Harry Tanaka oral history interview, part 3 of 6, April 16, 2004


Dublin Core


Harry Tanaka discusses working in a Libby cannery during the summer time and at the University of Hawaii work for a professor. During High school, Tanaka thought he would pursue a career in engineering but he ends up receiving his degree in history and minoring in political science from college. His new found interest in political science leads him to Law School.

At the University of Hawaii, he does not sign up for ROTC, though it was required to for his first two years. When Pearl Harbor is attack, Tanaka recalls sleeping and thought the attack was a military exercise. After the attack, Tanaka's Father builds a bomb shelter and classes at the University of Hawaii were suspended . Tanaka decides to join the Hawaiian Territory Guards and the Varsity Victory Volunteers (VVV).

When the VVV disbanded, he decided to wait to volunteer. At this time the Japanese Americans are labeled as enemy aliens and are unable to serve. When the Japanese Americans were allowed to serve, there is an overwhelming response to volunteer for the formation of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

March of 1943, Tanaka goes to Schofield Barracks for basic training. Tanaka recalls not attending the send off at Iolani Palace because he has the mumps.

When Tanaka arrives at Camp Shelby, where he was assigned to the 232nd Combat Engineer Company. Then he received orders to goto Minnesota for Military Intelligence Service (MIS).






Spatial Coverage



Oral History Item Type Metadata



Date of Birth

1921 May 15

Location of Birth

War or Conflict

Branch of Service

Entrance into Service




Tanaka, Harry: narrator, Nakaishi, Russell: interviewer, and Go For Broke National Education Center: publisher, “Harry Tanaka oral history interview, part 3 of 6, April 16, 2004,” Japanese American Military History Collective, accessed June 23, 2024, https://ndajams.omeka.net/items/show/1050298.