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Jack Kiyoto Tono papers

Identifier: 2001.011

Scope and Contents

The Jack Tono Papers consist of documents, testimonies, and statements taken at the "Heart Mountain 63” and Tule Lake trials and the Redress hearings; a copy of the Lim Report commissioned by the Japanese American Citizens' League to study the role of JACL in the evacuation and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II; and Jack Tono’s speeches and personal interviews.


  • 1942-1994

Biographical / Historical

Jack Kiyoto Tono (ca. 1920) was born and raised in Gilroy, California on his family’s strawberry farm. After graduating from high school in 1939, Tono worked full-time on the farm. In May 1942, the Tono family was interned, first at the Santa Anita Assembly Center, where they were forced to live and sleep in the horse stalls, and later at the Heart Mountain, Wyoming Relocation Camp.

In 1943, when Japanese American internees became subject to the draft, Tono joined others to form the Fair Play Committee, who resisted military service on the grounds compulsory service under these circumstances was illegal and they had a constitutional right to resist. Sixty-three internees at Heart Mountain actually refused to serve. The "Heart Mountain 63,” as they were called, were tried and found guilty for evading the draft under United States court of law. Tono, along with his fellow resisters, were sentenced to 3 years in prison. They served two years and were released in 1946. The following year, on December 23, 1947, President Harry S. Truman granted full pardons to all, including Japanese Americans, who had resisted the draft.

Upon his release, Tono traveled east to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to be with his family. He worked as a welder on the local farm and aboard ships. On the weekends, he would visit his sister, Mits, in New York City, where she was learning to become a seamstress. It was on one of his trips that Tono met his future wife, Mary. They had five children together - Roxane, Jacqueline, Nadine, Deborah, and Douglas. In search of a better life, Tono took a welding job in Chicago, Illinois while the family stayed on the farm in Pennsylvania. Tono eventually saved enough money to bring his family over to Chicago.

Tono and his family felt the need to reconnect with the community and regain their sense of pride, so they joined the Midwest Buddhist Temple (MBT). Tono volunteered as the baseball coach at MBT. His proudest memory is when he and Mary went to see their son, Douglas, who was studying Judo at Kokushikan University in Japan. Tono later moved to Thornton, Colorado.

Source: Tono, Jack Kiyoto


2 boxes

Language of Materials



Stacks 02, Column 08 Shelf E

Jack Kiyoto Tono papers
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Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the JASC Legacy Center Repository

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