Oral History Interview with Yoshiro William Matsuhara
Nisei male, born on September 25, 1919 in Sacramento, California to a farm family. Due to ill health, his father was unable to work from the time Yoshio was a teenager. The family was supported by the combined incomes of his motherï¿½s seasonal cannery job and summer farm jobs of five children. Yoshio started Japanese language school in junior high school but soon caught up with his age mates. Yoshio attended college for two years and tried to enlist in the U.S. Army on December 8, 1941 but was denied as a Nisei. He worked a few months for the State but a letter dated April 8, 1942 from the State Personnel Board terminated him due to the war and his race. See bound copy the interview for the letter.Yoshio details disposal of family property during evacuation in 1942 at age twenty-three. The family went to Walerga Assembly Center, then to Tule Lake, California. The family was assigned to block nine where ill internees were housed. They were given two rooms for a family of six. His two older brothers, working as fishermen in San Diego, were sent to Poston, Arizona. He describes camp loyalty oath dissension and his decision to join the U.S. Army. After the Loyalty Oath crisis, Tule Lake was designated as a camp for the disloyal internees and the ï¿½loyalï¿½ internees were sent to other camps. Yoshio helped his family move to Topaz, Utah in January 1944, then went to Camp Savage, Minnesota for Military Intelligence Service Language Training School. He describes intensive language training and the friendliness of the local people toward Nisei. His basic army training in Alabama had a different racial atmosphere. Nisei were told by the army they were white and not to observe segregated areas designated for blacks, e.g., back of the bus, black PX or theater areas. Yoshio served in the Philippines as an interrogator and in Japan in the Japanese American Language Detachment. Upon discharge in 1946, he returned to Sacramento to reunite with his family. After temporary jobs he worked for the California Youth Authority from 1949 to 1954 and the Sacramento County Probation Department from 1954 to 1981. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Correctional Work Administration at California State University, Sacramento.
Transcript available at California State University, Sacramento University Library
4 Tapes of 4
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