Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Ruth Hashimoto

Ruth Hashimoto


Honored November, 1996

S. Ruth Y. Hashimoto

Ruth worked for world peace for more than 50 years.  She came to hate war during World War II.  Although she was born in the United States, the U.S. government in 1942 forced Hashimoto, her husband and their two young daughters, as well as her parents to leave their home and live in an internment camp in Wyoming for more than a year.

“I felt the conditions of war caused what happened to us, so I have always been against war.” Ruth was released from the camp to teach Japanese-language classes at an Army intelligence language school at the University of Michigan. Hashimoto tells in her lectures how Japanese-American soldiers, trying to prove their loyalty, died and were awarded merit badges at a higher rate than the average American soldier in WW II.  These Japanese Americans were required by the U.S. government to fight although they and their families were not allowed to stay in their own homes and not allowed to vote.  “I don’t want this kind of thing to happen to anybody or any group ever again,” she said.  

After the war, Hashimoto took a job at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she worked nearly 25 years.  She helped start New Mexico’s Sister Cities International program.  She helped tutor nearly 100 immigrants, mostly Japanese, to take the U.S. citizenship exam.  When she received her $20,000 restitution payment, she gave half to help the educational work of the Japanese American Citizens League and half to other charities that promote peace and understanding.  Her list of honors and volunteer activities represents a life-time of dedication.  Of her life she says, “I am a fatalist.  Fate has given me many things, including a full life.”