Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Roy H. Matsumoto Interview
Narrator: Roy H. Matsumoto
Interviewers: Alice Ito (primary), Tom Ikeda (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 17 & 18, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-mroy-01-0006

<Begin Segment 6>

AI: So, in fact, your grandfather was leasing land, is that right?

RM: Leasing land, yes.

AI: And what were some of his main crops that he was farming?

RM: Main crop, well, oh, let's see, the just truck farm, so lettuce, onion and cabbage and cauliflowers and celery and, well, all different... tomatoes.

AI: And did you, did you do some work around the farm, or...

RM: No, I didn't. Too small. I went down there, then, like a pick watermelon or something like that -- [laughs] -- and smash and eat with the kids, neighbor, do that, and the tomato, ripe one, and corn... well, didn't think of it but we had a good time when come to think of it.

AI: So you had some fun on the farm?

RM: Yes, some fun on the farm and playing with all the boys and the girls and go down the hay ranch and rolled around in the hay, and go to barn and jump on the haystack and things like that. We had a pretty good time there because people be nice to us and, at the time -- and didn't feel any discrimination or things like that.

AI: And I wanted to ask you about that. When you were in first grade, second grade, third grade, did you feel any prejudice because you were a Japanese American?

RM: No, I didn't. Maybe didn't realize. May have been, but we didn't... the schoolteacher was nice and I think it was... I don't think of anything, just the normal, to me, 'cause everybody treat me nice, so --

AI: Well, and, of course, you were --

RM: -- I wasn't sad any way. But anyway... and my, my uncle was nice to me. He came to Grandfather's place and stayed there until my grandfather retired, went to Japan. Then he came, my uncle came to Los Angeles and became a auto mechanic, A-1 garage there. And he was nice to me. And he always been nice until he died at age of ninety-five.

AI: Yeah, a long life.

RM: So I been very fortunate. People treated me nice.

AI: Well, I wanted to ask you, in the second grade, or third grade, of course, you're still a young child then, but did you have any sense of, that you were an American kid like the other kids in school? You said they were mainly Caucasian and they were probably white American kids. Did you think of yourself as American, as an American, even when you were little?

RM: Well, I, I didn't realize, because I didn't feel any discrimination or anything, just ordinary kid, so we played with Caucasian kids, also Mexican kids. And to me, everybody's the same at the time, yes.

AI: Right.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2003 Densho. All Rights Reserved.