Internment of Japanese Americans on Angel Island during World War II

Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation (AIISF), thanks in large part to a grant from the Japanese American Confinement Sites program of the National Park Service, has researched the story of the 700+ Americans of Japanese descent who were arrested by the FBI in Hawaii and the West Coast after Pearl Harbor and spent some time on Angel Island. AIISF’s webpage with more history is online. The immigration station processed about 85,000 Japanese immigrants from 1910 to 1940, but during World War II was a temporary internment facility operated by the Army’s Fort McDowell. Most internees spent three weeks or fewer on the island. From there, the internees were sent to Department of Justice and US Army camps such as Missoula, Montana; Fort Sill, Oklahoma; and Lordsburg and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

This series includes stories of internees with information from their families and the National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, MD. If you have information to share about former internees, please contact AIISF at info@aiisf.org.

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The Shigenaga Brothers’ Detention on Angel Island and the Continent During World War II

Kakuro’s life in Hawai`i and arrest

Kakuro Shigenaga was born in the Hibagun district of Hiroshima-ken on August 30, 1896, came to Hawai`i in February of 1913, and settled on Maui. He was a salesman at the Kobayashi General Store in Kahului, Maui and married to Yoshie. They had four children.

Kakuro was arrested on January 7, 1942, one month after Pearl Harbor was attacked, because his diary was found during a search of his brother Shigeo’s house, and the FBI claimed his writings contained anti-American and pro-Japanese sentiments. Grandson Mark Shigenaga said that Kakuro was ...

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Nentaro Ide's Detention at the Age of 75

Nentaro (also known as Toshitaro or Mantaro) Ide was born in Fukuoka, Japan on October 13, 1867, and according to his internment file, arrived in Hawaii in 1901, where he worked on a dairy farm and lived until 1906, then left for Seattle, where he briefly lived. He then moved to San Francisco and then Concord in 1909.

He was foreman of the Shadelands Ranch, owned by the Penniman family, and also started a hotel and grocery store. Sheila Rogstad, historian of the Walnut Creek Historical Society, now housed at the former ranch, says Ide also supplied many Ygnacio Valley ...

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Rev. Asataro Yamada's Detention on Angel Island Due to His Religious Practices

Born in Aki-gun, Japan in 1878, Asataro Yamada first came to the United States in 1898 into the port of Seattle at a time when there were few restrictions on Japanese immigration. He then worked as a sailor for many years on ships that sailed all over the Pacific. He worked as a farm laborer, ran his own hardware store in Seattle, sold Chevrolet cars, and taught people from Japan how to drive, according to his grandson Byron Ishiwata. He and his wife Fusa had five children, all born in Seattle in the 1910s (one of them died as an ...

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Journalist Yasutaro Soga’s Detention on Angel Island During World War II

Japanese immigrants were arrested by the FBI on both the mainland U.S. and the islands of the Territory of Hawaii on December 7, 1941 and in the following months. By law they were “enemy aliens” and could be taken away as internees. As mentioned elsewhere on our site, Asians could not become U.S. citizens, by law. One of these immigrants was Yasutaro Soga, editor of a Japanese language newspaper in Honolulu. He and several hundred other prominent Issei (Japanese immigrants) were arrested on the evening of the attack on Pearl Harbor and sent to Sand Island, near Honolulu ...

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Chokichi Satow – “Double Angel” Detained on Angel Island at Least Twice

Satow was born in Miyagi-ken, Japan on January 15, 1885. He first arrived in San Francisco in 1903, before Angel Island became a U.S. immigration center, later returned to Japan, and then re-entered the U.S. in 1928 and 1931, when he was questioned on Angel Island. As a returning immigrant who had originally arrived before the restrictions of the 1917 and 1924 immigration laws took effect, he was allowed to return to the U.S.

Satow worked many jobs to make a living in the United States, working for ten years in Lakesburg, Idaho most likely in farming ...

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