Internment of Japanese Americans on Angel Island during World War II

Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation (AIISF), thanks in large part to a grant from the Japanese American Confinement Sites program of the National Park Service, has researched the story of the 700+ Americans of Japanese descent who were arrested by the FBI in Hawaii and the West Coast after Pearl Harbor and spent some time on Angel Island. AIISF’s webpage with more history is online. The immigration station processed about 85,000 Japanese immigrants from 1910 to 1940, but during World War II was a temporary internment facility operated by the Army’s Fort McDowell. Most internees spent three weeks or fewer on the island. From there, the internees were sent to Department of Justice and US Army camps such as Missoula, Montana; Fort Sill, Oklahoma; and Lordsburg and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

This series includes stories of internees with information from their families and the National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, MD. If you have information to share about former internees, please contact AIISF at

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Making Do: Sukeichi Kameoka in Detention and His Family at Home

Sukeichi Kameoka was born on April 24, 1888, in Kojiro-mura, Kuga-gun, Yamaguchi-ken, Japan. He had three brothers. In the early 1900s, the 1905 Russo-Japanese War was looming overhead, and in Japan, conscription was mandatory for men of a certain age. Sukeichi left Japan to escape the draft (Interview with Kazuko Tengan, 11/23/19). He was also the second son in his family, so all of their possessions would be left to his older brother, and he would get nothing. So he left for America.

Sukeichi arrived in Hawaii in 1904, when he was just sixteen. At first, he was hired as …


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Father of Seven Taken from His Family

Hisajiro Inouye was born in Gotsu, Shimane, Japan, on January 8, 1897, to parents Kennosuke and Yome Inouye. He was married to Takeyo Inouye at 18 years of age, and the next year he and his family moved to America. They arrived in 1916, and settled in San Jose, along Gish Road, becoming tenant farmers.

The family settled on land owned by John Della Maggiore, an Italian immigrant from Firenza (Florence), Italy, who helped him farm along with several other Japanese American families. Hisajiro was very active in the Japanese community, specifically with the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin, of …


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Hikoshichi Higuchi's Wartime Odyssey

Hikoshichi Higuchi was born on December 13, 1880, in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. He immigrated to Hawaii on July 1, 1904, just before the Russo-Japanese War would commence, soon followed by his brother, Harunosuke, who lived in Santa Clara. After briefly staying in Hawaii, he eventually traveled to Monterey, California. There, he worked as a fisherman and gardener. Soon, he married Haruyo Ichigi, an Elementary School teacher. Together, they had four children: Yoshi, born in 1914, Sachi, born in 1916, George, born in 1918, and Takashi, born in 1921. He was also an instrumental member in establishing the Monterey Buddhist Church …


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Wakijiro Yuki's Detention Because of Kendo

Wakijiro Yahiro was born on April 8, 1885, in Kamisaigo-mura, a little fishing and farming village in Fukuoka prefecture, on the northern coast of Kyushu, Japan. He had three brothers and two sisters, who were all farmers. After he finished school, he began working on a small civilian fishing boat, which frequented the waters by their home.

One day there was an accident, and the ship sank, making him the only survivor. He was eventually rescued by the Juteopolis, a three masted American ship. For five years, he sailed around the world, visiting nearly every continent, as …


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The Shigenaga Brothers’ Detention on Angel Island and the Continent During World War II

Kakuro’s life in Hawai`i and arrest

Kakuro Shigenaga was born in the Hibagun district of Hiroshima-ken on August 30, 1896, came to Hawai`i in February of 1913, and settled on Maui. He was a salesman at the Kobayashi General Store in Kahului, Maui and married to Yoshie. They had four children.

Kakuro was arrested on January 7, 1942, one month after Pearl Harbor was attacked, because his diary was found during a search of his brother Shigeo’s house, and the FBI claimed his writings contained anti-American and pro-Japanese sentiments. Grandson Mark Shigenaga said that Kakuro was staying in Honolulu at …




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