In the Matter of:




MARCH 24, 1942



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called as a witness on behalf of the Committee, being first duly sworn, testified as follows:

CHAIRMAN TENNEY: Q. State your full name.

A. Fred Masaru Tayama.

Q. And your residence?

A. 2166 West 33rd Street.

Q. Los Angeles?

A. Yes.

Q. Your occupation?

A. Well, I ran a restaurant for 10 years, then I was the insurance broker. Now, I am a prospective evacuee.

CHAIRMAN TENNEY: All right, Mr. Combs.

MR. COMBS: Mr. Tayama, you came at my request for a conference the other day, did you not?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. We had quite a long conference about your testimony before the Committee and you volunteered to cooperative with the Committee?

A. That's right.

Q. Mr. Tayama, you were born in Honolulu?

A. That's right.

Q. You have a bachelor of science degree for electrical engineer?

A. Yes, from the A. R. Muir Institute of Technology of Chicago.

CHAIRMAN TENNEY. Speak up, will you please?

A. I will try to.

MR. COMBS: Q. How long have you resided in Southern California?

A. Since 1929.

Q. Continuously?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Are you familiar with an organization known as the Japanese American Citizens' League?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. How many chapters does that organization have?

A. 66 at the present time.

Q. 66 chapters. It has headquarters in the City of Los Angeles, has it?

A. No, in San Francisco. 2031 Bush Street.

Q. How many members does it have altogether?

A. Approximately 20,000.

Q. 20,000 members. Of those 20,000 members are there about 6,000 members in Los Angeles?

A. In Southern California there are about 7,000.

Q. About 7,000.

(Witness nods head affirmatively.)

Q. What are the requisites for membership in the organization?

A. They have to be a citizen of the United States, and they have to be 18 years or over.

Q. And how do you obtain knowledge as to whether or not the applicants are, in fact, citizens of the United States?

A. By their birth certificate. We have this year the requirement that they sign an oath, they they show their birth certificate.

Q. Do you have a copy of the oath with you?

A. I have.

Q. Do you mind if we introduce it in connection with your testimony as an exhibit?

A. It is a copy of the oath of the Los Angeles Chapter.

Q. Of the Japanese American Citizens' League?

A. Yes.

MR. COMBS: I ask this be received in evidence as this witness' Exhibit No. 1.

(Marked "Tayama Exhibit No. 1, on behalf of the Committee.")

Q. Now, Mr. Tayama, did you at any time ever have any official capacity in connection with this organization?

A. I am at present Chairman of the Southern District Council.

Q. How long have you been Chairman of the Southern District Council?

A. Since last September.

Q. What, briefly, are your duties in connection with that office?

A. The Chairman is the head of 20 chapters in the Southern District Council. Those chapters start from San Luis Obispo south to the border and there is one chapter in Phoenix, Arizona.

Q. As a matter of fact, there is an anti-Axis committee in connection with this organization, is there not?

A. That's right.

Q. And that committee was formed on the 7th of December, 1941?

A. That's right.

Q. Who was instrumental in forming it?

A. Well, it was more or less a voluntary nature. On that day I was playing golf at Lakewood Country Club, and when I came back to the 9th hole, I heard that Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor, that is, on December 7th, and I didn't believe it, so I said, "You have been listening to Captain Tarazan, and so forth," and he said, "Well, if you don't believe it that's all right, it came over the air." I was indeed amazed when I came back after the game to the club house and the telephone came in that they are attacking Pearl Harbor. So I immediately came back and called the Nisei leaders in Los Angeles and about, I think around 5 o'clock that night we started in the back of the Rafu Shimpo office and there we formed an anti-Axis committee. Our constitution gives me the right and the authorization to act to the best of my ability in case of an emergency, and so I acted on that authority to form that committee.

Q. And has the committee been in existence ever since?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Does it have any intelligence unit in connection with it?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. And has the intelligence unit endeavored to cooperate with the various investigating agencies of the Federal Government?

