(by Student #10 AMH 2010 1115)
Ayako Kanda. She was a female criminal. I chose this casefile because female criminals are rare, and at that a minority female criminal. To begin my research, I wasn’t sure what to except and had an open mind to explore Ayako’s life and anything I could find. I dove into my research with basic questions like,” What did she do?” and, “Did she deserve her conviction sentence”.
To start, I called San Quentin’s prison in California to see if they could give me information on a past inmate. They led to me to their inmate database. I went on California’s inmate database to see her initial case file. Her criminal case file shared a lot with me on its own. She was received at this prison on October 1, 1932. The name they have listed in San Quentin’s prison was Mrs. Ayako Kanda which gave me the idea that she was married. Her occupation listed was also “Housewife”. This made my curiosity grew to an even bigger concept than just her but also her husband. I couldn’t find much on her husband until I found one article, from “San Quentin News”, stating that she in fact killed her Politian husband. She received a first-degree murder charges for her actions and a life sentence. I pulled the articles to the side and wanted to find out about her past before researching her means behind this impulse kill. I went onto Ancestory.com and simply searched her first and last name to see if anything would come up. Following up my search to find more into her Japanese descent, I discovered her father’s name was Manabu Kanda and brought Ayako over in the early 1900’s. By looking at the transcripts of crew ships and immigration ships, my theory is that her father brought her over originally from Hawaii which explains the Hawaiian last name but her nationality in being Japanese.
During this time, 1930’s, the Great Depression was just beginning. With her husband being a Politian her motive behind the attack is still unknown to me but raises possible curiosities as to why. Possibly she was frustrated with the horrible economy and her husband lacked to improve it? Maybe she didn’t agree with her husband’s political stances? Or maybe it has nothing to do with politics and she was being beaten by him?
The death of her husband made her famous. Even though there’s not too much information to uncover about her I enjoyed discovering her family history and roots that she grows from.