Ft. Missoula - Minidoka
Brick #817 Wall Location Column: 80 Row: 26
Seiichi Hara was born April 4, 1882, at Tsubaki Mura, Miye-ken, Japan. He was the first son of a rice producing business farmer and one time mayor. He completed his education at Sensu University in Japan, majoring in economics. He immigrated to the United States in 1906 and went to night school for two years to learn English. He had various jobs in the Pacific Northwest. He decided to make his home in Seattle and returned to Japan in 1918 and married Shizuko Inagaki and the couple returned to Seattle the same year. They had four children: Norio, Ray; Mari, Mary; Kayji, Ben; and Yoshi, Amy.
He operated the Union Hotel for a brief time and subsequently operated the Tacoma Hotel in partnership with Kakuzo Kawakimi. The hotel was located at 822 Jackson Street, one block east of the center of Nihonmachi and it was also the home of the Seattle Dojo (Judo Organization).
Having grown up in an environment of public service and business, he pursued these interests. He was very civic-minded and in the pre-war and post-war days was active in numerous community organizations. He was the recipient of many trophies, plaques and certificates for his services.
Because of his knowledge in English, he frequently served as an interpreter for men wishing to obtain an engineering license to run a hotel or an apartment. He also served as a liaison person between Japanese persons renting market stalls at the Pike Street Market in Seattle as well as serving as an interpreter for the instructor of the Saga Gorkyu School of Ikebana at flower arranging demonstrations for Caucasion audiences. He was a member of the Education Committee of the Japanese Language School who were responsible for developing a set of Japanese texts which were more useful to the Japanese American students rather than texts used in Japan.
At the outbreak of World War II on December 7, 1941, he was detained along with 107 active community leaders by the FBI at the Immigration and Naturalization Station in Seattle and later transferred to Missoula, Montana Detention Center. He rejoined his family on June 4, 1942, at the Puyallup Assemply Center. In August, 1942, the family was sent to the Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho. At Minidoka he served as Head Block Manager and as president of the Gold Star Parents Association.
He and his wife returned to Seattle the early part of 1945, and resumed managing the Tacoma Hotel. In 1964 the I-5 Freeway took part of the hotel and at that time he retired. He passed away on May 5, 1986.