Arthur T. Morimitsu
Mounted on a mule in jungles of Namppaka, Burma, December 1944
Standing, L-R: George Harada, Sacramento, CA; Tom Tsunoda, Santa Barbara, CA)
A native of Sacramento, Morimitsu received his BS from the University of California, Berkeley in 1936. He was a state civil service employee when he was interned at the Tule Lake Relocation Center with family members in 1942 in the wartime evacuation program. A year later; he volunteered from Tule Lake for the military intelligence service, and after Japanese language training at Camp Savage, he was assigned to the Mars Task Force, a commando organization operating in North Burma. After a stint with the Office of Strategic Services in India, he was assigned to the Tokyo War Crimes Trials. He won the Bronze Star for his military services.
Honorably discharged in late 1945, Morimitsu settled in Chicago and founded the Aladdin Carpet Company, from which he retired after 34 years in1981.
Active in numerous community and national organizations, Morimitsu is currently serving his 12th term as president of the Japanese American Service Committee's (JASC) Board of Directors. He is a member and officer of the Japanese American Association and the Mutual Aid Society of Chicago; cofounder and officer of the Japanese American Council; and an active member of the North Park Covenant Church. His other activities and honors include: Serving as commander of the American Legion Chicago Nisei Post #1183 in 1980 when it campaigned for Congressional Redress legislation and obtained support from the Illinois American Legion and the 34th Infantry Division, the only veterans groups on the mainland to support the Redress Resolution of 1984.
Drafting Resolution 318 presented by Department of Illinois American Legion and adopted by the national American Legion at its convention on September 3, 1984, recognizing the injustice of interning American citizens of Japanese ancestry in concentration camps during World War II and recognizing also the patriotism of Japanese Americans who served with great honor in the American armed forces during the war; Serving as chairman of the Midwest Regional Board of the Go For Broke! MIS Museum (now the National Japanese American Historical Society); and election as Mid-America vice chairman of the Go For Broke National Veterans Association in 1989; Serving as a national officer of Pettigrew Enterprises, Detroit, publisher of the book by Joseph D. Harrington entitled Yankee Samurai documenting the story of MIS Nisei in the Pacific; Receiving the Hall of Fame award from the City of Chicago in 1983 as one of 10 outstanding senior citizens of Chicago;Receiving the Order of the Sacred Treasure, 5th Class, from the Government of Japan in 1984 for significant contributions to the development of the Japanese American community and furtherance of Japan-U.S. relationships; Winning election to the national Japanese American Citizens League Legislative Education Committee in 1985 to solicit the support of veterans for the Redress campaign; appointment as chairman of the national JACL Veterans' Affairs Committee in 1987; and honoree as the JACLer of the Biennium in 1990 for services to the successful Redress campaign; Winning election as a member of the Board of Governors of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles in 1988; Receiving appointment to the Roosevelt University Advisory Board to the President in 1991; Opening in 1993, as president of JASC, the first Asian American nursing home (Keiro Extended Care Center) in the entire midwest area. (His father, age 107, was the first resident); Being honored as Laymen of the Year and winner of the Theodore Anderson Award by the National Evangelical Covenant Churches of the U.S. in June 1994; and being inducted in August 1994 into the first State of Illinois Hall of Fame for Senior Citizens for outstanding services to senior citizens.
Arthur and the former Virginia Asaka, married in 1946, are the parents of twin daughters, both graduates and former faculty members of the University of Illinois, one of whom is now director of the computer training department, while the other is director of an international organization in Minneapolis. Their son, a graduate of the New York School of Visual Arts, is an artist and published author.