Hideo Yonenaka

Hideo Yonenaka was born in San Jose, California in 1926 and grew up on a strawberry farm. From May 8, 1942 to May 13, 1946 he was incarcerated in the following concentration camps—Tanforan Assembly Center; Topaz, Utah; Tule Lake Center; Bismarck, North Dakota; and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Yonenaka earned a B.A. in Zoology from the University of California, Berkeley; a M.A. in Bacteriology; and a Ph.D. in Microbial Physiology from the University of Southern California. He served in the United States Army at the Army Chemical Center in Edgewood, Maryland. Yonenaka was a Microbiology and Biology instructor at San Francisco State University until his retirement in 1994. Happily married with two children and two precious granddaughters, Dr. Yonenaka likes to use his spare time to do watercolor and Sumi-e painting, read novels, watch sporting events, travel, and attempt to play golf. He is an active member of the Konko Church of San Francisco.

Updated August 22, 2008

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Enduring Communities

Resisting Incarceration in Concentration Camps

On May 8, 1942, I moved from South Palo Alto in Santa Clara County, California, to East Palo Alto in San Mateo County to be with my grandmother, who was then ill. Between May 9 and September 1943, I was detained at the Tanforan Assembly Center in San Bruno, California, just south of San Francisco. I was angry about being incarcerated on May 9 because that was the day before the high school track and field finals, and here I was about to lose my freedom. When I was at Tanforan, I made many new friends and learned a lot from the Issei (immigrant-generation Japanese Americans ineligible for US …

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