Roy H. Matsumoto Interview Segment 51

Family background: grandparents' immigration to Hawaii (ddr-densho-1000-153-1) - 00:05:07
Family background: parents' immigration to the United States in the early 1900s (ddr-densho-1000-153-2) - 00:04:11
Growing up in Laguna, California, having an American nickname (ddr-densho-1000-153-3) - 00:02:36
Learning Japanese as a first language (ddr-densho-1000-153-4) - 00:02:21
Becoming friends with Mexican children while in elementary school (ddr-densho-1000-153-5) - 00:04:27
Growing up on family farm; not experiencing discrimination as a child (ddr-densho-1000-153-6) - 00:03:12
Father's involvement in community activities (ddr-densho-1000-153-7) - 00:03:22
Going to Japan for summer vacation, but remaining there after vacation was over (ddr-densho-1000-153-8) - 00:04:51
First impressions of Japan and meeting grandmother for the first time (ddr-densho-1000-153-9) - 00:04:46
Attending elementary school in Japan, encountering discrimination as an American immigrant (ddr-densho-1000-153-10) - 00:07:03
A serious altercation with a Japanese schoolmate over name-calling (ddr-densho-1000-153-11) - 00:03:26
Description of middle school in Japan, involvement in compulsory military training (ddr-densho-1000-153-12) - 00:04:53
Excelling in English classes in Japan (ddr-densho-1000-153-13) - 00:03:55
Concerns about military conscription in Japan (ddr-densho-1000-153-14) - 00:01:33
Being allowed to attend a prestigious school because of family ties (ddr-densho-1000-153-15) - 00:06:10
Memories of teenage years in Japan: spending time with grandfather, attending church (ddr-densho-1000-153-16) - 00:05:13
Hobbies and activities in Japan (ddr-densho-1000-153-17) - 00:03:04
Pursing a romantic interest in Japan as a teenager (ddr-densho-1000-153-18) - 00:07:11
Returning to the United States at request of mother (ddr-densho-1000-153-19) - 00:04:30
Returning to the U.S. at age sixteen (ddr-densho-1000-153-20) - 00:02:56
Difficulty of attending high school back in the U.S.: having to quickly learn U.S. history (ddr-densho-1000-153-21) - 00:03:46
Grandfather's resourcefulness helps him through difficult economic times (ddr-densho-1000-153-22) - 00:07:08
Witnessing an unfortunate incident while working for a family at a wholesale market (ddr-densho-1000-153-23) - 00:05:56
A typical day while in high school: waking up at 3 o'clock in the morning to start work, attending school, then studying in the evening (ddr-densho-1000-153-24) - 00:04:29
Given a job by a prominent Japanese American family (ddr-densho-1000-153-25) - 00:04:02
Description of high school years (ddr-densho-1000-153-26) - 00:02:16
Discussion of discrimination experienced by Kibei at the hands of some Nisei who had never been to Japan (ddr-densho-1000-153-27) - 00:04:28
Learning about U.S. history (ddr-densho-1000-153-28) - 00:03:15
Taking a job in a produce market to learn the business (ddr-densho-1000-153-29) - 00:06:54
Getting a job as a delivery boy for a grocery store: making deliveries to outlying communities of Los Angeles (ddr-densho-1000-153-30) - 00:10:21
Meeting Japanese families while delivering groceries to outlying communities (ddr-densho-1000-153-31) - 00:03:44
While delivering groceries to Japanese families, being exposed to different dialects from various regions of Japan (ddr-densho-1000-153-32) - 00:04:49
Story of a relative who was "tricked" by the Japanese government into going to Japan and being drafted into the Japanese army (ddr-densho-1000-153-33) - 00:04:37
Reported to the FBI for possessing a short-wave radio before the war, listening to Japanese news reports (ddr-densho-1000-153-34) - 00:06:01
Memories of the bombing of Pearl Harbor: "I thought it was a joke or something" (ddr-densho-1000-153-35) - 00:05:12
Brother was drafted into the U.S. army before December 7, 1941 (ddr-densho-1000-153-36) - 00:02:19
Preparing for mass removal: helping employer's family, continuing to work as delivery boy (ddr-densho-1000-153-37) - 00:03:51
Hearing word of family back in Japan (ddr-densho-1000-153-38) - 00:03:09
Continuing to make grocery deliveries despite restrictions (ddr-densho-1000-153-39) - 00:04:23
Coping with having bank assets frozen after the bombing of Pearl Harbor (ddr-densho-1000-153-40) - 00:05:17
Memories of mass removal: traveling to the Santa Anita Assembly Center, becoming head of the "vegetable department" at Santa Anita (ddr-densho-1000-153-41) - 00:06:26
Feeling angry about conditions in Santa Anita Assembly Center, California (ddr-densho-1000-153-42) - 00:04:56
Jobs in camp (ddr-densho-1000-153-43) - 00:02:26
Keeping busy to pass the time in assembly center, trying not to feel too angry (ddr-densho-1000-153-44) - 00:02:41
Moving to permanent camp in Jerome, Arkansas; working as the storekeeper for the food warehouse (ddr-densho-1000-153-45) - 00:08:24
Feeling discriminated against as a Kibei (ddr-densho-1000-153-46) - 00:03:21
