Skip to Main Content

Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II: Missouri School of Mines Nisei Students

Smithsonian poster exhibition and MSM Nisei student display

MSM and the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council

As per the Densho Encyclopedia site:

"The National Japanese American Student Relocation Council (NJASRC) worked during World War II to help resettle inmates from the government's concentration camps to colleges in the Midwest and the East Coast. Under the sponsorship of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), the Council worked with students, their families, and the larger Japanese American community as well as a wide range of public and private organizations in ultimately helping more than 4,000 students resettle to pursue their higher education at more than 600 institutions."

Fouirteen students attended the Missouri School of Mines (MSM) through that program. Their arrival did not appear to cause much consternation on the part of the Rolla townsfolk or the student body, possibly due in part to the long-standing international student population at MSM.

Japanese-American Students at Missouri School of Mines





Shigeru Fujimoto (Jan 27, 1922-??)  was born in Mayfield, CA and attended San Jose State College (the Oct 10, 1941  issue of the New World-Sun Monday Magazine lists him as enrolling at San Jose as a sophomore) before being ordered to report to the Salinas Assembly Center.  He and his family were then sent to the Colorado River Relocation Project (probably the Poston camp). We have  no information on what happened to him after he left Rolla in 1945. His student card does not indicate that he graduated from MSM. He does not appear to have been a member of the Miner Alumni Association.

Shigeru Fujimoto, Shigeru Fujimoto student card, side 1 Shigeru Fujimoto student card, side 2

Rollamo 1945 

Masashi Hayase graduation photo Masashi Hayase senior

Masashi 'Mush' Hayase (Dec 9, 1926 - Feb 21, 1991) was born in Los Angeles, CA.  His family was relocated to the Amache, CO camp. He graduated with his BS is Metallurgical Engineering in 1949. During his time in Rolla he was active in student government, made the honor roll multiple times, and worked in the library. He was a member of the Independents, and of the Engineers eating club.

He worked for McDonnell-Douglas as a Welding Process Engineer, Senior Technical Specialist, Materials & Process Engineering until his death, and had several patents to his name ( . He and his wife Yoneko were members of the Miner Alumni Associaiton until his death. Yoneko was interned at the Gila River camp. They had 4 children and 4 grandchildren.  

Masashi Hayase senior card, side 1  Masashi Hayase student card, side 2



Yoneko Hayase obituary


Kay Kaneyuki Ikeuye (Feb 18, 1923-May 10, 2007) was possibly the first Nisei student to arrive at the Missouri School of Mines. In many ways he served as am example for other incoming students as to how to make the most of the experience.He attended Porterville Junior College before being interned at the Colorado River War Relocation Project (Poston). He came to MSM in 1942 and began immersing himself in the culture of the campus. He joined the Engineers eating club, Tech club, Independents, Student council, Rollamo Board, Missouri Miner Board and several other organizations. In all cases, he served on their governance bodies. He also worked as a student assistant to the Chemistry department, Library, and Technical Drawing. In 1945 he was a member of the Rifle Club. In addition he was on the St. Pat's Board in 1945. all this, plus a job working at the Ritz Theater.  In 1946 he won the Steinmesch Technical Writing prize, and graduated with his BS in Metallurgical Engineering. He attended graduate school at the University of Chicago.  In 1947 he became engaged to Setsuke Shirao. They were married until his death. In 1957 they moved to Sunnyvale, CA where both were active in the Mountain View Buddhist Temple, with Kay leading the young peoples group. He continued to attend MSM alumni meetings and dinners. He worked for the Atomic Energy Division of American Standard and later IBM.


Kay Ikeuye, Rollamo 1945  Kay Ikeuye studetn card, side 1  Aky Ikeuye student card, side 2


ASM Elects Officers   Kay Ikeuye becomes member of Beta Omicron chapter of Alpha Phi Omega

Makoto Kawaguchi, 1945 Rollamo  Makoto Kawaguchi student card, side 1  Makoto Kawaguchi student card, side 2

Makoto Joseph Kawaguchi (Aug 20, 1922-Sept 1984) attended UC-Berkeley before being ordered to the Tanforan Assembly Center and later to the Central Utah War Relocation Project (Topaz Camp). He arrived with his brother Tad at MSM in 1943. In 1945 he received his BS in Metallurgical Engineering. Like the other Nisei students he was a member of the Tech and Engineers eating clubs, and a member of the Independents. He participated in Glee Club, and was a member of several student organizations. As a young boy he was a member of the Boy Scouts in San Francisco, CA.

