1923 – 2022
Kenjiro Akune was the 4th of 10 children born in Turlock, Calif., to Japanese immigrants, Riichiro and Yukiye Akune. At the outbreak of World War II, he was interned at the Amache Relocation Camp in Colorado, where Ken and his older brother, Harry, volunteered for the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Service. He served the duration of the war in the China-Burma-India theatre.
After the surrender, Ken joined the U.S. State Department using his language skills as a translator for the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal. He met and married Alice Shiosaka while both worked with prosecutors to secure the guilty verdicts for Hideki Tojo.
During his retirement, he helped to found the Go For Broke National Education Center. His experience as a Nisei-American soldier with Japanese POWs was newsworthy in America and Japan, from politicians to school children.
Kenjiro Akune died in Gardena (1923-2022), surrounded by family. His wife of 74 years, Alice, predeceased him by 8 weeks. They are survived by their 5 children: Karen Akune, David Akune, Kenneth Akune (Yvonne Romaine), Teresa Akune, and Kathleen Choi; plus 2 grandchildren: Kyle Choi (Margaret Li Choi) and Amy Choi.