Watanabe, Hiromu


Hiromu Watanabe was born March 3, 1916, in Covina, California, to Ihei and Toku, who were both immigrants from Japan. He had four sisters. The family lived in Southern California during Watanabe’s childhood, and after high school he worked on a local truck farm. During the forced removal, the family was sent to the Pomona Assembly Center on May 14, 1942, and then they arrived at Heart Mountain on August 25, 1942. The family lived in apartment 20-10-B. Watanabe answered No to Question 27 and Yes to Question 28 on the 1942 loyalty questionnaire. He received leave clearances to work on a farm in Montana and on the Chicago, Burlington, Quincy Railroad in Montana in 1943. While the family was incarcerated, Watanabe’s sister Hanaye was sent to the California State Mental Hospital in Camarillo in 1944. She died there the next year. Watanabe was in the second trial of draft resisters in July 1945. He was convicted and sentenced to two years in federal prison. Watanabe was pardoned by President Harry Truman on December 24, 1947. After prison, he moved to Long Beach, California, where 1950 Census records show he lived with his parents and his three remaining sisters. Watanabe worked as a scale operator at a fish cannery. Hiromu Watanabe died on November 23, 2011, in Long Beach, California.