Over the years he worked for corporations such as Bethlehem steel, Burroughs, Singer, and Hewlett-Packard. He was a member of the Miner Alumni Association until his death in 1984. He belonged to the Mountian View Buddhist temple with Kay Ikeuye. 

In 2009 UC-Berkeley awarded him a posthumous honorary Bachelors as part of their reparations effort.


Tad KawaguchiTAd Kawaguchi student card, side 1  Tad Kawaguchi student card, side 1

Tadayuki Tad Kawaguchi (Oct 13, 1918-Feb 15, 2011) attended City College of San Francisco before enlisting in the Army in 1942. While his family  (with brother Makoto) were interned, he was not. As per his obituary site:

"Mr. Kawaguchi was a soldier in the same regiment as my father during World War II. In France in November 1944, somewhere not far from Strasbourg, Mr. Kawaguchi saved my father's life by destroying a machine gun emplacement with a rifle-launched grenade.

Weeks before Mr. Kawaguchi's death at 92, our family located him and sent to his family a description of his acts that day, in a letter that was read to Mr. Kawaguchi and re-read at his memorial service. Mr. Kawaguchi had never recounted this incident or much else about his war service to his family.

Mr. Kawaguchi was already in the army when the war began. He was an enlistee. His family, from San Francisco, was interned with other Japanese-American families in the internment camp at Delta, Utah. Mr. Kawaguchi was never in the camp and remained in the service during the war. He was not a member of the famous 442nd Japanese-American combat unit, and was alone as a Japanese-American in his regiment. My father remarked that he seemed like the loneliest guy in the world. He was regarded as a good soldier. In order to destroy the machine gun emplacement he had to move backward against the motion of the regiment, take up a dangerous position, and fire the grenade.We learned from Mr. Kawaguchi's younger brother that after the war he worked in steel metallurgy. He never married. For a time before he moved to Yountville he was retired in Florida."He received a BS in Ceramic Engineering, was a member of Keramos, later worked for Republic Steel, and was a member of the Miner Alumni Association. In 2010 he received an honorary BS from UC-Berkeley.


Katsumi Don Kozeni  Katsumi Don Kozeni, 1944 Rollamo

Katsumi Don Kozeni was an active member of the Miner Alumni Association. As a student he was a member and President of the Tech eating club and the Independents rep to the Student Council. He earned a BS in Metallurgical Engineering in 1944. 

Katsumi Don Kozeni studetn card, side 1  Katsumi Don Kozeni studetn card, side 2

Donald Kozeni obituary:
98, of New Philadelphia, peacefully passed Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017 in the care of Community Hospice in New Philadelphia, Ohio. Donald lived a long and eventful life. The son of the late Matsuji and Kazue Kozeni, immigrants from Japan, Donald was born on April 28, 1919 in Monterey, Calif. He grew up in Watsonville, Calif., and participated in football and track during his high school years. Donald was attending the University of California Berkeley, working toward a Metallurgic Engineering degree, when U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 ordering all Japanese-Americans to evacuate the West Coast. Donald and his parents spent the next couple of years in the Poston War Relocation Center in Yuma County Arizona. While at the Poston Center, because of his course work during college, Donald was tasked with surveying a portion of a new highway in Arizona to the California border. At the California border, he and his crew were delighted to be within inches of the California crew's survey. Donald was allowed to leave the Center to attend the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy at the University of Missouri Rolla in order to complete his Metallurgic Engineering degree, while his parents were recruited to teach U.S. Servicemen Japanese language skills in Arkansas.
After graduating from college, Donald used his Metallurgic Engineering degree working for various steel companies in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Missouri. In 1968, he became the Plant Manager for Barmet Industries in Uhrichsville and moved his family to New Philadelphia in the summer of 1969. During his time at Barmet, Donald developed a furnace for aluminum reclamation that was much more efficient than what was available at the time. This furnace was one of his greatest accomplishments in his career. After leaving Barmet, Donald continued working as a consultant for various other aluminum reclamation companies within the country.
Donald will be remembered as a man who spent his life continually learning. He instilled that quality in his children. He was known as someone who knew practically everything (and this was before the internet), and he would share his knowledge and encouragement with others. Though, he did admit once that he knew nothing about skiing. On Dec. 20, 1946, he married the late Mary (Woodruff) Kozeni. The couple celebrated 61 years of marriage together. Together, they reared a family that includes five children, 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Kozeni Exhaust designExhaust patent

