Oral History Interview with James Hajime Kurata
Nisei male, born in Lodi, California on June 27, 1918 to a farm family. At age twenty-two, in 1940, he enrolled in engineering courses at the College of the Pacific. His counselor told him that as a Nisei he might have difficulty getting a job as an engineer. In September 1941, at age twenty-four, he was inducted in the U.S. army and patrolled Southern California coastlines. His family was interned at Rohwer, Arkansas. Jim later received training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi with other Nisei pre-war draftees and assigned to the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion under the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Jim served in Italy, France (Bruyeres and Battle of the Lost Battalion) and Germany during the U.S. occupation. His two younger brothers also served in the 442nd. One served in both the 442nd and the Military Intelligence Service (MIS). While in Germany in 1945 his unit hired two Lithuanian ex-prisoners of Dachau prison camp. Morris, a journalist was hired as unit interpreter and Bloom, a tailor, altered U.S. uniforms to fit small Nisei frames. Jim drove Morris around Germany and Italy in an unsuccessful attempt to find Morrisï¿½ wife imprisoned in an unidentified camp. In 1949, Morris and his wife emigrated to the U.S. and settled in California. Jim remained in contact with them until Morrisï¿½ death. In 1984, Jim was among eleven veterans of the Battery A, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team to visit the memorial monument in Bruyeres, Frances. The monument was built by the people of Bruyeres to honor the 442nd .
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