Washington High holds honorary graduation ceremony for Japanese internees

The Fresno BeeApril 12, 2014 

Washington Union High School in Easton will give honorary diplomas to 19 second-generation Japanese-Americans who would have graduated from the school if not for their internment during World War II.

The ceremony will be at 7 p.m. on June 6 during the school's regular commencement, to be held in Washington Union's new John Ventura Stadium.

Washington Union alumna Jean Yamamoto is organizing the event for second-generation Japanese-Americans (Nisei) who were pulled out of the high school soon after the start of World War II and sent with their families to government internment camps. Those affected were in the classes of 1942-45.

Yamamoto said she's seeking information on 19 honorary graduates: Hisaye Kanegawa, Mari Kimura, Marie Matsumoto, Sanai Watarida and Haruye, Kiyoshi and Shizuko Muroi, Class of 1942; H. Hayashi (male), M. Hayashi (female), K. Hirasuna (female), K. Nagai (male), Katsuko Okimoto, B. Outa (male), Roy Sato and E. Takahashi (female), Class of 1943; Tom Nakayama, Class of 1944; and T. Kumasaki (female), Mits Matsumoto (male) and Aiko Outa, Class of 1945.

Anyone with contact information for one of the 19 and/or their relatives is asked to call Yamamoto at (559) 260-7516 or email her at jnenyo@hotmail.com.

Yamamoto said relatives are encouraged to accept the diploma if the honoree can't.

The reporter can be reached at metro@fresnobee.com.

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