As a young man, Don was a member of Boy Scout Troop 558




Satoshi Ray Kuwamoto, Rollamo 1945  SAtoshi Rau Kuwamoto student card, side 1  Satoshi Ray Kuwamoto student card, side 2

Satoshi Ray Kuwamoto (Feb 25, 1922-May 30, 2017) was attending Fresno State College when he and his family were ordered to the Fresno Assembley Center. From there they were sent to the Gila River War Relocation camp at Rivers, AZ.  In 1943 he came to Rolla to attend the Missouri School of Mines and earned a BS in Mining Engineering, with a Geology option. Like many of the other Nisei students, he became a member of the Tech, then Engineers eating clubs and the Independents. He served on the Student Council, and was a student assistant in the Geology department. He participated in ROTC. After graduating from MSM, he eventually returned to Fresno to run the family business, Aki Hardware.

In 2010, he was awarded an honorary diploma from Fresno State.  See page 11 for photo





Yasuyuki Kuwamoto, Rollamo 1945  Yasuyuki Kuwamoto student card, side 1  Yasuyuki Kuwamoto student card, side 2

Yasuyuki Kuwamoto (April 25, 1924-January 11, 2000) was the younger brother of Satoshi Kuwamoto. Like his brother, he had been attending Fresno State College and later received an hooary degree from that school. He received his BS in Metallurgical Engineering from MSM, but like his brother returned home to help run Aki Hardware, the family business.



James Toru Nishioka  James Nishioka student card, side 1James Nishioka student card, side 2   

James Toru Nishioka ( Sept 30, 1924 - Feb 15, 2020) was born in Fresno, CA. He and his family, including his two younger brothers Akira and Osamu, were incarcerated at the Rivers, AZ camp.  He came to the Missouri School of Mines for one year, 1944-45. His departure from the camp to attend MSM was listed in the Aug 31, 1944 issue of the Gila News-Courier.

Gila article Nishioka going to Rolla 

While at MSM he was a member of the Engineers eating club, worked as student library assistant, and was a member of the Missouri Academy of Science. He was also an athlete, participating in intramural track, wrestling, and softball.

Nishioka softball article mention  Miner article mentioning Nishioka


After leaving MSM, he graduated from Fresno State College. He married fellow Fresno State graduate May Fujimoto on May 31st 1953.


After graduation he worked for the City of Fresno as a junior accountant for over 30 years, (his only job), and in addition the family owned an ice cream store for 1970 and 1971.


The couple had four sons, Galen James, Cary Kevin, Lance Falin and Gavin Ren Nishioka.. James was very active with the YMCA Indian Guides, and the Boy Scouts as his sons participated in those organizations. Sometime after the 3 older sons had left home James and May moved to Orange County, about 1999. May died in 2003, and James died 17 years to the day after her.

James Toru Nishioka and son Galen, 2016

Mr. Nishioka and son Galen Nishioka, 2014.


jack Nomi junior class photo, Rollamo

Jack Nomi, 1946 RollamoJack Nomi, MSM Quarterback, 1946 Rollamo  Jack Nomi Senior class Vice Presdient, Rollamo 1946  Jack Nomi football, Rollamo 1944 

Jack Yoshiharu Nomi (May 24, 1924 - April 12, 2010) attended Oregon State University before the signing of Executive Order 9066. He was ordered to  the Portland International Exposition Grounds for induction and then transferred to the Minidoka War Relocation Center.  He came to the Missouri School of Mines in 1943 as part of the National Japanese American Student Relocation program, as indicated in the June 5, 1943 issue of the Minidoka Irrigator. . He majored in Electrical Engineering, and graduated in 1946. He was a student athlete and also a student leader. His student card, shown below, indicates all the activities he participated in during his time in Rolla. He was the only one of the students to pledge a social fraternity, Triangle.

