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About Henry 2021-05-04T07:40:18-08:00

About Henry Sakamoto

At 94 years of age, Henry Sakamoto continues to be open to working within the Nikkei community to achieve community goals and to continue close cooperative relations with the Office of the Consulate General of Japan. There are common goals of improving and strengthening relations between Japan and the United States of America.

Henry Shigehiro (Shig) Sakamoto was born on January 27, 1927, in Portland, Oregon, United States. His parents are Hantaro Sakamoto of Kumamoto, Japan, and Hisano Tanokuchi Sakamoto of Okayama, Japan.

His brothers are George Isamu Sakamoto, 6/4/21 to 11/26/92, and Tom Kenji Sakamoto, 11/28/24 to 5/23/43. Both were born in the United States.

Father, Hantaro, immigrated to the U.S. in 1906; was born 2/28/1881 and died 5/3/1954. Mother, Hisano, immigrated in 1920; was born 2/11/1898 and died 5/29/1993. Henry Sakamoto’s childhood years were impacted by the economic depression suffered by the United States population.

Like many others of Japanese ancestry in the U.S., Sakamoto had suffered the taunts of race prejudice and discrimination before December 7, 1941, but the events of that day heightened the anti-Japanese attitudes within the West Coast population. At the time, the press encouraged public outcries against the West Coast Japanese furthering fear and racial prejudice and discrimination that eventually gave way to wartime hysteria.

At the beginning of the internment, Henry Sakamoto was 15 years old and a high school student. During the internment years, he became a leader within the high school campus. He was active in school government as the sophomore class president and junior class vice president.

His college education began in September 1944 at the Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio, and concluded at the University of Oregon in 1951 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.

Sakamoto’s main employment opportunity occurred with the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1953 to 1985 in Portland, Oregon. Followed by a series of employment and leadership roles in the U.S. Grain Industry that focused on improved relationships with the Japanese Grain Traders and Grain Markets.

Sakamoto became deeply involved within the Japanese American community as he came closer to professional retirement, initially because of the Japanese American Historical Plaza.

Sakamoto is available for a limited amount of interviews for Media and is available to provide a historical perspective as it pertains to Japanese Americans during World War II and beyond.