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Tono, Jack Kiyoto

Biography:


Jack Kiyoto Tono was born on November 16, 1920 in Gilroy, California. He was the first of 12 children of Matsuhei and Shiteyo Tono, who would run a farm in Mountain View, California, during Tono’s childhood and young adult life before the forced removal. The family was sent to the Santa Anita Assembly Center on May 28, 1942, and they arrived at Heart Mountain on Septemberj 13, 1942. They lived in apartment 23-17-DE. Tono applied for and received leave clearances in 1942 and 1943 to work on the sugar beet harvest in Montana and to work on a sheep ranch in Billings, Montana. In Santa Anita, he helped create camouflage nets for U.S. troops. He answered Yes to Questions 27 and 28 of the 1943 loyalty questionnaire. Tono provided three conditions for his answer to Question 28, including the request that he “get into the air corps as pilot.” He was arrested on April 7, 1944, and tried and convicted in the trial of 63 draft resisters in June 1944. During the trial, Tono remarked to a fellow defendant that he knew they would be convicted when he heard District Judge T. Blake Kennedy call the defendants “you Jap boys.” He was sentenced to three years in the federal prison at McNeil Island, Washington. He was released in July 1946 and pardoned by President Harry Truman on December 24, 1947. After prison, he moved to Chicago, where some of his family had moved after the incarceration. He married his wife Mary, and they had five children–four daughters and a son. In the years after World War II, Tono gave several interviews and oral histories about his experiences, including with documentarian Frank Abe and the Wyoming State Archives. Jack Kiyoto Tono died on November 1, 2015, in Thornton, Colorado.

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