Hoshizaki, Takashi


Takashi “Tak” Hoshizaki was born on October 3, 1925, in Los Angeles and was the oldest of six children of parents, Keijiro and Name, who were both immigrants from Japan. Keijiro worked with his older brother, Sadagoro, who owned a company that imported Japanese goods and commodities, before branching out on his own and opening the Fujiya grocery store in the East Hollywood neighborhood that was also known as J-Flats. Hoshizaki remembers his childhood spent playing outside with other kids in the neighborhood, participating in Boy Scouts, and helping out at the grocery store. The Hoshizaki family was sent to Pomona Assembly Center, where Hoshizaki worked in the mess hall. The family arrived on August 20, 1942, at Heart Mountain, where Hoshizaki worked in the mess hall and on finishing the irrigation channel to camp. They lived in apartment 12-5-CD. At 16, he needed only two more school credits to graduate high school, so once Heart Mountain High School was up and running, he was among the first graduating class. Hoshizaki answered No to Question 27 and Yes to Question 28 of the 1943 loyalty questionnaire. When the draft began in 1944, Hoshizaki had come to feel strongly that the forced removal and incarceration his family and community were enduring was wrong. He attended one Fair Play Committee meeting, where he was surprised to see the room filled wall-to-wall with people, and though he was among the youngest in the room, he remembers speaking to the crowd, announcing that he wouldn’t be going to his pre-induction physical.

The morning he was arrested, March 26, 1944, his mother handed him a sweater and a notebook and pencil. While he was in prison awaiting trial, Hoshizaki wrote in the notebook everyday, recording his thoughts and what was happening around him. Hoshizaki was tried and convicted in the trial of 63 draft resisters in June 1944 and sentenced to three years in the federal prison at McNeil Island, Washington, for violating the Selective Service Act. He remembers learning a lot from the other inmates, many of whom were conscientious objectors to the war, and was released on June 14, 1946. He joined his family in Los Angeles, where they were fortunate to be able to return to their home, which they had leased to a neighbor during their incarceration. Hoshizaki’s father started a nursery, and Hoshizaki enrolled at Los Angeles City College. He would later go on to finish his masters at UCLA, be drafted into the military to serve in Korea, then return to UCLA to pursue a doctorate in plant biology with the help of the G.I. Bill. In the 1960s, Hoshizaki married Barbara Joe, a Chinese American biology professor who taught at Los Angeles City College. They had two children together and lived in Los Angeles until Barbara died in 2012.

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