Akio Konoshima

Born in Tokyo on Jan. 5, 1924, Akio Konoshima arrived in the United States on June 23 of that year, about a week before the effective date of the Oriental Exclusion Act. He grew up on raspberry and truck garden farms outside of what is now the heart of “Silicon Valley.” During WWII, he was at Santa Anita and then Heart Mountain, rejected by the Army because, as an Issei, he remained classified as an “enemy alien.” Since the end of the war, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin, studied Japanese at the Army Language School, served in Japan and Korea, then attended graduate school to study Japan and the Far East at Columbia University.

Konoshima retired in 1995 after having worked, among other positions, as a press secretary for the late Senator Hiram Fong and an information specialist at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. He has three grown children and four grandchildren. Now he resides with his wife, a Shanghai-born Chinese American. He is comfortably retired, being babied and scolded while living, reading the newspapers and wondering where America and the rest of the world are going now.

Updated October 2010

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What Pearl Harbor Wrought

A Soldier is a Soldier - Part 1

June 25, 1950: North Korea invades South Korea. The United States was convinced that the Korean War made an early peace treaty with Japan imperative…President Truman announced in mid-September, 1950, that the United States intended to begin informal discussions with the Allies on the question. (Hugh Borton, Japan’s Modern Century.)

Jo studied the other passengers on the bus. Could any of them be a relative? The farm woman in baggy, unbleached denim workpants, a pin-striped blue blouse and a graying bonnet—could she be a cousin? The heavy-set man with white whiskers and an unlit pipe in his ...

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What Pearl Harbor Wrought

Flo - Part 3

It was not until the initial block meeting was ending that Jo noticed Flo and Hideo at one of the front tables, talking to Flo's two brothers and people Jo didn't recognize. Jo could not hear what they were saying, but he could see the shaking of heads and animated hand gestures.

More block meetings, again often late into the night, followed. Though Jo had made up his own mind, the turmoil among his friends continued as they agonized over what choices to make. Tom Suzuki, the only son of a gardener, for example, spent days talking to ...

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What Pearl Harbor Wrought

Flo - Part 2

The winter of 1942-43 at Heart Mountain was severe, or maybe all winters there were that severe. At 20 degrees or so below zero moisture would freeze on the hair in Jo’s nostrils when he breathed in. That Christmas brought the first deep snow—about a foot—that Jo was to experience.

If anything, though, the winter harshness seemed to have made the romance between Flo and her boy friend that much cozier. Jo noticed, for instance, that while walking outside in the cold wind, the two now kept their arms around each other for warmth and support even ...

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What Pearl Harbor Wrought

Flo - Part 1

January 29, 1943: A War Department press release announces the registration program for both recruitment for military service and leave clearance.

February 6, 1943: Army teams were scheduled to visit the 10-WRA administered camps…to register all male nisei of draft age. Each had to complete a special questionnaire, designed to test their “loyalty” and willingness to serve in the armed forces.

Had things gone as they normally would have (if anything about camp living could be called normal) Flo probably would have had a good life. One happy aspect of the 10 relocation centers where the Japanese Americans were ...

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