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Mitsuye Endo file photo [29070]

Mitsuye Endo

Given NameMitsuye
Born10 May 1920
Died14 Apr 2006
CountryUnited States


ww2dbaseMitsuye Endo was born in Sacramento, California, United States in May 1920 as the second of four children of Japanese immigrants. She attended Sacramento Senior High School. When the United States entered the war in 1941, she was a clerk at the state Department of Employment in Sacramento, California. She was fired from his job for being of Japanese descent. She was then deported to the Tule Lake War Relocation Center in Newell, California. In Jul 1942, attorney James Purcell filed a habeas corpus petition seeking her release from Tule Lake, arguing that she was being held without trial. Purcell had approached Endo as a suitable plaintiff against the government as she was a Methodist by religion, had a brother in the US Army, and had never been to Japan, qualities that would otherwise deem her a typical American should she be of a European ancestry. The petition was dismissed by a judge in Jul 1943. In Apr 1944, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals deferred the case to the US Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Endo was transferred to Central Utah War Relocation Center in Topaz, Utah, United States. The US War Relocation Authority, the agency in charge of the interment of Japanese-Americans, offered to release her in order for her to drop the court case, but she refused. On 18 Dec 1944, the US Supreme Court ruled in her favor in Ex parte Mitsuye Endo, declaring that the government could not detain her without charge even as the government itself conceded Endo was loyal to her country. Having been forewarned about this decision, US President Franklin Roosevelt issued Public Proclamation No. 21 on 17 Dec 1944, one day before the ruling, declaring that all Japanese-Americans could begin returning to the west coast of the United States in Jan 1945. She left Topaz in May of 1945 for Chicago, Illinois, United States, where her sister's family resided, and took on a secretarial job with the Mayor's Committee on Race Relations. In 1947, she married Kenneth Tsutsumi, a fellow internee; they would have three children together. She remained largely quiet on her war time experiences, although she provided a piece of oral history for And Justice For All in 1984. She passed away in from cancer in Chicago in 2006.

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Last Major Revision: Dec 2019

Mitsuye Endo Timeline

10 May 1920 Mitsuye Endo was born in Sacramento, California, United States.
12 Jul 1942 Attorney James Purcell filed a habeas corpus petition in the federal district court in San Francisco, California, United States, seeking the release of Mitsuye Endo, who was being held at the Tule Lake War Relocation Center in Newell, California, United States.
12 Oct 1944 The US Supreme Court argued the case of Mitsuye Endo, a Japanese-American who had been deported for internment since the start of the Pacific War.
18 Dec 1944 The US Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mitsuye Endo, declaring that the government could not detain a citizen without charge when the government itself conceded Endo was loyal to her country.
14 Apr 2006 Mitsuye Endo passed away from cancer in Chicago, Illinois, United States.

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