Tommy Mayekawa oral history interview, part 1 of 3, February 11, 2012


Dublin Core


Tommy Masakazu Mayekawa is born on April 22, 1921, in Hawthorne, CA. Tommy's parents are from Mie-ken, Japan. When Tommy's father immigrates to the United States, he works on the railroads and truck farming.

Tommy is the oldest of the children. He has a sister and two brothers. Tommy's first childhood home is on a farm. Growing up, he helps his father on the farm. If Tommy has free time, he hangs out with his friends and goes to the skating ring and movies.

Tommy recalls his school years and being the teachers' favorite student. Besides attending primary school, he goes to Japanese language school. After graduating high school in 1939, Tommy worked on a farm other than his family farm to earn money. Tommy also works at a home appliance store in Gardena, CA, as a delivery man.

On December 7, 1941, Tommy hears the news about Pearl Harbor while eating breakfast at his regular restaurant. He does not experience discrimination. Growing up, Tommy does not experience discrimination either. He says he feels the same as everyone since he was born and raised in the United States.

Tommy recalls the evacuation notices and preparing to go to Santa Anita Assembly Center. He describes the living conditions and feeling degraded. Tommy says there is nothing you can do but accept the situation, shikata ga nai.



Oral History Item Type Metadata

Date of Birth

1921 Apr 22

Location of Birth

War or Conflict

Branch of Service

Entrance into Service


Mayekawa, Tommy: narrator, Horsting, Robert: interviewer, and Go For Broke National Education Center: publisher, “Tommy Mayekawa oral history interview, part 1 of 3, February 11, 2012,” Japanese American Military History Collective, accessed April 12, 2024,