.Jack Nomi student card, side 1            Jack Nomi student card, side 2


Jack Nomi becomes Lucy Wortham James scholar for 1945-46  Photo credits for Lucy Wortham James scholars photo

Lucy Wortham James Scholars 1945


Jack Nomi, nd  Jack Nomi with fishing catch, nd

Kunio Jack Ozawa, Rollamo 1945  Kunio Jack Ozawa student card, side 1  Kunio Jack Ozawa student card, side 2 


Jack Kunio Ozawa (April 6, 1923-November 8,1986) was born in Seattle and attended the University of Washington before being interned at Camp Minidoka. He cam to MSM and was active in student government and organizations. He received many honors and was a student assistant in the Chemistry department. He received his BS in Chemical Engineering and was the top student in his class. After graduation he went to work for ARCO. Over the years he participated and lead several influential Japanese American organizations. He also established a still-ongoing scholarship fund to assist JACL high school seniors to attend college. As a member of the Miner Alumni Association, he became a Century Club member in 1976. In the 1980s he campaigned for redress to the Japanese Americans who had been incarcerated in the camps.

Obituary - see page 2


Jack Ozawa 

Miles Noboru Suda (  7/19/1921 - 1/8/1981) was born in Visalia, California. He was attending  Fresno College when he and his family were incarcerated in the camp in the Jerome War Relocation Center . He attended MSM from 1943 to 1945 and graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. While at MSM he participated in student government (senior class treasurer) and intramural sports.

He founded the Miles Suda Engineers, Inc. mechanical engineering firm in 1979 in Oakland, CA.  He was awarded an honorary degree in 2009 from UC-Berkeley. See page 8


Miles Noboru Suda, Rollamo 1945  Miles Noboru Suda student card, side 1  Miles Noboru Suda student card, side 2

Kor Uyetake (Sept 2, 1921 - Nov 7, 1987) was born in Oregon and attended the University of Washington before being ordered to report to the Portland Assembly Center. From there he was sent to the Tule Lake camp. In 1944 he was released to attend school at MSM. He was the only one of the thirteen students to stay on for his Masters degree (Mining Engineering), which he received in 1947. After marrying Mary Hishanuma he moved to Salt Lake City and in 1964 started the Minerals Equipment Company. He loved golf, and was a Mason.

While a student at MSM he was active in campus politics, served as a Library Assistant, and belonged to numerous organizations.  He was one of the former students awarded honorary diplomas from the University of Washington in the Nikkei Long Journey Home ceremony. Per their website:

"Kor Uyetake left Tule Lake Relocation Camp to enroll at the Missouri School of Mines in Rolla, Missouri. He graduated with a masters degree in engineering. As an engineer he operated mins throughout the western United States. While working in Hayden, Colorado he met and married the love of his life, Mary Hishanuma. The Uyetakes finally settled down in Salt Lake City, Utah where he was employed at the Machinery Center. In 1964 Kor Uyetake started his own successful company called Minerals Equipment Company which has offices reaching from Salt Lake City to Quebec. In his spare time, Kor Uyetake was an avid golfer, a member of the Masonic organization and loved to entertain and travel and spend time with his family, sons Sid and John and grandchildren. Kor Uyetake died in Salt Lake City in November 1987."

Source: Email from J. Uyetake
Last Modified: Monday, May 04, 2009


Kor Uyetake, Rollamo 1945  Kor Uyetake student card, side 1  Kor Uyetake student card, side 2

Kor Uyetake graduate student

Donald Yamamoto (May 11, 1926-Sept 6-2010)

Like many of his fellow Nisei involved with the National Japanese American Student Relocation program, Mr. Yamamoto was a Boy Scout. He attended High School at the Amache camp in Colorado, and received a scholarship to the School of Mines. He came to Rolla in 1944 and attended for two years, leaving in 1946.  While at MSM he was a member of the Enigineers eating club, the Independents, and was a member of the Missouri Academy of Science. He did not graduate from MSM, and we have no information about his life after he left Rolla.

    Donald is next to Jack Nomi in the image.