'Alec' (The Denton Tribune, 7 January 1944).

Harry Kuwada was an American-Japanese (amateur) cartoonist, who during World War II was interned in the Jerome Relocation Center, near Jerome, Arkansas. He was a staff artist with the camp newspaper, the Denson Tribune, creating the gag strips 'Pete 'n Zeke' (1943) and 'Alec' (1943-1944).

Background
On 7 December 1941, the Japanese army attacked the U.S. military base Pearl Harbor, causing the U.S. to declare war on Japan. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered Executive Order 9066, all first and second generation Japanese-Americans were interned in concentration camps. There were no exceptions for people born on U.S. soil and naturalized citizens. Over 2,000 Japanese-Americans were sent to these detention centers. Harry Kuwada was one of them. Other (future) Japanese-American cartoonists who underwent the same fate were Rosie Arima, Chris Ishii, Willie Ito, Jack Ito, Bob Kuwahara, Bennie Nobori, Eddie Sato, Esther Takei, Tom Okamoto, Iwao Takamoto and Tom Yabu.


'Pete 'n Zeke' (The Denton Tribune, 19 October 1943).

Cartoonist
Harry Kuwada was imprisoned in the Jerome Relocation Center near Jerome, Arkansas. It was one of the last camps to open (in October 1942) and one of the first to close (on 30 June 1944). The semi-weekly camp newspaper started as the Denson Communique, before being renamed to the Denson Tribune. At least in the period 1943-1944, Kuwada served as staff artist, alongside fellow inmates like Rosie Arima. Both provided irregular appearing gag strips. Kuwada's first effort was 'Pete 'n Zeke' (1943), starring two stereotypical blackface characters. He continued his cartooning career with 'Alec' (1943-1944), a gag strip about the unlucky adventures of a sailor-like kid.

Identity?
By the time the camp was closed down, most prisoners were relocated to similar concentration camps elsewhere. Kuwada's further whereabouts are unknown. Considering most inmates of the Jerome Relocation Center originated from either California or Hawaii, the camp's amateur cartoonist might have been Harry S. Kuwada, born in either 1923 or 1924 in Honolulu, Hawaii. After the war, he returned to Hawaii, where he first worked as coach and then vice principal of Kailua High School, before becoming a sales agent for John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co. in Honolulu. Living most of his post-war life in Kailua, he passed away in July 1970 at age 46.


'Alec' (The Denton Tribune, 28 January 1944).

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