Acting somewhat as an interpreter between Issei, Nisei and Kibei in camp (ddr-densho-1000-153-47) - 00:03:16
Seizing an opportunity to leave camp by volunteering for the army (ddr-densho-1000-153-48) - 00:03:03
Being warned not to volunteer for the military's "spy school," but deciding to go anyway (ddr-densho-1000-153-49) - 00:04:41
Deciding to volunteer for the military (ddr-densho-1000-153-50) - 00:05:32
Being inducted into the Military Intelligence Service (ddr-densho-1000-153-51) - 00:05:25
Description of relationship between Kibei and Nisei at Camp Savage, Minnesota; thoughts on the level of Japanese language education at the language school (ddr-densho-1000-153-52) - 00:07:31
Dynamic between Kibei and Nisei at the MIS language school (ddr-densho-1000-153-53) - 00:03:52
Assigned to tutor junior officers in Japanese language while at Camp Shelby, Mississippi (ddr-densho-1000-153-54) - 00:06:43
Tutoring Caucasian junior officers in Japanese language (ddr-densho-1000-153-55) - 00:06:21
Reuniting with brother, who had been drafted before World War II (ddr-densho-1000-153-56) - 00:02:40
Being one of only fourteen selected for a dangerous mission (ddr-densho-1000-153-57) - 00:02:48
Traveling by ship to an unknown destination overseas (ddr-densho-1000-153-58) - 00:05:01
Traveling overseas by ship along with Caucasian soldiers (ddr-densho-1000-153-59) - 00:04:04
Landing in India, receiving combat training (ddr-densho-1000-153-60) - 00:06:40
Finding out details of mission in the jungles of Burma (ddr-densho-1000-153-61) - 00:07:18
The origin of the nickname "Merrill's Marauders" (ddr-densho-1000-153-62) - 00:01:18
Difficult conditions marching through Burma (ddr-densho-1000-153-63) - 00:05:57
Entering combat zone, assigned to a battalion as a linguist (ddr-densho-1000-153-64) - 00:05:02
Witnessing first casualty, dealing with fear (ddr-densho-1000-153-65) - 00:04:12
Using a telephone to tap into a Japanese army communications wire (ddr-densho-1000-153-66) - 00:06:06
Being able to understand the dialect of an intercepted Japanese communication (ddr-densho-1000-153-67) - 00:03:58
Intercepting a Japanese communication via tapped wire provides critical location information for a U.S. target (ddr-densho-1000-153-68) - 00:08:30
Thoughts on the value of intelligence information (ddr-densho-1000-153-69) - 00:07:41
Description of terrible conditions while battalion was trapped on Nhpum Ga hill for nine days (ddr-densho-1000-153-70) - 00:05:57
The mental strain of being surrounded on Nhpum Ga hill; sent on a mission to secretly try to overhear enemy plans (ddr-densho-1000-153-71) - 00:07:46
Going on a dangerous solo mission to spy on Japanese briefings regarding Nhpum Ga hill (ddr-densho-1000-153-72) - 00:02:59
Meeting fellow soldier at a reunion years later (ddr-densho-1000-153-73) - 00:02:44
Warning battalion of a planned Japanese attack, then shouting military orders in Japanese to confuse the enemy (ddr-densho-1000-153-74) - 00:08:30
Shouting military orders in Japanese to confuse the enemy (ddr-densho-1000-153-75) - 00:02:55
Thoughts on not being recommended for the Medal of Honor for actions on Nhpum Ga hill (ddr-densho-1000-153-76) - 00:05:10
Thoughts on completing the original mission in Burma (ddr-densho-1000-153-77) - 00:05:17
Being awarded the Legion of Merit (ddr-densho-1000-153-78) - 00:10:55
An incident involving a threat of court-martial in New Delhi, India (ddr-densho-1000-153-79) - 00:03:02
Hearing about the atomic bombings in Japan while in China (ddr-densho-1000-153-80) - 00:03:33
Reuniting with a relative while stationed in China, and finding out that brother, also in the military, had survived (ddr-densho-1000-153-81) - 00:09:56
Becoming a military police officer in China (ddr-densho-1000-153-82) - 00:07:31
Taking a side trip to Hiroshima while stationed in Japan (ddr-densho-1000-153-83) - 00:04:25
Reactions to visiting Hiroshima after the atomic bombing (ddr-densho-1000-153-84) - 00:02:48
Reuniting with mother in Hiroshima after the war (ddr-densho-1000-153-85) - 00:02:51
Meeting an old acquaintance from MIS language school leads to a job in Tokyo (ddr-densho-1000-153-86) - 00:05:59
While working undercover in Japan, meeting family of future wife (ddr-densho-1000-153-87) - 00:09:24
Meeting future wife in Japan (ddr-densho-1000-153-88) - 00:08:28
Working undercover in Japan (ddr-densho-1000-153-89) - 00:03:35
Having a daughter in Japan (ddr-densho-1000-153-90) - 00:04:24
Thoughts on induction into the Ranger Hall of Fame (ddr-densho-1000-153-91) - 00:05:50
Reflections on redress, the Japanese American Citizens League, and the resisters of conscience (ddr-densho-1000-153-92) - 00:06:13
Description of two daughters (ddr-densho-1000-153-93) - 00:03:52
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ddr-densho-1000-153-51 (Legacy UID: denshovh-mroy-01-0051)

