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Japanese American Confinement Sites /
World War II American Home Front Oral History Project

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Joe Tominaga Transcript

Conducted by Sam Redman in 2012, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2015.

 

Photo of Joe Tominaga, Delta, Utah 1943
Photo of Joe Tominaga, Delta, Utah 1943

Photo of Joe and Marian Uriko Tominaga, Topaz, Utah, 1943
Photo of Joe and Marian Uriko Tominaga, Topaz, Utah, 1943

Joe Tominaga was born in Coyote, California, a small town just south of San Jose. He grew up the fourth child of Japanese immigrant farmers. He moved to Los Angeles to work as a gardener while living with his sister and brother-in-law and eventually moved back to Berkeley to become a gardener until he was incarcerated during World War II. Tominaga discusses his experiences growing up as a Japanese American before WWII, in the incarceration camps, and after WWII.

While at Fresno Assembly Center, he volunteered to work as a sugar beet farmer so he and his family would be transferred to Topaz . While at Topaz, he worked in the Carrier Service, then as a truck driver, and finally as a foreman at Chicago Wirecraft Defense Plant until he was finally drafted into the Army. However, the war ended soon thereafter and thus he did not have to serve. He spent several years after the war in Chicago where he encountered racial prejudice in the workplace and decided to move back to Berkeley where he continued his work as a gardener to support his wife and son.



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