that, "I'm going, so hey, I'll go, too." And I think you got the biggest volunteer group out of Minidoka of all the, you know, relocation camps. And then all of a sudden, you had some people where their parents were picked up and sent to the, the other camps for the Isseis that were picked up. Well, their families were a little bit more oriented toward the Japanese custom, and so they, they were kind of torn. Where they would say that, "Well, my parents were taken away from me, you threw me in prison, and you expect me to volunteer and go?" So as you know, you had these two questions, you know, "Would you serve," and so you got the so-called "no-no." In our group, our group, we probably had the most people saying "no-no," I think about four or five of our group. And then at the same time, we had three, four people volunteering. So, you know, it's torn. Like at that time, I was, what, seventeen, so I was too young to volunteer. Some of the other people that didn't volunteer, they got drafted. So there was a break there, and of course, when they went with the 442, some of them got killed and a lot of their friends got killed, so they were very patriotic or they felt that they were really... and of course, people that went with "no-no" that landed up in McNeil Island, they were, felt that they were correct in not going. But what happened was after the war, when everybody came back to Seattle, that was when... I had no feelings one way or the other. They were my friends, so whether they went and volunteered or whether they went to prison, I mean, they were my OTs, they were my friends. But not all of our group felt like that.

And I had never realized it until when we were in camp, we had a big basketball tournament, and so we had teams coming from Chicago and the various different areas. And the team that people came back from Chicago, a lot of 'em were the OTs, formerly, they came back. So I thought I'd have a big party for them, you know, to get together. Well, that's when I found out that there was really a, really a split. That the people that said, "no-no" felt very, very, that they were going to be discriminated against, they felt bad, and the vets that came back had a very, very strong feeling about how they didn't volunteer or they didn't serve. And there was a big, big split, and they're, up to this day, there still is a split between some of the people. Not all of 'em, some have mellowed out. But that was, at that time, our OT bunch just kind of broke up. We stuck together like at Fort Snelling.

<End Segment 42> - Copyright © 2007 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.