- March 29, 1979
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Biographical / Historical
John Fujio Aiso (December 14, 1909 - December 29, 1987) was born in Burbank, California. He excelled academically and received a scholarship to attend Brown University, from which he graduated in 1931 as their first Asian American graduate. He then attended Harvard Law School, receiving his degree in 1934. He entered private practice and spent time in Japan on behalf of his firm. He was drafted in 1941. Originally stationed at Fort MacArthur, he was transferred to the Military Intelligence Service Language School (now known as the Defense Language Institute), where he became Director of Academic Training from 1941-1946. In 1946, Aiso was granted a direct commision as Major to work as an executive assistant to General C. A. Willoughby in the Civil Information Section. In 1947, he received the Legion of Merit before he retired from the military to practice law in California. He served as Superior Court Commisioner until he was promoted to a Los Angeles Municipal Court judge in 1952, becoming the first Japanese American to hold a judicial position in the contiguous Uniited States. In 1957, he was elevated to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge and in 1968, Governer Ronald Reagan advanced Aiso to the 2nd District Court of Appeals. John Aiso died on December 29,1987 at age 78 from injuries he sustained during a mugging.