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 Spark Masayuki Matsunaga

Spark Masayuki Matsunaga

Birth
Kukuiula, Kauai County, Hawaii, USA
Death 15 Apr 1990 (aged 73)
Toronto, Toronto Municipality, Ontario, Canada
Burial Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA
Plot Section V, Site 334-B
Memorial ID 6748 · View Source
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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


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 25 Oct 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6748
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Spark Masayuki Matsunaga (8 Oct 1916–15 Apr 1990), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6748, citing National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .