Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: George Murakami Interview
Narrator: George Murakami
Interviewer: Steve Ozone
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date: October 13, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-mgeorge_4-01-0012

<Begin Segment 12>

SO: So you'd already had some, you'd gone to school before you went in the Air Force for a short time. Once you got out of the Air Force, what happened then?

GM: Well, I did a little... basically, the first couple years of San Jose State were basic courses because I was more, in high school I wasn't taking college prep courses, I was mainly shop and that sort of thing. When I was stationed at Fort Snelling, I decided to take physics and those things at night school.

SO: Where was that?

GM: I think it was called West High School at that time. After I was discharged, I returned to San Jose, I went to San Jose State for almost a year, taking college algebra two and English writing, and that sort of stuff. But then in the fall of 1958 I decided to come back to Minnesota to go to school, not only because of Judy, but that's the only other kind of school... at home I was having a tough time because all my buddies were not in school, and we were going bowling and that sort of stuff, you know, running around, and I couldn't get my studying done. So I decided to come to the University of Minnesota. I wasn't admitted or anything yet. I just picked up my things and drove across the country. But I came back in the fall of 1958 and registered, and paid out of state tuition for the first quarter starting in January. Then after a year I got residency. I was going on the GI Bill, so that was one thing that was good about the Air Force, I guess.

SO: And what was your major?

GM: I majored in mechanical engineering. No, originally I was in industrial engineering which was supposed to have been two years of business and two years of engineering, but then after two years, instead of transferring to the business school, I transferred to the mechanical engineering. Although at that time it was a five year curriculum so I had to go an additional year and they gave a funny diploma that they called Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering rather than Bachelor of Science for mechanical engineering.

SO: So you graduated from college and then you applied for jobs?

GM: Actually, Judy graduated a year before I did. And we got married and I still had almost a year of school to go through yet, I think. After I graduated I went through all this interviewing process and stuff to see where the jobs might be, although in the back of my mind I was looking for a job in one of the high tech companies in Minnesota. But I did get an offer from Lockheed right back in my hometown in Sunnyvale, California, so we debated about it, but decided I had brothers and sisters back home in California, and Judy just had a brother. And so, I did go to work for Control Data here locally and worked there for almost three years. Then I went to work for Honeywell, and I spent almost thirty years there, little over, twenty-nine years and eight months or something like that. So I retired from Honeywell producing residential controls, thermostats, air conditioning controls and that sort of stuff.

SO: Did you, in that time that you were living here, did you experience any racism?

GM: No, I did not experience any directly, but for some reason, a carryover from right after the war type of thing, I kind of didn't like to go out into the country or whatever, you know, because I always had in the back of... the feeling that some of them had brothers or fathers that were killed in the Pacific, or something like that, and still held a grudge and stuff. So I kind of tried to be invisible.

SO: What was the Japanese community like in Minneapolis?

GM: Well, they were pretty active, I thought. They had a Japanese community center that was supplied by the Episcopal Church, and they held a lot of functions there. I don't remember being directly related to like the JACL or the Buddhist Association, although I joined the JACL just being a member, not taking a leading part like an official or on the board and that sort of thing.

SO: But you were part of the credit union.

GM: Yes. Judy's father and her uncle were pretty... I don't know if they originated credit union or not, but they asked me if I wanted to be on the board. I guess they had trouble getting members on it but I did join the board, and I was their secretary for almost thirty years or so, I guess.

SO: Do you know how long the credit union had been around before you joined?

GM: I'm not sure the exact date. 1952 or something like that?

SO: And what year did you join the board?

GM: I joined the board I think about 1964 or something like that.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.