John B. Hughes


Name John B. Hughes
Born July 17 1904
Died July 15 1982
Birth Location California

Radio and television newscaster who agitated for the removal of Japanese Americans. John B. Hughes (1904–82) had a regular news program on the Mutual Broadcasting Network in 1941–42 and is credited by several observers as being "the first widely heard newsman," "the most prominent early editorialist" and the "chief offender on the West Coast" to press for the exclusion of Japanese Americans from the West Coast beginning on January 5, 1942, and continuing through the month.[1] He also corresponded with Attorney General Francis Biddle, claiming in a January 19 letter that "ninety percent or more of American-born Japanese are primarily loyal to Japan."[2] His voice—soon joined by many others—helped shape West Coast public opinion to strongly favor mass removal.

He was later fired by Mutual—for being too liberal according to Pacific Citizen editor Larry Tajiri—and later in the war, did a 180º turn, supporting the rights of minorities and decrying prejudice against Japanese Americans in his broadcasts for KFWB, an independent Los Angeles station.[3]

He continued to work in radio the television after the war, becoming a pioneering anchorman for the Dumont Television Network, later joining WTAE in Pittsburgh in 1958 as an anchorman and public affairs director, then working for KIRO TV and KXA radio in Seattle starting in 1962. He died in Pittsburgh in 1982.[4]

Authored by Brian Niiya, Densho

For More Information

Grodzins, Morton. Americans Betrayed: Politics and the Japanese Evacuation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1949.

tenBroek, Jacobus, Edward N. Barnhart, and Floyd Matson. Prejudice, War, and the Constitution. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1954.

Footnotes

  1. Jacobus tenBroek, Edward N. Barnhart, and Floyd Matson, Prejudice, War, and the Constitution (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1954), 74; Morton Grodzins, Americans Betrayed: Politics and the Japanese Evacuation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1949), 387; and Roger Daniels, Asian America: Chinese and Japanese in the United States since 1850 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1988), 200.
  2. tenBroek, et al, Prejudice, 74.
  3. Larry Tajiri, "Vagaries," Pacific Citizen, June 10, 1944, p. 5, accessed on January 9, 2014 at http://pacificcitizen.org/digitalarchives/assets/images/full/PCN_19440610_005.jpg; Larry Tajiri, "Nisei USA: Three Radio Commentators," Pacific Citizen, Dec. 17, 1949, p. 4, accessed on October 8, 2014 at http://pacificcitizen.org/digitalarchives/assets/images/full/PCN_19491217_004.jpg.
  4. Obituary, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 19, 1982.