Matsumoto, Akira


Akira Matsumoto was born to Issei parents Sukesa and Chiyono  on August 3, 1923, in Los Angeles, where Sukesa worked as a laundryman. He was the oldest of two sons. His younger brother, Teruo, was born in 1926. Matsumoto attended school in Los Angeles, graduating from Belmont High School in 1941 and beginning trade school shortly thereafter. He listed his occupation at the time of his removal as “student.”

After being forcibly removed from their home in the Los Angeles area, the Matsumoto family was sent first to Pomona Assembly Center, arriving on May 9, 1942. Matsumoto took the first train from Pomona to Heart Mountain, arriving at camp on August 12, 1942. He filled out his loyalty questionnaire in February 1943, answering questions 27 and 28 with a simple “no” and “yes,” respectively. While incarcerated at Heart Mountain, Matsumoto left for seasonal work in Nebraska and elsewhere in the West before being called for his pre-induction physical in late March 1944.

Matsumoto was arrested on April 7, 1944, and was tried and convicted in the trial of 63 draft resisters in June 1944. He was sentenced to three years in the federal prison McNeil Island, Washington. He was released in July 1946 and pardoned by President Harry Truman on December 24, 1947.  

After the war, Matsumoto opened a retail nursery business with his younger brother, Teruo, in the Los Angeles area. He married Mary Okamoto on November 15, 1953. Akira Matsumoto died on August 9, 2009, in Torrance, California.

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