Howard Imazeki


Name Howard Imazeki
Born May 25 1907
Died October 4 1994
Birth Location Japan
Generational Identifier

Issei

Journalist, longtime editor of the Hokubei Mainichi newspaper after World War II. A pioneering "Nisei" journalist, Imazeki was actually born in Japan in 1907 and migrated to the U.S in 1918 to join his father. He attended American schools and graduated from Sacramento Junior College, working subsequently for the Hokubei Asahi newspaper. He decided to pursue a degree in journalism and attended the University of Missouri, graduating in 1934. In the interim, the Hokubei Asahi had merged with another newspaper, the Shin Sekai, to form the Shin Sekai Asahi, and Imazeki became the editor of the English section of the new paper upon his return, sharing the position for a time with the James Omura, the former Shin Sekai editor whose views were often at odds with Imazeki. After marrying and starting a family, Imazeki left journalism seeking better wages and was working in the poultry business at the outbreak of World War II.

Like all other Japanese Americans on the West Coast, Imazeki and his family were forcibly removed and incarcerated, in his case at Tule Lake. He edited the camp newspaper, the Tulean Dispatch before leaving camp in February 1943 to teach at the Navy Japanese Language School at the University of Colorado. He later worked for the Office of War Information and went to Japan after the war to work as a civilian interpreter and translator, remaining there until 1954. Upon his return to San Francisco, he assumed the English section editor position for the Hokubei Mainichi, one of the two Japanese American dailies in that city, a post that he would remain in for the rest of his career stretching into the 1980s.

Authored by Brian Niiya, Densho

For More Information

Robinson, Greg. After Camp: Portraits in Midcentury Japanese American Life and Politics. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012. [Includes a discussion of Imazaki's 1963 column urging "Negro community leaders" to "do a little soul searching" that was widely reprinted and vigorously discussed inside and outside the ethnic community.]

Stroup, Dorothy Anne. "The Role of the Japanese-American Press in its Community." Thesis, University of California, Berkeley, 1960. [Profiles Imazeki and his counterpart at the Nichibei Times, Yasuo Abiko, and compares the content of the two San Francisco papers' English sections.]

Takita, Sachiko. "The Tule Lake Pilgrimage and Japanese American Internment: Collective Memory, Solidarity, and Division in an Ethnic Community." Ph.D. dissertation, UCLA, 2007. [Discusses Imazeki's coverage of the Tule Lake Committee and early pilgrimages and the debate on how the incarceration should be remembered.]