Cook and organizer of the Kitchen Workers' Union
at the Manzanar internment camp
. Ueno had confront
ed certain members of the camp staff, including the Assistant Project Director and the Chief Steward, for stealing food that was meant for the prisoners. He was subsequently accused
(without positive identification) of assaulting a fellow prisoner and taken out of the camp to jail.
Response from fellow prisoners was quick. They gathered in the camp demanding the release of a man they believed had been framed and had sacrificed himself by standing up to camp officials. When camp officials refused, the result was the Manzanar uprising of December 6, 1942, in which two imprisoned Japanese Americans were killed by the government.
The following are some of his recollections of the internment experience taken from my college homework (http://oz.net/~cyu/internment/main.html):
In Manzanar altogether about nine of ten times they questioned me. Every time they call me in and they ask me, who do you think is going to win the war? That's a foolish question. I don't pay attention to those kind of things. I got no respect for some of those guys.
We went into camp by the bus... I had two other families in the room all together. Two other families: one a bachelor and another family is a step-mother and a son. They were all grown-up people. The only privacy you have is pull the rope and they put the sheet down, that's the only way.
...On one side, you take Joe Kurihara -- he went overseas to France to fight for the United States. Joe was a citizen, natural-born American. And he volunteered and he showed his loyalty to the United States. Everything he showed. And yet the government don't recognize that. So to him, what move he could do? Volunteered and don't show any results. Why should he repeat again?
...I think it was the wrong decision at the beginning of evacuation when the JACL said they would ask our people to cooperate and not resist. But Japanese don't resist. Maybe Yasui tested the case, but very few of us would resist. He was a single man. If I was a single man I might do what he did. But if you have a family, you have to think for your family, too. I don't think we would resist, but still we don't say we cooperate. No, we don't.
...Even today I see once in a while in the paper they say: pay Japanese reparation. That's ridiculous. It doesn't pay back for a lost son. They don't know what is right or wrong. They should teach the people what the Constitution means. Lots of people don't know. They think they know, but they don't know.
, And Justice For All
, Random-House, New York, ©1984