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Remembering Judge Uno

Remembering Judge Uno

By The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation
North American Post Contributor

The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation mourns the death March 8 of Judge Raymond S. Uno, a former Heart Mountain incarceree who became the first ethnic minority judge in Utah and president of the National Japanese American Citizens League.

During his 93 years, Uno served in the Korean War, was a leader in the struggle for redress for the Japanese American incarceration and fought for peace and human rights. He was instrumental in leading reunions of Heart Mountain incarcerees and an early influence in the creation of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation.

“Judge Raymond Uno was a pioneer and civil rights icon as the first ethnic minority judge in Utah,” said Shirley Ann Higuchi, chair of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation.

“Although he always had a smile on his face and a positive outlook, his personal history and what he faced at Heart Mountain was challenging and difficult. He never let that traumatic experience define who he was.”

Uno was born in Ogden, Utah, but moved in 1938 to El Monte, California. where his father, Clarence, was secretary of the San Gabriel Valley Japanese Association. They lived there until the family was forced from their homes into the Pomona Assembly Center and then Heart Mountain after the Imperial Japanese government attack on Pearl Harbor.

Clarence Uno died in his sleep on Jan. 18, 1943, after attending a USO meeting.

Raymond, his mother and two siblings struggled after Clarence’s death and had trouble finding a new home after the incarceration. They returned to Utah after the war. During the summers, Uno worked on the railroads and then joined the Army in 1948. He became an intelligence officer during the Korean War.

Uno returned to Utah and earned law and multiple other degrees from the University of Utah. With the help of the Salt Lake City Japanese American community, Uno became the national president of the Japanese American Citizens League in 1970. His calm and visionary leadership pushed the JACL to embrace redress for the incarceration.

Uno is survived by his wife, Yoshiko, five sons and six grandchildren.