Hirose, Kazuto


Kazuto Hirose was born on December 12, 1924, in San Jose, California. His mother, Hatsume, and his father, Masaru, immigrated to the United States from Kumamoto Prefecture and raised their large family on a berry farm in the countryside of San Jose. Before his incarceration at Heart Mountain, Kazuto finished 11th grade at San Jose High School, where he enjoyed basketball, baseball, football, and track, though one of his favorite hobbies was fixing radios. The Hirose family was sent to Santa Anita Assembly Center on May 28, 1942. They arrived at Heart Mountain on September 13, 1942, and Hirose eventually began his senior year of high school in camp. They lived in apartment 23-15-BC. From the spring of 1943 through early 1944, Kazuto left Heart Mountain to work on a farm in Lovell, Wyoming, and, later, as a laborer with the Northern Pacific Railroad Company. Hirose answered No to Question 27 and Yes to Question 28 of the 1943 loyalty questionnaire. He was arrested for violating the Selective Service Act on April 7, 1944, was tried and convicted in the trial of 63 draft resisters in June 1944 and sentenced that month to three years in the federal prison at McNeil Island, Washington. After his release from prison in July 1946, Hirose and his brother Kazuki went to work for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific Railroad Co. When the rest of the Hirose family left Heart Mountain and returned to what was left of their home in San Jose, Hirose and Kazuki joined them to help the family rebuild their lives. He worked in gardens, nurseries and ranches in San Jose, often with his younger brother, Raymond. Kazuto Hirose died on August 1, 1977, in San Jose, California.