Watsonville-Santa Cruz JACL’s Mas Hashimoto Dies

By June 22, 2022June 25th, 2022No Comments

Masaru Hashimoto of Watsonville, Calif., has died. He was 86.

Mas Hashimoto

Known to all as “Mas” — or “Mousie” by his friends as a child — Hashimoto was born in Watsonville on Sept. 15, 1935, to first-generation Japanese immigrants Nami (Haraguchi) and Ikuta Hashimoto, the seventh and last-born son, preceded by six brothers.

According to published reports, in recent years Hashimoto had been fighting pulmonary fibrosis, and he died from its complications on Monday, June 20.

In his adult life, he served in the Army from 1958-60. Mas married Marcia Hashimoto, who survives him, in 1970. Both he and his wife were educators. Mas Hashimoto spent 40 years at Watsonville High School — four as a student and 36 as a teacher of U.S. history before retiring in 1996.

Both Marcia and Mas Hashimoto were active members of the Watsonville-Santa Cruz Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League. Both were also active members of the Watsonville Buddhist Temple.

Mas’ father died when he was 3. As a youngster, his mother and some of his brothers were removed to the Salinas Assembly Center prior to being incarcerated at the Poston WRA Center (Camp 1, followed by Camp 2) as a result of President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066.

After retiring as a teacher, Hashimoto continued to educate others as a public speaker. In an oral history with Densho, he said, “I go to different schools … to teach about the Japanese American [incarceration] experience. I have a slideshow, trying to make it into a PowerPoint now. But I go to third, fourth grades because it’s in the curriculum. Eighth grade, juniors in high school, seniors. If it’s seniors, then it’s more on civics. So more on the Korematsu case and Min Yasui and Gordon Hirabayashi, to colleges and university, to Rotary clubs.”

To view Hashimoto’s TEDx lecture, click here.