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Shinta, Ken Kenji

Biography:


Kenji Shinta was born on September 9, 1921, in Mountain View, California, to Wasaku Shinta and Hisayo Iida, farmers from Hiroshima, Japan. Shinta attended school until he was 14, when a year-long case of tuberculosis kept him hospitalized. Shinta dropped out of school following his illness, instead working on the family farm and learning carpentry on the job. He was involved in his community, appearing on Japanese American Citizens League rolls for 1941. Beginning in 1940, Shinta attended night school in Mountain View, but his schooling was interrupted by the forced removal of Japanese Americans living on the West Coast in spring 1942. The Shinta family arrived at the Santa Anita Assembly Center on May 28, 1942, and at Heart Mountain on September 10, 1942. They lived in apartment 23-11-D. Shinta worked as a farm hand and carpentry assistant for the War Relocation Authority. When answering the 1943 loyalty questionnaire, Shinta answered “no, until I can farm in California” to Question 27 and Yes to Question 28. He was arrested on April 7, 1944, and was tried and convicted in the June 1944 trial of 63 draft resisters. Shinta was sentenced to three years in federal prison. He was released in July 1946 and pardoned by President Harry Truman on December 24, 1947. After the war, he lived in Cupertino, California, and worked as a draftsman for the Westinghouse Electric Corp. Kenji Shinta died on December 26, 1960, in San Jose.

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