Hiroshi Arisumi

Photo courtesy of Nisei Veterans Memorial Center

Hiroshi Arisumi was born at home in Olinda, Maui on either June 11, 1920 or June 10, 1921 to Aikichi and Masu (Murata) Arisuma, both from Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. He father worked for Worth Aiken’s horseback expedition company, giving tours to Haleakala before the summit road was built. His mother was a hostess who took care of tourists who stopped by their home. He later lived with his grandparents in Wailuku so he could attend school. Rather than going to high school, he attended the Maui Vocational School and learned carpentry. He took a job as a carpenter for Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co.

When the 442nd RCT began accepting Japanese-American volunteers, he signed up and was sent to Camp Shelby. With his carpentry skills, he was assigned to be a combat engineer, and was sent to Europe in May 1944. He arrived in Anzio and joined the pursuit of the fleeing Germans. In Florence, he and his fellow engineers would have to probe for mines in with their bayonets in the cold waters of the Arno River. He was later part of the Rescue of the Lost Battalion in France.

After returning home from the war, he worked at Schofield Barracks, where he ran into his future wife Edna, a former classmate from Maui. They were married on June 27, 1947 and had three children. In 1952, Hiroshi founded Arisumi Brothers construction company with his brother Mitsuo. They built starter homes for plantation workers after the plantations stopped providing housing for their employees. He was passionate about gardening and known for producing delicious persimmons. He was also involved with a number of nonprofit organizations and was pivotal in the construction of the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center.

Hiroshi Arisumi passed away on March 8, 2019, peacefully and surrounded by his family.

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