Tadayoshi Sugiyama oral history interview, part 4 of 5, September 19, 2007


Dublin Core


Tadayoshi Sugiyama discusses the two forms of citizenship. One by birth and one by bloodline. Although Japanese Americans are born in the United States, their treatment after Pearl Harbor shows otherwise. Tadayoshi says the FBI has a lot of information about the Japanese Americans' activities on Terminal Island. Tadayoshi says that the same thing happened to the Japanese Americans in San Francisco when Pearl Harbor happens.

At Gila River and overseas, Tadayoshi encounters different types of Japanese dialects. For example, at camp there is a mixture of city and country people with contrasting Japanese dialogue. Moreover, there is a perception that Japanese Americans do not speak Japanese. When Tadayoshi goes to Nikko, the locals are surprised to see a Japanese in an American uniform and speaking Japanese. The same thing happens when he visits his relatives in Shimizu on a ten-day furlough.

Overseas Tadayoshi is an interpreter with the War Crimes Investigation for two Captains who are lawyers. Despite working on war crime cases during occupations, Tadayoshi does not see any finalization of his investigations. A particular case his shares is Captain Kaneko.

The war impacts the lives of Japanese locals in many ways. Tadayoshi is surprised about the social responsibility in public and describes some situations he witnessed. Tadayoshi's mother says this is an effect of war. War changes people, and we should not judge people too harshly.

Tadayoshi's parents leave Gila River in 1945 and rebuild their lives. Post-war, Tadayoshi furthers his education and moves to Los Angeles. He has two daughters and two grandchildren. Tadayoshi reflects on the Nisei contribution and the legacy they worked for the next generations.



Oral History Item Type Metadata

Date of Birth

1921 May 18

Location of Birth

War or Conflict

Branch of Service




Sugiyama, Tadayoshi: narrator, Kunitomi, Darrell: interviewer, and Go For Broke National Education Center: publisher, “Tadayoshi Sugiyama oral history interview, part 4 of 5, September 19, 2007,” Japanese American Military History Collective, accessed March 2, 2024, https://ndajams.omeka.net/items/show/1053204.