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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Mantsuchi and Sojuro Nakamura: Japanese Immigrant Farmers in California’s Central Valley

Mantsuchi Nakamura was born on February 27, 1877 in Hiroamachi, a small village in Yamaguchi-ken on the isolated Yanai Peninsula of western Honshu, during the time of the Meiji emperor. He was the eldest of seven children. His granddaughter-in-law, Katherine Peters Yamada, notes that many of the people in this region were quite poor in the late 1800s. Despite its isolated location, 420 men from Yamaguchi-ken responded to contractors from the Hawaiian government who were recruiting Japanese laborers for the rapidly expanding sugar industry.

Ineligible for the draft because he was too short, Mantsuchi went to Hawaii sometime around 1900 ...

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The Hoshidas’ Journeys Through Angel Island during World War II

George Yoshio Hoshida was arrested and detained on February 6, 1942. Information in his file at the National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, MD notes that he was a member of the Kilauea Central Japanese Association, United Young Buddhist Association (YBA), and the Waiakea Houselots Association. A confidential informant noted that believed Hoshida was “pro-Japanese” because he was a treasurer for the Hawaii Budo Kyo Kai, a judo association and due to his involvement with the YBA.

In his testimony, Hoshida read a letter he wrote. “Now Japan and America are at war – my country or mother who ...

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George Hishida – A Life in Photography Interrupted by World War II

George Mioya Hishida was born in Fukushima, Japan, in 1896 to a Christian missionary father who was absent from the family for long periods of time. He had two brothers and two sisters, and after graduating high school in 1913, he immigrated through Seattle and then went to Los Angeles to join his oldest brother. The brothers then worked in Salt Lake City, Utah, where his brother worked on the railroad and George worked as a sugar beet contractor and also in the spring and summer for the Southern Pacific Railroad as section hand. He also worked at the Garfield ...

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Takeo Akizaki: American Citizen Detained Twice on Angel Island During World War II

Takeo Akizaki was one of nineteen men detained on Angel Island from August 5 to 7, 1942. This group was composed of men from Hawai`i, and according to Yasutaro Soga, all were U.S. citizens. Akizaki, who had also been detained on the island in March of that year on his way to Department of Justice camps, became a Shinto priest, and his beliefs were instrumental in his detention in these camps for most of the duration of World War II.

Between 1910 and 1940, Angel Island processed hundreds of thousands of immigrants, including many from Japan, and it ...

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