Taira Fukushima oral history interview, part 2 of 3, August 11, 2008

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Taira Fukushima discusses the importance of family. For example, when he is a student, he gets a paper route job, and with the money earned, he shares it with the family. In the 1930s, there was a notion that tuberculosis was hereditary. By getting the shots you keep the family intact.

As a youth, Taira is aware of world events from the LA Times. He reads about land leasing and the war overseas. However, Taira thinks poverty is more important news in those days. On December 7, Taira is playing football with the Japanese American kids. He recalls Charlie Chaplin is filming the movie The Great Dictator across the street.

The following day after the Pearl Harbor attack, Taira goes to school on the bus. The school has an assembly and shows support for the Japanese Americans. He discusses the treatment after December 7, and he does not realize the severity of the situation until the evacuation.

Besides evacuation, there are curfew hours. Taira says he only goes to school and straight comes home. Moreover, He recalls neighbors coming and taking the plants from the front yard and asking low prices for their belongings.

Taira believes his family is the first to go to camp because his relatives volunteer to help build Manzanar. Taira's brother loses his job after Pearl Harbor and decides to help with the construction of Manzanar.

Taira describes the living condition at Manzanar. Briefly, He leaves camp to work on a farm in Idaho and attends Idaho Falls High School. However, working and going to school is tough. He returns to Manzanar and finishes high school in the camp. He studies journalism and is the senior editor.

In camp, Taira answers the loyalty questionnaire and explains the different possibilities of answering the questionnaire. In 1944, he is drafted into the Army with his brother Jim. Taira and Jim, go to Fort Douglas, and the other Nisei go to Camp Blanding or Camp Hood.

Camp Hood is for the anti-tank unit. However, Taira is a rife replacement for the 442nd. Taira is assigned to Company A 140th Battalion, and their unit is known as the Flying A. He describes life in basic training. His training is cut from 18 weeks to 16 weeks due to the Battle of Bulge.

Identifier

2008OH0902_02_Fukushima

Oral History Item Type Metadata

Date of Birth

1926 Feb 08

Location of Birth

Incarceration Facilities

War or Conflict

Branch of Service

Entrance into Service

Location of Basic Training

Citation

Fukushima, Taira: narrator, Horsting, Robert: interviewer, and Go For Broke National Education Center: publisher, “Taira Fukushima oral history interview, part 2 of 3, August 11, 2008,” Japanese American Military History Collective, accessed May 27, 2024, https://ndajams.omeka.net/items/show/1056028.