Theresa Matsudaira

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Theresa Matsudaira
BornHotoru Matsudaira
1902 (1902)
Kanazawa, Japan
💀Died1996 (aged 93–94)
Seattle, Washington1996 (aged 93–94)
🏳️ NationalityJapanese, American
💼 Occupation
👩 Spouse(s)
Thomas Matsudaira
(m. 1921; died 1967)
👶 Children14 (including John Matsudaira)

Theresa Hotoru Matsudaira (松平 ほとる, Matsudaira Hotoru, 1902 – 1996) was a Japanese emigrant to the United States.


Hotoru immigrated to the United States with her new husband Thomas on July 24, 1921. Their first son John was born on November 26, 1922.[1] In 1929, they converted to Roman Catholicism, with Hotoru receiving her baptismal name of Theresa. They raised all of their 14 children in the Catholic faith and put them in Catholic school.

On May 18, 1942, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Matsudaira and her family were moved to Puyallup Assembly Center.[2] While the rest of her family moved to the Minidoka War Relocation Center, she stayed behind to give birth to another daughter. She went to Minidoka with her daughter one day later.[3] After returning to Seattle on March 14, 1945 upon leaving Minidoka a day earlier,[4] she discovered that her house was broken into and that all of the furniture was stolen. She and her three daughters were taken in by the Maryknoll Sisters.

Although she rarely used English through her work experiences during her lifetime (she relied on an interpreter), Matsudaira was naturalized as a United States citizen in 1948, followed by her husband a few years later. She was named "Catholic Mother of the Year" in 1951 by the National Catholic Conference on Family Life.[5][6]

On September 10, 1981, Matsudaira presented her testimony to the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians.[7] She also testified about food servings to interned Japanese Americans at given times of the day.[8] Matsudaira's daughters were interviewed about her by the Seattle Times in 1992.[9] In 1994, she was one of the Issei women honored by a local committee in Seattle.[10]


  1. "John Matsudaira". The Seattle Times. 2007-02-01. Retrieved 2018-12-12.
  2. "Matsudaira, Hotoru". Densho Digital Repository. Retrieved 2018-12-13.
  3. "James I. Matsudaira" (PDF). The Voices of World War II. Retrieved 2018-12-13.
  4. "Matsudaira, Hotoru Theresa". Densho Digital Repository. Retrieved 2018-12-13.
  5. "Catholic Mother Of The Year Is Named". California Digital Newspaper Collection. New York: Madera Tribune. 1951-05-04. Retrieved 2017-10-13.
  6. The Messenger. 16. Bd. of Business Management of the Evangelical and Reformed Church. 1951. p. 26. Search this book on Logo.png
  7. Matsudaira, Theresa Hotoru (1981-09-10). "Testimony of Theresa Hotoru Matsudaira". Densho. Retrieved 2017-10-13.
  8. Takezawa, Yasuko I. (1995). Breaking the Silence: Redress and Japanese American Ethnicity. Cornell University Press. pp. 87–88. Search this book on Logo.png
  9. "The Matsudaira Family". The Seattle Times. 1992-06-14. Retrieved 2017-10-13.
  10. Ament, Deloris Tarzan (1994-09-29). "Generations Of Talent -- Two Exhibits Document, Celebrate And Place In Context The Contributions Of Asian Immigrants To Our Cultural Treasure Chest". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2018-12-12.

External links[edit]

  • Theresa H Matsudaira at Find a GraveLua error in Module:WikidataCheck at line 23: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).

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