Kameo Toyota oral history interview, part 1 of 5, November 17, 2002


Dublin Core


Toyota discusses his parents immigration to the United States, his childhood and his military service. Toyota's Father is a trained as a carpenter in Japan and when he migrates to America, he becomes a barber and a farmer. During the Great Depression Toyota's Father teaches the family to barber to make money. The Toyota family lived in Modesto, CA before moving to Gilroy, CA for farming opportunity.

In Toyota's early years he recalls discrimination. As a child he would swim in irrigation rivers because Japanese Americans are not allowed to swim in the public pools. He also recollects his oldest brother born in Japan is not allow to immigrate to the United States due to the Immigration Law in 1924.

In 1940, the Peace Time Draft is in effect and the first ten numbers are to enlist for service. Toyota is the third number to be called by President Roosevelt. Toyota remembers the Japanese American Community providing a big send for the Nisei. The first ten drafts are Nisei and they go to Fort Ord. Toyota is assign to 7th Division; Mechanized Calvary Unit and drives an armor scout car four wheel drive fully armor with machine gun.

When Pearl Harbor is attack, Toyota is in service and recalls hearing about the attack during a basketball tournament. Part of his duty during the war is to scout up and down the Pacific Coast for Japanese submarine. Later The Japanese American soldiers' guns are taken away and ship to Michigan.

Simultaneous at this time when Toyota is getting ready to be ship, his family is getting ready for evacuation to Salinas. From the stress of events, Toyota's Mother has a stroke. His family is later related to Poston. He is unable to see his Mother years later.






Spatial Coverage



Oral History Item Type Metadata



Date of Birth

1917 Oct 25

Location of Birth

War or Conflict

Branch of Service

Entrance into Service


Location of Basic Training




Toyota, Kameo: narrator, Kunitomi, Darrell: interviewer, and Go For Broke National Education Center: publisher, “Kameo Toyota oral history interview, part 1 of 5, November 17, 2002,” Japanese American Military History Collective, accessed May 23, 2024, https://ndajams.omeka.net/items/show/1053306.