Ken Nihei oral history interview, part 1 of 5, August 20, 2004


Dublin Core


Ken Nihei was born in 1925 in Sacramento, CA. Ken grew up in Sacramento until he was seven years old and moved to Hayward (Bay Area) during the Great Depression.

Ken's father immigrated to the United States from Fukushima-ken, Japan, to help his family financially. In Sacramento, he worked in the rice field and a cannery. After saving enough money, he opened a delicatessen store in Downtown Sacramento. Ken's mother was a housewife who cared for seven children (five boys and two girls).

Ken grew up in a farming background in Sacramento. He enjoyed being outdoors, playing with his friends, and watching movies. The family moved around several times before setting in the Bay area.

Before the Pearl Harbor attack, Ken had aspirations to graduate High School and attend college. On December 7, Ken was at home listening to the radio when he heard the news about Pearl Harbor.

When Executive Order 9066 was signed by the President, Ken's family evacuated from their residence. Ken and his family went to Tanforan Assembly Center. He described the living conditions and life at Tanforan before going to Topaz, Utah.



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Date of Birth

1925 May 14

Location of Birth

War or Conflict

Branch of Service

Entrance into Service

Location of Basic Training



Nihei, Ken: narrator, Hanamura, Wendy: interviewer, and Go For Broke National Education Center: publisher, “Ken Nihei oral history interview, part 1 of 5, August 20, 2004,” Japanese American Military History Collective, accessed May 23, 2024,