Kumajiro and Same Hirata, parents of Masako Hirata
Masako Hirata was born on June 24, 1915 in San Bernardino, California. Her father, Kumajiro Hirata arrived as a young man in 1901. Her mother, Same, a picture bride, arrived in 1912. The Hirata's operated several types of businesses in San Bernardino at one time or another. They included a hotel, variety store and lunch counter.
Mr. Hirata's store. He is on the far left and Masako is second child in the center
Ms. Hirata attended local schools: 4th Street Grammar School, Sturges Junior High, and San Bernardino High School where she graduated with top honors in 1933. She attended San Bernardino Valley College for 2 years and then transferred to the University of Redlands and graduated after two years with a degree in sociology.
Masako in the 5th grade at 4th St. Gammar School, 1926,( 1st row, fifth from the right with her friend from kindergarten, Brenda Batchelor Boss, with her arm around Masasko.) In the last row, 1st on the right, is Bing Wong, Chinese-American, who later became a prominent businessman and community activist.
Masako's high school graduation picture, 1933.
In 1942 the Hirata family was moved to a relocation camp in Poston, Arizona. The three years she was there Ms. Hirata taught 3rd and 4th grade in the camp grammar school. After the war she went to New York where she worked for one year. After that she taught in Northbrook, Illinois for three years.
Japanese Relocation Camp, Poston, Arizona 1942-45
One of Masako's classes at the Poston Camp
Ms. Hirata returned to San Bernardino in 1949. She was the first teacher of Japanese descent hired in San Bernardino and taught a total thirty -seven years in the area. She was a mentor teacher for the district as well. Presently she is very involved with her church, CRTA( California Retired Teachers Association) and Delta Kappa Gamma, an Honorary Teacher Society. A quilt her students at the Poston Camp made has been part of a traveling display with the Smithsonian Institute.
Masako in the mid-eighties with letter of apology and redress from the United States government
Copyright ©2000 SCORE.