A. We have.

Q. So far as subversive and un-American activities are concerned among the Japanese people?

A. Well, we are not detectives in any sense of the word.

Q. But you have cooperated?

A. Yes, we have cooperated, we tried to give all the information that we are requested or we find that may help the various authorities.

MR. COMBS: Mr. Tayama, will you pardon us, Mr. Roth just came in and we want to have him testify briefly, then I will ask you to resume. (Witness excused.)


recalled as a witness on behalf of the Committee, previously having been duly sworn, testified further as follows:

MR. COMBS: Q. Mr. Tayama, in addition to being an officer in the Japanese American Citizens' League and a sponsor or the originator of the intelligence committee, you are active in the Japanese Y.M.C.A.?

A. Yes, I am a member.

Q. And the Japanese children---

A. Yes, a member of the Board of Directors.

Q. And a member of the Japanese Union Church?

A. Yes.

Q. I show you, Mr. Tayama, a photostatic copy of a letter printed on the stationery of the Consulate General of Japan, 22 Battery Street, San Francisco, California, dated December 10, 1925, and ask if you have seen that before (exhibiting to witness)?

A. Yes, I have.

Q. You handed that to me the other day, did you not?

A. That's right.

Q. Will you explain what it is?

A. This is called the official record of the expatriation of Japanese citizenship.

Q. May I read it?

A. Yes.

MR. COMBS. It reads as follows: (Reading.)
"December 10, 1925.
"To whom it may Concern:

"Name: Masaru Tayama.

"Date of Birth: July 15, 1905.

"This is to certify that Reijiro Wakatsuki, Minister of the Interior Department of Japan, issued a notification on the 26th day of October, 1925, establishing the fact that Masaru Tayama was expatriated from his Japanese nationality on and after the date above mentioned.

"It Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and the seal of this Consulate General, this 10th day of December, 1925.
"T. Kajima
Consul General of Japan
By a subordinate whose name is written and which is unlegible."
Q. Will you explain the circumstances under which you were named in that certificate of expatriation?

A. I believe it was in 1923 I was told that I had to apply for military extension.

Q. What do you mean by "military extension"?

A. That is, as I understand in Japan, anyone reaching the age of 20 must go through an army training or he must, if he resides in some other country, he must apply for an extension and that is the first time I found out that I was registered in Japan, and so I contacted the local Japanese Association which was in Northern California and asked them what steps I have to take in order to avoid that application for extension, and I was told that I had to make it or apply for an expatriation and so I applied for that; but I found that my father didn't register my birth in Honolulu and so I had to go to Honolulu to get that certificate of birth. I did that and after returning from Honolulu I applied for that expatriation through the Consul General in San Francisco.

Q. Have you ever seen another one?

A. No, sir.

Q. That is the only one you have ever heard of?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Now, Mr. Tayama, is it your opinion that the Issei in Southern California, at least, were engaged in subversive activities generally, prior to December 7, 1941, without the knowledge of the Nisei as a group?

A. Well, that question I don't know. I don't know if anyone was engaged in subversive activities; I was too busy with my own affairs.

Q. Has anything come to your knowledge or information since December 7, 1941, to indicate to you that may have been the case?

A. Yes, there is some information that came to me that something like that was going on.

Q. And were the Issei generally in control of the Japanese colony in its activities and policies prior to December 7, 1941?

A. I believe you're right.

Q. You believe that's correct?

A. Yes.

Q. And what do you attribute that fact to, Mr. Tayama?

A. Well, you see, the average age of the Nisei or the Japanese American is around 19-1/2 and, you see, they are minors as yet and there are a few or quite many from the citizenship membership over 18 but the average age is 19-1/2, and for that reason they haven't come of age to control the various businesses or enterprises.

Q. Did the Issei endeavor to maintain traditions or is it your opinion that the Issei were more indoctrinated with the ideology of Imperial Japanese Government than were the Nisei?

A. I believe so, yes.

Q. You believe they were? (Witness nods head affirmatively.)

Q. Do you believe that, I think you expressed this opinion the other day, in the event the war had been deferred by 5 or 6 years, the situation would have been reversed and the Nisei would have been in control of the Japanese colony in Southern California?

