Bill Hosokawa

Nisei male. Born in Seattle in 1915 and attended Washington grade school, Garfield High School and the University of Washington. He grew up as a typical Nisei, working summers in Alaska salmon canneries and Western Avenue produce brokerages to pay for his education. He became interested in writing at Garfield where he was sports editor of the school paper. While attending the University he worked at the weekly Japanese American Courier published by the late Jimmie Sakamoto. A faculty adviser at the University urged Hosokawa to drop out of the journalism school "because no newspaper in the country would hire a Japanese boy." Hosokawa rejected the advice, but when he graduated in 1937 he found the professor was right. After working as a male secretary writing letters, Hosokawa and his bride, the former Alice Miyake of Portland, Oregon, went to Singapore in 1938 to help launch an English language daily. A year and a half later Hosokawa moved to Shanghai to work on an American-owned monthly magazine, the Far Eastern Review. Then, sensing the inevitability of war, he returned to Seattle in 1941 just five weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor. When war came, Hosokawa served as executive director of Seattle JACL's Emergency Defense Council helping people in the community to cope. He and his family were removed to the Puyallup Assembly Center, Washington. When other Seattleites were moved to Minidoka concentration camp, Idaho, Hosokawa and his wife and infant son were sent to Heart Mountain, Wyoming. Later, he learned he had been separated from his Seattle friends because he was considered a potential troublemaker. He was in Heart Mountain for 14 months, working as editor of the camp newspaper, the Heart Mountain Sentinel, before being released to join the Des Moines, Iowa Register in 1943. In 1946 he moved to Denver to work on the Denver Post. In 38 years at The Post he held such assignments as executive news editor, assistant managing editor and Sunday editor. He covered the Japanese peace treaty in San Francisco in 1951, the Summit meeting in Paris in 1960 and the Zengakuren student riots in Japan that same year. He also had assignments as war correspondent in Korea and Vietnam, and for 17 years was editor of Empire, the Post's prize-winning Sunday magazine. For his last seven years at the Post Hosokawa was editor of the editorial page -- a Japanese American imprisoned during World War II as a potential security risk who now directed the opinion section of a major American newspaper. After retiring from the Post in 1984 he served the Rocky Mountain News as ombudsman columnist for seven years. Hosokawa has taught journalism classes at the University of Colorado, University of Northern Colorado and University of Wyoming. He wrote a weekly comment column called "From the Frying Pan" in JACL's weekly Pacific Citizen from 1942 until 1999. Among other honors, Hosokawa is a former president of the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors and a member of that organization's Hall of Fame, a charter member of the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame. He was named JACL's Nisei of the Biennium in 1958, and has published 12 books. Hosokawa and his wife Alice, who died in 1998, had four children.

Interviews

Bill Hosokawa Interview — ddr-densho-122-26
August 4, 1994. Salt Lake City, Utah.
00:25:36 — 7 segments.
Bill Hosokawa Interview — ddr-densho-1000-129
July 13, 2001. Seattle, Washington.
03:14:22 — 30 segments.
Bill Hosokawa
API