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Spark Masayuki Matsunaga
Birth: Oct. 8, 1916
Kukuiula
Kauai County
Hawaii, USA
Death: Apr. 15, 1990
Toronto
Ontario, Canada

US Congressman, US Senator. A member of the Democratic Party, he served in the US House of Representatives from Hawaii's at-large and 1st district from January 1963 until January 1977 and in the US Senate from January 1977 until his death. Born to poor Japanese parents, after graduating from Kauai High School, he entered the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii and earned his Bachelor's Degree in 1941. He then joined the US Army Reserves and served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the 100th Infantry Battalion in the European Theater during World War II, attaining the rank of captain, was wounded twice, and awarded the Bronze Star. Following his discharge at the end of the war, he attended Harvard Law School at Cambridge, Massachusetts and received his law degree in 1951. After returning to Hawaii, he served as a prosecuting attorney and in private practice. After Hawaii became a state in 1959, he was elected to the US Congress in 1962 and served for seven consecutive terms until he was elected to serve in the US Senate in 1976. During his tenure in the US Senate, he sponsored legislation that created the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, a study of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066 (1942) that led to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. In 1985 he was successful in creating the position of Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in Washington DC and three years later he spearheaded efforts that led to the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. In January 1990 he revealed that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer that has spread to his bones and in spite of treatment, he died three months later at the age of 73. His papers reside at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hawaii. A bronze statue in his honor resides in the Spark M. Matsunaga International Children's Garden For Peace at the Storybook Theatre of Hawaii in his hometown of Hanapepe, Kauai. The Veterans Affairs Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii is also named in his honor. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Helene Hatsumi Matsunaga (1925 - 2004)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
Honolulu
Honolulu County
Hawaii, USA
Plot: Section V, Site 334-B
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Oct 25, 1999
Find A Grave Memorial# 6748
Spark Masayuki Matsunaga
Added by: Joe Leong
 
Spark Masayuki Matsunaga
Added by: Darrell Ames
 
Spark Masayuki Matsunaga
Added by: Darrell Ames
 
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Thank you for your military service and for your public service in the US Senate and House of Representatives. May you rest in peace.
- William Bjornstad
 Added: Feb. 2, 2016

- Pat Yoshi
 Added: Nov. 11, 2015

- LawBaby
 Added: Apr. 15, 2015
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