James Murata oral history interview, part 3 of 5, April 20, 2002


Dublin Core


In the relocation center, James Murata worked as an ambulance driver. For entertainment, there were plays and sports. The Assembly Center was a racetrack and some internees lived in horse stalls. James described how he made most of the situation. He had the mindset of Shikata ga nai.

After the Assembly Center, James went to Tulare, Arizona. The camp was unfinished, and there were tranches. Moreover, at the far end of the camp, barracks were uncompleted. James lived in a barrack and described the living conditions and food.

At Tulare, James worked in the hospital as an orderly. His tasks ranged from carrying the deceased to the morgue, helping the nurses with physical duties, and whatever else needs to be done. Later, the camp had a camouflage project and James worked on that. Reflecting on camp life, James said it was somewhat like a vacation. He could do anything, spent time with friends, and there were dances on the weekends.

James recalls volunteers leaving camp for the Army. He said it was sad to see the volunteers leave because they were leaving behind family and loved ones. When news about the 100th and 442nd accomplishments in Cassino was in the newspaper, James was in Des Moines, ID, and he felt proud of the Niseis. James worked at Broadlawns General Hospital in Des Moines. Later James received a draft notice.

He went to several weeks of basic training before going to Camp Blanding. During basic training, the most significant thing James learned was endurance from marching. After completing basic training, James went to Minnesota by train. When James arrived at language school, there were about 1,000 men. There were different classes and duties to keep him busy. Although James went to Japanese Language School when he was younger, he had to train himself now to read, write, and speak Japanese. There was a test every weekend.



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 3 of 5, April 20, 2002,” Japanese American Military History Collective, accessed April 20, 2024, https://ndajams.omeka.net/items/show/1052813.