Suzuki, Atsushi


Atsushi Suzuki was born on May 8, 1924, in Covina, California, the fourth of five children of Tomasaburo and Haru, who worked on local farms at the time. Eventually, the Suzukis owned their own 10-acre truck farm. They had two other sons and two daughters. Suzuki was finishing high school at the time of the forced removal in which the family moved first to the Pomona Assembly Center on May 8, 1942, and they arrived at Heart Mountain on August 19, 1942. The family lived in apartment 8-18-C. While in camp, Suzuki received multiple leave clearances to work in Idaho, Washington state, and Wyoming. By February 1943, Suzuki’s older brother Harry and sister Marian had moved to Elgin, Illinois, to work. A September 1943 investigation found that she showed no evidence of disloyalty to the United States. In early 1944, Suzuki was working for the Quaker Oat Co. in Rockford, Illinois, but he returned to Heart Mountain after receiving word that his father was ill. Suzuki failed to report for his draft induction physical on March 24, 1944, and he was arrested on April 7, 1944. He was part of the group of 63 draft resisters tried and convicted in June 1944, and he was sentenced to three years in the federal prison at McNeil Island, Washington. His parents moved to Chicago in October 1945. Suzuki was released from prison in July 1946 and was pardoned by President Harry Truman on December 24, 1947. He moved to Chicago after his release from prison and worked as an auto mechanic. He married Tori Okuno, and they eventually moved to Los Angeles, where they divorced in 1968. Atsushi Suzuki died in Los Angeles on January 4, 1990.