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Matsuura, Frank Morikazu

Biography:


Frank Morikazu Matsuura was born in Belleview City, Washington, on November 3, 1908, to Issei parents Ichiki and Toye (Kuwahara). Ichiki Matsuura worked as a gardener. Matsuura attended grammar school in Yakima, Washington, before the family moved to Los Angeles in 1926. He graduated from Long Beach Polytechnic High School in 1932 and found work as a manager and bookkeeper at Three Star Produce, a produce retailer. On February 23, 1938, Matsuura married Tayeko Narukawa. On January 28, 1939, the couple’s first child, daughter Teiko Jane, was born.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Matsuura family was forcibly removed to Santa Anita on April 28, 1942, where their second child, a son, Dennis Koichi, on June 19, 1942. The family, along with the elder Matsuura parents, Ichiki and Toye, and one of Matsuura’s sisters, Seiko, arrived at Heart Mountain on October 30, 1942. They lived in apartment 28-13-B. Another sister, Helen Nishizu, was also incarcerated at Heart Mountain with her husband and family. While incarcerated at Heart Mountain, Matsuura left for seasonal work in Idaho, Wyoming, and Washington. He answered No to Question 27 and Yes to Question 28 on the 1943 loyalty questionnaire. On December 1, 1944, Tayeko gave birth to their third child, Marilyn Miyoko.

Matsuura was called to report for his pre-induction physical on February 27, 1944. According to Heart Mountain Assistant Project Director Douglas M. Todd, Matsuura was ill and unable to appear. Because Matsuura had, the day before, applied for his leave permit and made arrangements to leave with the other men, Todd believed his failure to appear was unintentional and that he would be prepared to go with the next call. In an interview after Matsuura’s death, his widow recalled that he attended meetings organized by the Fair Play Committee and had, in fact, decided that he could not honor his draft notice because he had been denied his civil liberties and due process.

Matsuura was arrested on March 27, 1944, and was tried and convicted in June 1944 with 62 other draft resisters. He was sentenced to three years in the federal prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. On October 26, 1945, the rest of the Matsuura family, including his wife, Tayeko, and their three young children, left Heart Mountain for Los Angeles. Matsuura was pardoned by President Harry Truman on December 24, 1947.

Frank Matsuura died on October 9, 1967, in Los Angeles.

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