Tsuyako Kitashima

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Tsuyako Kitashima
Born 1918
Died December 29, 2006(2006-12-29) (aged 87–88)
Nationality American
Other names Sox
Home town Japantown, San Francisco, California

Tsuyako "Sox" Kitashima (1918 – December 29, 2006) was a Japanese-American activist noted for her role in seeking reparations for Japanese American internment by the United States government during World War II,[1] particularly as investigated by the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians in the 1980s.[2]

Kitashima was born in 1918 in Hayward, California, to parents who had emigrated from Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan and owned a strawberry farm.[2] She had five siblings. At school, her classmates were unable to pronounce her name, calling her "Socko" instead; this in time was further shortened to "Sox". Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Kitashima and her family were among those 120,000 Japanese Americans interned into relocation camps.[2] They were kept in horse stalls at Tanforan, California, and later moved to a single room at Topaz War Relocation Center in Utah.[1] In August 1945, Kitashima married.[1]

She later became a spokesperson for the National Coalition for Redress and Reparations, and fought for the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, by which the American government formally apologized and granted reparations to the wartime internees.[2] In 1998, The Freedom Forum awarded her a Free Spirit Award, which came with US$10,000.[2] She has also been recognized by the National Women's History Project as a National Women's History Month/Week honoree.[3]

Kitashima died of a heart attack in a care home in San Francisco, California on December 29, 2006, aged 87.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Taylor, Sandra C. (1993). "Nikkei Lives: The Impact of Internment". Jewel of the Desert: Japanese American Internment at Topaz. Berkeley: University of California Press. OCLC 214503960. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Johnson, Jason B. (January 10, 2006). "Tsuyako Kitashima – 'godmother' of Japantown". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Communications. p. B – 5. Retrieved September 30, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Tsuyako "Sox" Kitashima (1919-)". nwhp.org. National Women's History Project. Retrieved October 2, 2009. 

External links[edit]