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Fujii, Jiro John

Biography:


Jiro John Fujii was born on January 4, 1916, in Florin, California, to Shigetaro and Toku (Awane) Fujii, fruit farmers in the Sacramento area. Fujii was one of five children, though his brother, Kengo, died in 1921 from heart trouble. Fujii’s father died in 1935 from a cerebral hemorrhage. As the oldest sibling, Fujii took on the responsibility as head of the household. Despite this role, he finished 11th grade at Elk Grove High School and completed considerable coursework in general studies, without receiving credit, at Sacramento Junior College. Before being forcibly removed, first to Arboga (Marysville) Assembly Center and then to Tule Lake, Fujii and his family were working on contract toward owning their own 50-acre vineyard. He answered No to Question 27 and Yes to Question 28 on the 1943 loyalty questionnaire. During the segregation of so-called disloyal incarcerees to Tule Lake in the fall of 1943, the Fujii family transferred to Topaz in Central Utah. While his sisters ultimately relocated to the Chicago area, Fujii spent time on leave from camp, exploring much of the western United States to determine where might be a good area to settle down with his business partner, Harry Nakaya, to return to farming. In fact, while visiting Nakaya, who was incarcerated at Heart Mountain, in April 1944, Fujii requested to officially transfer to Heart Mountain. His request to transfer was granted, though his later request for permanent leave clearance was denied, despite his having traveled extensively around the area already. When Fujii received word in June 1944 that he was considered acceptable to the Army and would be drafted soon, he refused to appear for his physical examination, indignant that he would be denied leave clearance yet deemed acceptable to the Army. Fujii was arrested in August 1944 for violating the Selective Service Act and, though he seems to have indicated a desire to be repatriated to Japan, he was not and instead was sentenced to two years at McNeil Island, Washington. Fujii was pardoned by President Harry Truman in on December 24, 1947. Jiro John Fujii died on March 27, 1997, in Palatine, Illinois.

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