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Harry Kitano

Harry H.L. Kitano arrived at Topaz on Oct. 9, 1942 from the Santa Anita Race Track where his family of seven children and his parents lived in horse stalls. He was born on Feb. 14, 1926 in San Francisco and was attending high school when all Japanese and their citizen children were forced to move to concentration camps.

His family lived on block 34-3-D at Topaz.  When he arrived, he was hired to erect the four-strand barbed wire fence around the camp.  Once Topaz High opened he attended school, where he played football and the trombone in the band. In the Delta-Topaz game he intercepted a pass and ran 40 yards for the score. A starter on the line-up, Kitano weighed 152 lbs., stood 5'6" and played fullback.

He was on the Student Representative Council, the Rally Committee, and the Student Social Committee. He also participated in the Forum, a group that discussed "problems which face us today," according to the 1943 Rambling yearbook. He was the senior class president in 1944 and was interested in mathematics, history and music arranging. He was voted the Most Popular Boy in his class with Tsuki Takaha, the Most Popular Girl.

After graduation, Harry left Topaz on April 4, 1944 and headed to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After working as a farm hand and playing in jazz bands he returned to California for his education receiving a Ph.D in Psychology and Education in 1958 from U.C. Berkeley. His entire career was spent at UCLA where he was a professor in the departments of Social Welfare and Sociology.  His contribution to the field on knowledge and research techniques produced over 150 books and articles. His first book, "Japanese Americans: The Emergence of a Subculture" (1969) assured his stature as an academician.  His last book "Achieving the Impossible Dream: How Japanese Americans Achieved Redress" (2000) was being revised at the time of his death in 2002.