Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Jim Matsuoka Interview
Narrator: Jim Matsuoka
Interviewer: Martha Nakagawa
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: May 24, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-mjim-01-0010

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MN: You got kicked out of your block.

JM: Got kicked out of my block.

MN: How did that happen?

JM: Well, we used to love to, when it was dark, 'cause we were still running around there, and the older people would go for a walk, we'd pick up these apples and rocks and throw it at 'em. We wouldn't try to hit them, we'd zing it by them, you know, and we'd be hiding in the bushes somewhere. They'd nervously look around and wonder who... we got our kicks doing that. Well, one time I threw it at the wrong person, it was our, sort of like our little club leader's aunt. And they said, "Who did that?" and it was me. And they said, "Out." So I could tell because no one looked at me, or the next day no one looked at me or talked to me. So, like, "Don't come here," you know. "You're not wanted in Block 11. Go somewhere else." I took off and I wound up way over there on the other side of the camp, which is like Block 36. And I used to roam around there and walk through the pear orchards and what have you. And interestingly enough, I saw the Children's Village, and I always wondered what that was. I said, oh, all these kids are living in this compound. Of course, that turned out to be the orphans that they took out of the Shonien Inn and other orphanages throughout California. And I think, I hooked onto a baseball, bunch of kids playing baseball at the time, and I think one of them was Bob Nakamura. You know Bob.

MN: The filmmaker.

JM: The filmmaker, yeah. And he remembers playing baseball every afternoon. I think, I think I was one of them playing in there. Of course, you know, my banishment lasted about two weeks. After that, I think our little club leader spoke to me, and I knew right then and there that, oh, it was, my banishment is over. So we used to all sit in front of his, where he lived, so now I could go over there and (return), find my place back on the lawn where I used to sit. [Laughs] And, of course, I had to be back on the line at one o'clock because the battle would begin. Things like that.

MN: Now, you said you ended up at Block 36. Is there, did you have relatives there?

JM: No. That was just the other side of the camp.

MN: And you just slept with strangers?

JM: No, no, no, I would come home at night. I would wait 'til it was dark. Otherwise, I could get beat up. 'Cause I was banished. I didn't want to be back there, and next thing, they'd be throwing rocks at me.

MN: So there was all these unwritten codes.

JM: Yeah. All these things, little things that you could do, you can't do.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.