Discover Nikkei

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/1514/

Being called out of Reserves

After George and I got to where we were working and we worked there, like I mentioned, Frank had come out with his family. He said, “If you don’t like where you’re working, there’s plenty of work in Chicago if you want to work there.” Being in the city, it seemed to be better. So we went to Chicago and worked there.

That was the middle of summer, and I think it was about October. They called me up and they called George. They had pulled us out of the Reserves. By that time, they had the 442 and they had the 100 Battalion pretty well organized. They could have been in Africa by 1944. Because the war ended in ’45.

We still hadn’t taken our basic training. Before I took my basic training, or when I was called up in Chicago, they said, “Do you have choice of where you want to serve in the army?” I said, “Yes, I’ll volunteer to be in Military Intelligence school.” And they said “Fine.”

George was inducted and he didn’t care where he went, so that’s why they send him down to Florida. And they took a basic training, and he was signed to go to replacement for 442. But by then, by then the war was over in Europe. 


armed forces Chicago Illinois military United States World War II

Date: February 6, 2015

Location: California, US

Interviewer: John Esaki

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

Jimmy Ko Fukuhara was born on September 21, 1921 in Los Angeles, California to Japanese immigrants, Ume and Ichisuke Fukuhara. In 1927, his father moved the family to Santa Monica, California, and got started in the nursery business. After graduating from Santa Monica High School, Jimmy worked at the nursery, until 1942, when he and his family were sent to the Manzanar concentration camp.

Jimmy was able to leave camp early, and moved to Pennsylvania with his younger brother, George. Within sixty days, Jimmy was drafted into the army, and volunteered to serve in the Military Intelligence school. After going through basic training, Jimmy was sent to Tokyo, Japan. There he worked for the labor department in General MacArthur’s headquarters. Before leaving Japan, he visited Hiroshima in hopes of connecting with his parents’ relatives. After being discharged, Jimmy returned to Santa Monica and the family nursery business. Jimmy continued to work in the nursery with his four brothers, until he retired in 1986. (May 2016)

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