Tom Yamada oral history interview, part 2 of 5, October 3, 2004


Dublin Core


Yamada discusses playing sports in his childhood such as barefoot football, tennis and fishing with his friends. One holiday that his family celebrates annually is the Emperor of Japan's birthday and New Year (because of the food). They also sing Japan's anthem. In Yamada's older years, he enjoys holidays such as Christmas and New Year in Canada.

After high school, Yamada's parents encourage him to go to Japan for school. He goes to Kyoto, Japan and attends a Christian private school. Yamada recalls Japan's education is challenging because how different it is from Hawaii. In Hawaii, students at Japanese School learn ethics and behavior and class is an hour a day. In Japan, class is eight hours a day. Yamada says ethics is practice in daily routine and believes it is a necessary rule for upbringing.

Yamada returns home from Japan when 20 years old 1936 or 1937. He works at the local store and plantation before being drafted in 1941. The draft starts in 1941 because of conflicts in Europe. Yamada goes to Schofield Barracks for 1/2 year for infantry training.

When Pearl Harbor is bombed, Yamada's Father is incarcerated for three months by FBI for his community activities. Yamada is in the army already when this happened and is unable to be there for his Father. Yamada ships out with the Japanese unit to Oakland and then to Wisconsin June 1942. Yamada recalls having mix feelings about going. He waits to stay with family but is curious about Mainland and future activities.






Spatial Coverage



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Date of Birth

1914 Aug 21

Location of Birth

War or Conflict

Branch of Service

Entrance into Service




Yamada, Tom: narrator et al., “Tom Yamada oral history interview, part 2 of 5, October 3, 2004,” Japanese American Military History Collective, accessed June 13, 2024,