One of the many stories along the Japanese American Remembrance Trail is of Hiroyuki “Hiro” Nishimura, former resident of assisted living facility Nikkei Manor. Even in his late 90s, Hiro walked around the neighborhood every day. “Hiro’s Walk” is a shortened version of the walk he once took in his younger years, a comfortable half-mile loop in the very center of the Japanese American Remembrance Trail. It connects Nikkei Manor to Nihonmachi Alley (waypoint #5).
Shortly after the walk was named for Hiro, he passed away. We honor his memory and hope to continue in his spirit of community service, resiliency, celebration and active living. As you take “Hiro’s Walk,” reflect on his life. What might have stood out to him on his walk? What would he be remembering from his life? What would motivate him to take this walk each and every day?
Born in Seattle in 1919, Hiro was the first son of Hisao and Fumiko Nishimura, immigrants from Hiroshima Prefecture. Hiro served in the U.S. Army as a translator during World War II. While on furlough, he visited his family incarcerated at the Minidoka concentration camp in Idaho. During the war, he spent most of his time in India and the last six months in Burma, translating captured documents and interrogating Japanese POWs.
Hiro was discharged from service in 1945 and married Dorothy Hisako Yoshida in 1953. He took advantage of the G.I. Bill to complete his college education at the University of Washington. After graduation, he became a biologist in the university’s Health Sciences Student/Research Laboratory. He and Dorothy had three daughters, Celia, Robyn and Karen.
Hiro was active in the Seattle Japanese American Citizens League and in the Redress campaign, as well as in local politics. He authored a book about his family’s experiences called “Trials and Triumphs of the Nikkei” (Mercer Island. Fukuda Publishers, 1993).
Also, visit waypoint #40 to learn more about the community-led initiative to build Nikkei Manor and Keiro Rehabilitation and Care Center.