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Sumiko Ida Fujimoto - Oral Testimonies of Former Japanese-American Internees

Sumiko Ida Fujimoto


Sumiko Ida Fujimoto, retired teacher and mother of Norman Fujimoto, former SAC Vice President of Academic Affairs, was born on September 10, 1917 in Selma, California. Ida graduated from Selma High School in June of 1936. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business from Fresno State College and continued her education to pursue a teaching credential. Two weeks before completing her student teaching at Fresno Technical High School, her master teacher was drafted. She was offered his position but was unable to accept it due to Executive Order 9066. In August 1942, carrying only one suitcase each, she and her family were forcibly evacuated by train to Gila River Relocation Center in Arizona. On April 25, 1943 while at Gila River she married Masato Fujimoto. Considered a professional, she was paid $18 per month to teach business subjects in the camp, but the school had no books, equipment or supplies. Lacking typewriters her typing students practiced on cardboard images of keyboards. In 1944, after one year at Gila River she and her husband received clearance from Washington, D.C. to work in Cleveland, Ohio. During their five year stay in Cleveland she worked for the City of Cleveland and for the American Bible Society. They moved to South Gate, California where she and her husband owned a farm and raised two children, Norman and Kay. Ida was a substitute teacher for many years as her children were growing up. In 1962 she accepted a full time teaching position at MacLaren Hall, a juvenile detention facility, a position she held until she retired in 1972.