Kuwada, James Makoto


James “Jim” Makoto Kuwada was born on August 17, 1922 in Wapato, Washington, the second of Saisuke and Masa Kimura Kuwada’s five children. Kuwada spent six years in Japan as a young child, from 1928 to 1934, before returning to Washington. Growing up, he helped with his father’s seven-acre truck farm. When the family was forced to leave their home in 1942, Kuwada had completed one year of high school.

The Kuwada family arrived at Portland Assembly Center in early June of 1942. After nearly three months, they were sent to Heart Mountain, arriving on August 31, 1942. They lived in apartment 15-15-E. While incarcerated at Heart Mountain, Kuwada, who listed some of his hobbies as singing, harmonica playing, judo, sumo,” left camp in 1943 for seasonal work in Montana and Idaho. He was called for his pre-induction physical in late March of 1944, but refused to go. On his 1943 loyalty questionnaire, he had answered No to Question 27 and Yes to Question 28. Along with his older brother, he was arrested in April 1944 and sent to Cheyenne County Jail to await trial. In June 1944, Jim was convicted and sentenced to three years in federal prison for violating the Selective Service Act.

The rest of the Kuwada family, minus the two oldest brothers, left Heart Mountain to return to Washington in late October 1945. He eventually moved to Los Angeles, where he married Emiko Hashimoto on June 20, 1954. James “Jim” Makoto Kuwada died on April 17, 1986, in Los Angeles.

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