Wakaye, Ben Tsutomu


Ben Tsutomu Wakaye was born on January 9, 1913, in Honolulu to Naoki and Waki, who were immigrants from Japan. The family moved to San Francisco when Wakaye was about to enter second grade, and they remained there until the signing of Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942. Wakaye held multiple jobs in the San Francisco area and was an insurance salesman at the time of the forced removal. He was sent first to the Pomona Assembly Center on May 12, 1942 and arrived at Heart Mountain on August 20, 1942. Wakaye lived in apartment 9-2-B with his widowed mother and two sisters. He answered No to Question 27 and Yes to Question 28 of the 1943 loyalty questionnaire. After the start of the military draft in 1944, Wakaye became the treasurer of the Fair Play Committee. He was arrested for violating the Selective Service Act on May 13, 1944 and was tried with the 63 draft resisters in June 1944. Wakaye was convicted and sentenced to three years in the federal prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. On July 20, 1944, he was charged with inciting people to resist the draft. He was convicted again and sentenced to two years in prison, but that conviction was overturned on appeal. He was released in July 1946. After prison, Wakaye returned to San Francisco, where he worked as a gardener and janitor. Ben Tsutomu Wakaye died on November 8, 1952, in San Francisco.