Tommy Mayekawa oral history interview, part 2 of 3, February 11, 2012


Dublin Core


Tommy Mayekawa and his family evacuate to Santa Anita Assembly Center after receiving the evacuation orders. He describes the living conditions and life in the camp. Tommy and his family live in a horse stable, and his parents accepted the situation with the attitude of shikata ga nai.

Tommy and his family are at Santa Anita for a few months before going to Rohwer Relocation Center. At Rohwer, there are armed guards in guard towers. Tommy tries to try to occupy his time in camp with work. He finds a job driving a truck and chopping wood.

In March 1944, Tommy leaves Rohwer for employment opportunities in Detroit, MI. Shortly after, Tommy receives his draft notice and reports to Fort Sheridan. Tommy discusses the irony of being an American citizen going to camp and now being drafted into service.

At Camp Blanding, Tommy is part of a segregated unit. Many guys from his Company go overseas to Europe, but Tommy goes to language school at Fort Snelling. Tommy's training is short because the war has ended, and they are needed overseas.

In August 1945, he travels to the Philippine Islands and works at a POW camp. Later, Tommy goes to Japan for occupation. He is stationed in downtown Yokohama and is attached to the Third Military Railway Service Headquarters. His assignment is to be an interpreter with the local rail operators.



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 2 of 3, February 11, 2012,” Japanese American Military History Collective, accessed July 24, 2024,