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Sumida, Ken Kenroku

Biography:


Kenroku Sumida was born on August 1, 1912, in Honolulu to Kisaku Sumida and Hisano Morii, farmers from Japan. After spending his first seven years in Hawaii, Sumida and his parents moved to Japan in 1919. There he attended school until graduating and returning on his own to live in the United States in 1928. Sumida maintained dual citizenship and worked as a butler and waiter for a wealthy family living in Beverly Hills and as a carpenter. He lived a solitary life in Los Angeles, briefly interrupted by a visit to his parents in Hiroshima in 1932. His brother had planned to join him in the United States and lead the local Young Buddhists in 1938 but those plans were put on hold by the rising tensions between the United States and Empire of Japan. During the forced removal, Sumida arrived first at the Santa Anita Assembly Center on May 9, 1942, and at Heart Mountain on September 5, 1942. He lived in apartment 21-19-A. He answered No to Question 27 and Yes to Question 28 on the 1943 loyalty questionnaire. Sumida was arrested on April 7, 1944 and tried and convicted in June 1944. He was sentenced to three years in the federal prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Sumida was released in July 1946 and pardoned by President Harry Truman on December 24, 1947. The 1950 Census showed Sumida lived alone in Chicago, where he was a cabinet maker. Kenroku Sumida died on May 9, 1990, in Los Angeles.

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