Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Fred Matsumura Interview
Narrator: Fred Matsumura
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda (primary), Beverly Kashino (secondary)
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: July 2, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-mfred-01-0008

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TI: Well, eventually the government called for volunteers for the military. What did you do when that happened?

FM: Well, yeah. They sent some people over to Molokai for recruiting purposes. And we assembled at a big hall. And, well, there were quite a few of us, about our age, at that time, we were about, nineteen, eighteen, nineteen years old. And we went to the meeting, and they explained to us that they gonna form a unit of Japanese Americans, and that they looking for volunteers. So if anybody want to volunteer, sign up. So everybody's sign up; we all sign up, volunteered.

TI: So how, did you have any brothers also sign up, or were you...?

FM: No, they were too young. My two brothers are too young. My older brother, he passed away. He had pneumonia, he died. So I was the only one in our family that was of that particular age.

TI: What was the reaction of your mother and father about you volunteering?

FM: Well, they didn't say too much. They say, "Well, you have to go, so good luck."

TI: What about your siblings, your younger brothers and your sisters, what did they say to you?

FM: Oh, they didn't say too much. But they were later on inducted into Korean War and others, you know. Yeah.

TI: So after you volunteered, were you inducted on Molokai, or did you go to...?

FM: Well, we come under County of Maui, Molokai.

TI: Okay.

FM: So we were inducted -- from Molokai, we went to Maui -- and we inducted in Maui.

TI: Now how often were you off Molokai at this point? Did you travel off Molokai very often?

FM: When I was a kid, you mean?

TI: Yes.

FM: No. Very seldom, 'cause there's only the... by boat. And usually, well, we have nothing to do in Honolulu anyway, unless you have to go to a special doctor or thing. Then we go to Honolulu. But other than that, we just stayed on Molokai.

TI: Okay, so you went from Molokai to Maui. And then from Maui, did you go to Oahu?

FM: Oahu, Uh-huh.

TI: And how was it? Was it, was it -- it must have been pretty exciting for you to go from Molokai to Oahu, with all these other men from all these other islands, coming to the same place?

FM: Yeah, it was, yeah. You see all those, a lot of guys at Schofield barracks. Yeah, we all did, hanging our laundry and stuff. [Laughs]

TI: Did the Molokai boys stay pretty close together and...?

FM: When we first went in, yeah, we were close together. But then we were shipped to different companies. But we still kept in touch. Every now and then, we would visit some of the Molokai group.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.