A. I believe that is so.

Q. You believe that 5 or 6 years would have seen the assimilation into good citizenship and loyalty of so many Nisei that they would have controlled the situation?

A. Yes, that movement has been going on for the past 2 or 3 years. You see, the average age of the Issei is 60.

Q. Yes. And the average age of the Nisei---

A. Close to 20.

Q. Yes. Has it been your experience that there is any particular bitterness or reluctance on the part of the Issei in connection with being enforced to go some place remote from the Pacific Coast area?

A. No, I don't find that, Mr. Combs. I find that the most of the Issei are waiting, they are ready to go.

Q. What do you attribute that to?

A. Well, mostly I think they're afraid that -- I heard this from many Issei -- they would rather go there in a hurry than be picked up by the F.B.I.

Q. And what about the attitude of the Nisei?

A. Well, I think in general the Nisei has taken an attitude that because of military necessity that we have to evacuate and they are willing to go.

MR. COMBS: We will excuse you, Mr. Roth is back again.


recalled as a witness on behalf of the Committee, having been previously duly sworn, testified further as follows:

MR. COMBS: Q. Mr. Tayama, you have heard of the Black Dragon Society, have you not?

A. Yes, I have heard of it.

Q. What is your understanding of its organization?

A. I don't know very much excepting what I heard and that's very little.

Q. The head of the organization is an elderly Japanese person who lives in Japan?

A. Yes, I understand his name is Mitsuru Toyama.

Q. And his picture is on badges used by the members to identify one another?

A. That's what I heard; I haven't seen one.

Q. Yes. Do you have in your possession a radiogram or a copy of radiogram that was received in connection with the Pearl Harbor incident?

A. Yes, I have.

Q. May I see it, please? (Handed to Mr. Combs.) Do you you have another copy of this, Mr. Tayama?

A. No, I haven't.

Q. Would you mind furnishing the Committee with a copy?

A. Yes, I'm perfectly willing to.

Q. You don't mind if we have this copied for the Committee and then we will send this entire sheet back again -- would that be all right?

A. Yes, sir; that's all right.

Q. What is your opinion of the general attitude of the Nisei in Southern California so far as their loyalty toward this country is concerned, Mr. Tayama?

A. Well, my opinion is, I think in the majority of the cases they are loyal to the United States.

Q. How about the Issei?

A. Well, in case of the Issei, the majority of the cases, I think their loyalty lies to Japan.

Q. Why do you think that condition exists, Mr. Tayama?

A. Well, it's hard to say, but in most cases you find that they have not been given the right to become a citizen, and for that reason they say that they have to be a citizen of some country, and I may add, if that privilege was given to them you'd find many more Issei who would feel much different than they do at the present time.

Q. You feel that is one of the strong contributing factors for their continued loyalty to the Japanese Empire?

A. I believe so.

Q. Were you acquainted with Tomo Kasurui?

A. Yes.

Q. You knew him rather intimately, did you not?

A. Well, he was a golfing friend of mine.

Q. What was his position at that time officially?

A. It was Consular of Japan at Los Angeles.

Q. What is his official position now, if you know?

A. Well, I read in the paper that he's the spokesman of the Japanese foreign staff.

Q. And did you have a conversation with him in Los Angeles regarding the possible difficulty between Japan and the United States?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you recall the substance of the conversation?

A. From time to time when we were playing golf we did have such conversations.

Q. What was the general attitude toward the possibility of war between the two countries?

A. Well, if I recall, he was saying there might be a conflict.

Q. When was that?

A. I don't remember -- when he was consular here, I believe around 1935 -- I'm not so sure.

Q. And he admitted there was a possibility of war between the two countries at that time?

A. He said there is a possibility, yes.

Q. Mr. Tayama, do you have anything you would like to add to the record which you think would be helpful to this Committee?

A. No, I can't recall anything. I would rather have you ask me questions and I will answer to the best of my recollection.

Q. I think I have asked you everything except the differentiation between the Shinto and Buddhists which I understand can be covered by another witness presently.

A. That's right.

MR. COMBS: Well, I believe I have no further questions at this time.

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