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Tamesa, Minola Minoru

Biography:


Minola Minoru Tamesa was born on September 11, 1908, in Seattle, the son of Uhachi and Natsu, who were immigrants from Japan. Uhachi was a fruit farmer in the Seattle area, where Tamesa went to high school and business college. He later worked as a fisherman, lumber piler, and seafood marketer. Tamesa had two sisters. He owned land in Seattle, which he leased out when he and his family were forced to leave. They went first to the Pinedale Assembly Center on May 13, 1942, and then to the Tule Lake incarceration camp on July 24, 1942. Tamesa and his father were transferred to Heart Mountain as part of the segregation of so-called loyal and disloyal Japanese Americans on September 27, 1943. They lived in apartment 14-2-B. Throughout the first two years of his incarceration, Tamesa was engaged in a legal battle over plans to widen a road next to his property in Seattle. He sought payment for the land that was condemned and eventually received a $30,000 court settlement. Tamesa answered No to Question 27 and Yes to Question 28 of the 1943 loyalty questionnaire. He was arrested on May 13, 1944, for failing to appear for his induction physical, and he was tried and convicted for violating the Selective Service Act in June 1944. While he was serving his three-year prison sentence, Tamesa was charged again on July 20, 1944, for his activities on the Fair Play Committee. Tamesa and Frank Emi had attempted to walk out of the Heart Mountain camp but were stopped by the military guards. They wanted to show that the incarcerees were not free to move as they wished. He was convicted again, although that verdict was overturned on appeal in 1945. After the war, Tamesa returned to Seattle, where he had trouble finding work. He eventually worked at the Olympic Foundry. Minola Minoru Tamesa died on April 11, 1964, of leukemia in Seattle.

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