Matsushita, Kikuji


Kikuji “Kik” Matsushita was born on July 9, 1923, on Terminal Island to Choji and Toyono (Adachi), both Issei from Tottori-ken, Japan. He  was the fifth of seven children. His father, Choji, was a fisherman until he retired and Matsushita’s older brother, Shigeru, took over. Matsushita attended high school in San Pedro until April 1942. According to records, his father Choji was arrested and detained following the attack on Pearl Harbor, though later paroled and able to rejoin his family. During the forced removal, the family was sent to the Pomona Assembly Center on May 10, 1942. Around this time, Kikuji’s mother had died, leaving Choji Matsushita a widower.

Five members of the Matsushita family were sent to Heart Mountain, where they arrived on August 20, 1942. They lived in apartment 2-17-EF. While incarcerated, Matsushita left for seasonal farm work in Wyoming and elsewhere in the area. According to his record, he was trained in pottery, woodworking, and as a barber, in addition to his experience working for his brother as a fisherman. In early 1943, Matsushita responded Yes to Question 28, but left a longer response to Question 27, writing, “No. Because I’m in a concentration camp & that means I’m a dangerous character to the U.S. Gov.”

Though Matsushita attended his pre-induction physical and was declared fit for service, he sought a deferment because he had obtained farmland with an associate near Hardin, Montana, and was hoping to harvest the crops before reporting for service. Receiving no response to his repeated requests, Matsushita refused to appear for induction on September 6, 1944. He was arrested and sent to Laramie County Jail on November 21, 1944, and was tried and convicted in July 1945 of violating the Selective Service Act. Matsushita was sentenced to two years in federal prison and was pardoned by President Harry Truman on December 24, 1947.

Kikuji Matsushita died on May 5, 1964, in Los Angeles.

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