Joyce Takahashi was raised in Berkeley, California. Joyce’s father was an optometrist with a successful practice and her mother was a Public Health Nurse. Joyce remembers fondly a family trip to Washington, D.C., six months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The Takahashi family like so many early Japanese American families held Abraham Lincoln in high regard, thus Joyce and her sister were thrilled to stand on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial posing for their father’s camera. A year later, in the spring of 1942, the Takahashi’s were transported to the Tanforan Race Track. At the Tanforan Assembly Center the family was forced to reside in a horse stall and six months later the Takahashi’s were transported to Topaz, in Utah. Joyce’s parents put their medical training to work and spent long hours in the camp hospital during their confinement in Topaz.
The Takahashi’s returned to Berkeley after the war and began to reestablish their lives. Joyce went on to receive a university education and her doctorate and is an emeritus faculty of UC Davis, Chemistry Department. In addition, Joyce volunteers for her church and serves on the Board of Directors of the Japanese American Women Alumnae of UC Berkeley Club of the California Alumni Association.
Note: To listen to a specific clip, move the slider on the video to the designated clip time listed below.
00:00 – Introduction
00:18 – Clip 1
Paying respects to Lincoln in Washington DC, 6 months later Pearl Harbor is bombed and she is angry someone has bombed her country.
02:09 – Clip 2
Getting ready for camp. Mother brought sewing machine to camp
02:56 – Clip 3
Reporting to camp. Going to the mess hall with dishes.
03:52 – Clip 4
Going to Topaz – secret operation.
05:11 – Clip 5
Mother’s family Christmas card. Joyce reads the letter which describes the camp hospital at Topaz.
07:26 – Clip 6
Coming back from camp.
08:49 – Clip 7
Joyce reflects on how she was shielded from problems and concerns.
Video production provided by the Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium – http://www.secctv.org
Primary source images to accompany Joyce Takahashi’s story. Images provided by Joyce Takahashi – Elk Grove Unified School District