Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Takashi Matsui Interview I
Narrator: Takashi Matsui
Interviewer: Elmer Good
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: October 29, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-mtakashi-01-0015

<Begin Segment 15>

EG: Now, let's pick up with your being drafted. There are a couple of questions I have. One, there was a prejudice of Japanese Americans and for a time they were not drafted, but you were drafted. How did that come about?

TM: I don't know.

EG: I wonder if it might be that you were, you were a little bit older. And in the original draft lottery, and your number had come up, before internment and the prejudice that came with internment, I think, and then that's when I think they shut down enlistments of Japanese Americans.

TM: I'm not sure, but my recollection is, about, let's say early '42, a lot of our Americans of Japanese descent in uniform were coming back (from the army). And, oh, I heard they were being sent to someplace in, way in the interior someplace. But anyway, because they were coming back, when my friends threw me a farewell party in February of '42, just before I was to be drafted, I said, I'll come back in a couple of weeks," because they were coming back. And so I said, "I don't need the farewell party." But I don't know, they didn't let me go. And then I know one or two that went down to -- now Seattle Center -- armory and volunteered for service and they weren't taken. They were told to, "Get the hell out of here."

EG: That was my understanding, yeah.

TM: So they got disgusted and then one in particular volunteered for navy and he was turned down, of course, and all that. I don't know how that happened. But about the time I was staying at Fort Lewis, I don't think anybody knew anything about evacuation.

EG: Not at that time.

TM: I think it was kept very secret. And I don't know just what was the thinking of the authority, but I believe they were figuring, "Well, we are going to have to evacuate anyway, why send this man home because he's going to evacuate," or something. I don't know. I wasn't the only one at Fort Lewis. There were a couple of dozen of us.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.