Being inducted into the Military Intelligence Service

Although Mr. Matsumoto does not identify himself as a Kibei (American-born person of Japanese ancestry sent to Japan for formal education and socialization when young and later returned to the U.S.), some of his life experiences are similar to those who do identify themselves as such.

00:05:25 — Segment 51 of 93

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December 17 & 18, 2003

Densho Visual History Collection


Courtesy of Densho


Roy H. Matsumoto

Roy H. Matsumoto Interview

07:40:41 — 93 segments

December 17 & 18, 2003

Seattle, Washington

Nisei male. Born May 1, 1913, in Laguna, California. Lived in Japan from childhood through teenage years, before returning to the United States during high school. Incarcerated in the Santa Anita Assembly Center, California, and the Jerome concentration camp, Arkansas. Volunteered for the U.S. army in 1942, and was inducted in the Military Intelligence Service. Selected for a dangerous mission in Burma, becoming one of the famed Merrill's Marauders. Provided crucial intelligence information for the U.S. government after tapping into a Japanese army communications wire in Burma. Instrumental in a mission to hold Nhpum Ga hill in Burma, in which he shouted military orders in Japanese to confuse the attacking Japanese soldiers. Awarded the Legion of Merit from the U.S. military, and stationed in China and Japan after the war. Met future wife while working undercover in Japan. Inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame in 1993.

(Although Mr. Matsumoto does not identify himself as a Kibei (American-born person of Japanese ancestry sent to Japan for formal education and socialization when young and later returned to the U.S.), some of his life experiences are similar to those who do identify themselves as such.)

Alice Ito, interviewer; Tom Ikeda, interviewer; Dana Hoshide, videographer


Courtesy of Densho