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Kubota, Guntaro

Biography:


Guntaro Kubota was born August 16, 1902, in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. He graduated from university in Japan in 1923 and immigrated to California shortly thereafter. From 1927 through 1942, Kubota managed his own truck farm in Santa Clara County, California, growing raspberries and vegetables. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Kubota moved to Los Angeles, where he taught Judo and did secretarial work at the Buddhist Temple. He also did secretarial work and bookkeeping at Sokoji Temple in San Francisco before returning to the Santa Clara area in 1937. 

Kubota’s future wife, Gloria Tsugiko Kasano, was born June 6, 1916, at the Japanese Hospital in San Jose. She grew up in the Cupertino area, where she eventually met Kubota. The two were married and had their first child, Grace, on May 22, 1941. On May 28, 1942, the family arrived at Santa Anita Assembly Center. Gloria and Grace arrived at Heart Mountain on September 13, 1942. Kubota joined his young family on October 30, 1942. Throughout 1943 and 1944, he left Heart Mountain for work leave in Colorado and Idaho. Though he was an issei, and therefore ineligible for the draft, Kubota became one of the leaders of the Fair Play Committee (FPC) and was responsible for drumming up support among the issei, including raising funds for the committee. Gloria Kubota, like many of the female family members of the FPC, supported her husband and was proud of his resistance. Their son, Gordon, was born July 8, 1944. Kubota was arrested on July 20, 1944, with Paul Nakadate and Frank Emi. He was tried and convicted of encouraging incarcerees to violate the Selective Service Act. Kubota was sentenced to four years in the federal prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he and Frank Emi were cellmates. Kubota sent letters to his family incarcerated at Heart Mountain, including Gordon; these letters are digitized and available online. Kubota’s sentence was overturned on appeal in December 1945, and he was released in February 1946.

After his release from Leavenworth, Kubota worked as a Porter in a bar in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The family eventually returned to San Jose, where he operated his own business. Guntaro Kubota died on May 13, 1967, in San Jose.

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