The Voice of Shinzaburo Sumida

Gail Honda
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

The following interview write-up is the fifth of seven that will be published in The Hawai‘i Herald this year. It is part of a series titled, “In Their Own Words.”

In the spring of 1980, I had the opportunity to interview seven former internees of Honouliuli Internment Camp and the Sand Island Detention Camp at a time when their memories of being interned were still quite vivid. (The backstory on these interviews is explained in the March 16 edition of the Herald.)

The internees were: the Rev. Gyokuei Matsuura, Mrs. Haru Tanaka, Shigeo (Robert) Muroda, Dan Nishikawa, Shinzaburo Sumida, Edgar Genpachi (Jukichi) Tsushima and Harry Urata. I would like to show the families of the interviewees the write-ups before they are published, but have not yet been able to contact the family of Mr. Dan Nishikawa. If you or anyone you know is a family member of Mr. Nishikawa, please contact, or have the family member contact, me at (808) 942-4783 or gail.honda@hawaii.rr.com.

These write-ups were crafted from extensive notes taken during the interviews. The write-ups will become part of a book I plan to write, tentatively titled, “In Their Own Words: Issei, Nisei and Kibei Share Their Stories of Being Interned in Hawai‘i During World War II.”

Here is Shinzaburo Sumida’s story.

I was born in Hawai‘i and at age 2 went to Japan where I attended grammar and high school. In 1932 I returned to Hawai‘i and went to a Mainland college. I graduated college in 1936 and went to Japan again in ’37. I had dual U.S.-Japan citizenship and thus was a Japanese citizen in Japan.

So, in June of 1937, I was drafted into the Japanese army. I was a candidate for officer and made a lieutenant. In January of 1940, I was discharged and went back to school. My uncle adopted me to carry on his business. In December of 1940, I came back to Hawai‘i and married in September of 1941.

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