Sumio Frank Shimada oral history interview, part 1 of 5, March 23, 2002


Dublin Core


Sumio Frank Shimada was born on April 21, 1918, in Vacaville, CA. Later his family moved to Cordelia and then San Jose. Frank revisited Vacaville last year for a reunion. He described the changes in the town since his childhood.

Frank discusses his school years. In Vacaville, he attended primary school and Japanese Language School. Later, when the family moved to Cordelia, he went to a small grammar school and attended Sunday school at a Lutheran Church. After five years, Frank's family moved to San Jose. When Frank went overseas during wartime, he missed the valleys of San Jose the most. The valley was the most beautiful when the flowers were blooming.

In high school, Frank enrolled at a Prep Ministry school in Oakland. He graduated high school in 1936. Being the oldest son, Frank had responsibilities to the family. Therefore, he worked on the strawberry farm to help his parents. Later, Frank's family moved to Santa Clara and rented an area for farming.

In 1941, Frank moved to Los Angeles to help his half-brother in the trucking business. He recalls hearing the news about Pearl Harbor and shares his reaction to the event.

After President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, there were restrictions for the Japanese Americans. Frank's first reaction to Executive Order 9066 was the government could not do this to American citizens. He could only comply with the government orders because his parents taught him to respect authority.

Frank evacuated to Santa Anita Assembly Center with the Japanese Americans from Mountain View Palo Alto and later to Heart Mountain. Frank only took what he could carry to camp.



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Date of Birth

1918 Apr 21

Location of Birth

War or Conflict

Branch of Service

Entrance into Service


Location of Basic Training


Shimada, Sumio Frank: narrator, Yahata, Craig: interviewer, and Go For Broke National Education Center: publisher, “Sumio Frank Shimada oral history interview, part 1 of 5, March 23, 2002,” Japanese American Military History Collective, accessed June 17, 2024,