2016 Guest Speaker Mas Hashimoto


Through a moving collection of slides and memorabilia, Mas Hashimoto shared with our members and guests recollections of his family and other Japanese Americans who had been forced from their homes and sent to internment camps after Pearl Harbor was bombed. President Franklin Roosevelt had signed executive Order 9066 authorizing the Secretary of War to prescribe certain areas as military zones, clearing the way for the deportation of more than120,000 Japanese Americans to ten internment camps spread throughout the western and mid-western United States.

Now a retired Watsonville High School teacher, Mr. Hashimoto was six years old when his family was uprooted from their Watsonville home along with thousands of other first, second and third generation Japanese Americans from the Central Coast. They spent four months in Salinas at a camp created of old horse stalls and then were moved to an internment camp in Poston, Arizona where they lived for four years.

Mr. Hashimoto shared how profoundly people were challenged, as individuals and families, and how they came together as a community to meet their educational, cultural, medical and other critical needs. When the war was over, although his widowed mother had managed to hold onto their home with the help of a friend, most had no house or business to come home to and had to re-build their lives.

Mas Hashimoto and his wife Marcia spend much of their time in retirement working in various ways to raise awareness of how dangerous it is to take away civil and constitutional rights from one group of people based on their culture or ethnicity. Those who attended our March meeting will never forget this truth.