Guntaro Kubota


Name Guntaro Kubota
Born August 16 1903
Died May 13 1967
Birth Location Nagano, Japan
Generational Identifier

Issei

Draft resistance leader and member of the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee (FPC). The lone Issei among FPC leaders, Guntaro Kubota (1903–67) wrote and translated material in Japanese and gave presentations in Japanese aimed at securing Issei support for the work of the FPC. Kubota was born in Nagano, Japan, on August 16, 1903, and graduated from Meiji University in Tokyo. He migrated to the U.S. just before the ban on Japanese immigration took effect in 1924. He became a Japanese language school teacher in Cupertino, California, and married one his Nisei former students, Gloria Kasano. When the family went sent to Santa Anita Assembly Center and then on to Heart Mountain, they had an infant daughter; a son was later born in camp.

Though he was not eligible for the draft as an "enemy alien" and had a family to support, Kubota was drawn to the principles of the FPC and worked to secure Issei financial support. Along with six other leaders of the FPC, and journalist James Omura, he was later charged with conspiracy to counsel, aide, and abet draft resistance, with all but Omura found guilty. He was given a sentence of two years. His conviction and those of the other FPC leaders was overturned on appeal at the end of 1945, and, with the government ultimately deciding not to pursue the case further, he was released from prison in February 1946.

After his release from prison, the family settled in Saratoga, California, where Kubota worked as a landscape contractor. He passed away on May 13, 1967.

Authored by Brian Niiya, Densho

For More Information

Chin, Frank. "Come All Ye Asian American Writers of the Real and the Fake." In The Big Aiiieeeee!: An Anthology of Chinese American and Japanese American Literature. Edited by Jeffery Paul Chan, Frank Chin, Lawson Fusao Inada, and Shawn Wong. New York: Meridian, 1991. 1–92.

---. Born in the USA: A Story of Japanese America, 1889–1947. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002.

Densho interview with Gloria Kubota, by Frank Abe and Frank Chin, August 28, 1993.

"Guntaro Kubota." Conscience and the Constitution website

Kubota's letters from prison, Conscience and the Constitution website

Nelson, Douglas W. Heart Mountain: The History of an American Concentration Camp. Madison: The State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1976.