GEORGE SAKAGUCHI AND HIS REACTION TO JEROME INTERNMENT CAMP
INTERVIEWER: Do you remember what day you arrived at the assembly center?
SAKAGUCHI: I have no idea.
INTERVIEWER: Do you know what time of day it was when you got there?
SAKAGUCHI: It was about noon.
INTERVIEWER: What was your intitial reaction?
SAKAGUCHI: I never saw so many Japanese people in one place at one time.
I don’t know, it’s,… it’s funny… now this
is my own reaction, okay? Here in… for the many of the Isseis and
especially, you know, they worked all the time, al that… and they
got into this camp and they had, well they had, they did their own cooking,
we did our own, I mean, they had a community mess hall that cooks everything.
There was, the only white staff was up in the front office. Everything
else inside though was done by, uh, those in the camp. But, uh, I think
for, there was a period where a lot of us kind of enjoyed it because for
the Issei, the socialization, the socializing and no schedule. They didn’t
have to get up and go to work and stuff like… And also I think for
us seniors and juniors and those just out of high school with… the
socialization… that, uh, there were hardly any discipline. Well,
there was somewhat discipline, but, but uh, it was just … you didn’t
have to work if you didn’t want to, you xx somebody all the time.
And there were different activities, band and so forth. It was, I guess,
for a long time they didn’t think it was so bad. Because I, I, uh,
we weren’t aware, at least I wasn’t aware of our rights and,
and the illegality, legality of the act and everything like that. And
I think that because our parents were there and we figured that they had,
they thought it was the thing to do, we had to do. I think, and I think
it a while for all of us to say, “You can’t do this to us.”
But then, having been put in a place where you can communicate with anybody,
I mean, what, but now, after the war and, and in, in uh, the last ten
or fifteen years is when it really, I think the JACL really got concerned
by it. Uh, but, now there were a few people like Minyasui and those who
really been fighting since day one because he was, he was willing to,
uh, violate the curfews and things like that, but, uh but, here was a
man who was out of law school was aware of whats, what, uh, he was aware
of these things, and so, uh, but those people were very, very few. And
uh, I guess Minyasui and uh, this man Kibayashi felt this was illegal
so nobody else, I don’t know, whatever, if we’d, they’d
said, okay, according to the constitution you can’t do this to us,
if you want us you’re gonna to have to shoot us out. I don’t
know what would have happened but, I… but I think that in, in that
time the history of that… that if they did, did that to Chinese
Americans or well, uh, those that are a…., of course, and they just,
from what I understand in those days they just walked all over the blacks
or the Mexicans.