Sumi, Bill Sachio


Sachio Bill Sumi was born on March 26, 1919, in Seattle to Yuroku Sumi and Takiko Hashimoto, small business owners from Japan. After spending his early years in the United States, Sumi was sent to live in Wakayama, Japan. He attended grade school there until returning to the United States in 1930. He continued his education at Dayton Heights Elementary School and Virgil Junior High School in Los Angeles, California. He then attended and graduated Belmont High School in 1940. Upon joining the workforce, Sumi parlayed his skills from working the family grocery business into a career working retail produce. When the forced removal of Japanese Americans on the West Coast was ordered following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Sumi was sent to the Pomona Assembly Center with his family, including his parents and his two younger siblings Noboru and Yoko. They arrived at Pomona on May 9, 1942, and at Heart Mountain on August 28, 1942. They lived in apartment 12-6-E. Records suggest that Sumi did not work while in camp. Sumi answered No to Question 27 and Yes to Question 28 of the 1943 loyalty questionnaire. When the draft was reinstated for Nisei men, Sumi and his younger brother were both sent notices. Both brothers did not appear for their induction physicals and were arrested on April 7, 1944. They were tried and convicted in Cheyenne, Wyoming on June 1944. He was sentenced to three years in the federal prison at Leavenworth Penitentiary, Kansas. Both Sumi brothers were released in July 1946 and pardoned by President Harry Truman on December 24, 1947. After the war, he returned to California and married Sachine Ryono, with whom he had six children. Sachio Bill Sumi died on January 30, 1982, in Monterey Park, California.