James Murata oral history interview, part 2 of 5, April 20, 2002


Dublin Core


James Murata stopped attending Japanese Language School in high school to help his parents in the fields harvesting carrots. He discusses his obligation to help his parents in farming. If there were any family outings, the family would pay. Unlike American films, Japanese films only were released three to four times a year. The movie theater seating had no segregation. However, there was segregation at public community swimming pools. In high school, there was a swimming program that was not restricted. James did not see any discrimination in high school among the students.

In 1934, James' father passed away, and the family stuck together to survive. Although James lost his father and later his brother, he did not change until World War Two because he was separated from his family. James was living in Guadalupe when Pearl Harbor was attacked.

A few days later, the Army moved into the community to patrol the streets. He recalls an encounter with a soldier going home. James said he was used to seeing the soldiers around because, before Pearl Harbor, the National Guards would come through town for the summer practices. There was a National Guard Headquarters 30 miles away from the community.

James recalled the FBI coming to his house asking for his father. James informed them that his father passed away, and the FBI left. Other families James knew had a different experience with the FBI. James recalled there were curfews and travel restrictions. Several months later, there was an evacuation notice. The Japanese Americans had no power or rights regardless of how they felt. The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) could only listen to the government. The JACL was not able to make suggestions.

Assembly Center
James did own any treasures and only packed what he could carry to camp. James and his family evacuated to an Assembly Center. He described the living conditions and the guards posted at the gate. James would work inside the relocation center as an ambulance driver.



Oral History Item Type Metadata



Date of Birth

1920 Aug 06

Location of Birth

Incarceration Facilities

War or Conflict

Branch of Service

Entrance into Service



Murata, James: narrator, Hawkins, Richard: interviewer, and Go For Broke National Education Center: publisher, “James Murata oral history interview, part 2 of 5, April 20, 2002,” Japanese American Military History Collective, accessed May 19, 2024, https://ndajams.omeka.net/items/show/1052812.