Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Tom Matsuoka Interview
Narrator: Tom Matsuoka
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Ridgefield, Washington
Date: May 7, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-mtom-01

<Begin Segment 1>

AI: Okay, well, today is May 7, 1998, and we're here at the home of Mr. Tom Takeo Matsuoka. My name is Alice Ito from the Densho Project. Our videographer is Matt Emery and also present are Mr. Matsuoka's daughter, Rae Takekawa, and family friend Toshio Ito. And Mr. Matsuoka, I just wanted to ask you questions very much like our last visit. If you could just start off with some of your personal history way back beginning with your parents and what your father's name was and mother's name and where they were from in Japan.

TM: You want know -- start off my father's name and mother's name?

AI: Yes.

TM: Okay. My father's name is Kanju Matsuoka and mother's name is Tori Hayakawa, that's maiden name.

AI: And where were they from in Japan?

TM: Where from? Kumamoto-ken, Kyushu.

AI: And last time you were telling me a little bit about what their families did in Japan, their farming.

TM: Oh, came to, from Japan?

AI: In Japan, what kind of farming did they do?

TM: In Japan? Well, my home, much as I know, is all the time is a farmer. In Japan they grow rice. That's the main crop. Well, far as that goes is rice field is irrigated farm, and dry farm they grow some kind of millet and beans and grain. And some farmer, they use silkworm. That is not the main business, but that's sort of a side business. That's why in the dry farm, there's lots of acreage of those mulberry, you know, that kuwa. That's for the silkworm feed. Some people started tobacco, too, but the tobacco and silkworm don't go together because... I don't know what, what in the tobacco, but anyway, if you tried the silkworm in the, dry the tobacco, all those silkworm die. So most of the people, they quit that tobacco business.

AI: I see.

TM: And much, much as I know nowadays, I think the farming is a little bit different, but, but when I was a kid that's how it was.

AI: Well, now can you tell me about how your father decided to come to...

TM: Well, my dad, he want to come to Hawaii so much. And because my grandpa's farm was a pretty big farm. And he was well-to-do and there were just two boys: my father, and he had older brother. Well, when my father was late teenage, he was drafted in the army. Well, that time in Japan, they took the Taiwan from China because Japan beat China. So China paid off to Taiwan, but Taiwan was a really jungle island, see. And the government of Japan, they have to clean up the, all the Taiwan island. And in order to do that they thought, take Southern Japan Army, maybe through to the Taiwan because both is a hot country. When my dad was drafted and went to the army, well, I guess they trained in the hot sun all day long. He had the sunstroke. They discharged him. He discharged and came to the farm again and he thought, "Maybe I should do something else besides the farming." Then meantime there is lot of sugar field labor they are recruiting from Hawaii. So he, so that is the one.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

AI: He heard about the recruiting?

TM: Yeah, because that's big wages because one dollar day, one dollar day pay. That's pretty big wages. I stay home and my grandpa is hired one girl, one man, and do the farm. And he didn't make so much, so much money, but he thought that, "If I make one dollar a day, maybe three years make pretty good, pretty good money." So he went recruiting office and tried to put a application in. Well, they said, "No more because it's all filled up, but the only thing, you still want to go is a married man." So he really stuck. "I'll come home," and I guess told to Dad, "Only way I can go to Hawaii is I have to have a wife." "Well, you can't find a wife in overnight." I guess, I don't know how they did talk, but finally they decided is marry to my mother and take her. Well, but my mother, that was a cousin.

AI: One of your father's cousins?

TM: Yeah. But even cousins, they can't, no choice because they are the only way if you want still, want come to Hawaii. Well, then they married. They get permission to get into that recruiter. That's what started came to the Hawaii.

AI: And that's how he got to Hawaii.

TM: Yeah. One is a company pay his fare. You have to stay so many years in that sugar company in Hawaii. But if you pay your fare, then you don't have to stay too long in the sugar company. You be free. So I guess he paid the fare and then came to sugar company. According to the, what I heard, he don't stay too long, too long in sugar company.

AI: And then when did you... when were you born?

TM: Well, you know --

AI: And when did your mother... when did your mother go to Hawaii?

TM: Mother went together to Dad. And it, they both went to the Spreckelsville, Maui. That's where the cane sugar farm is.

AI: Spreckelsburg, Maui? [Ed. note: Interviewer misunderstood the name of the town.]

TM: Yeah, and they have a record that. Well, but after when I was a kid, from my grandpa and grandma, and after came to this country, I hear from my dad. I think they were in Honolulu.

AI: When you were born?

TM: Yeah. And he start to work at a Sam Damon's. Anyway, big, big place in Hawaii. It's a Hawaiian, Hawaiian owner. And Dad was first was working, but little bit work. And pretty soon they rent a small place and tried to -- it was a farm, you know. And they said real small place, but it's one part is another Japanese, my Dad; and another one was a Chinaman was next, I think. And grow the all kind of vegetable. Then Dad said, "Oh, I used to peddle -- before, in the morning, is the harvest those vegetable." Then he peddle around the Japanese house in town in Honolulu. That's what he said that he was doing there.

AI: When you were born?

TM: Yeah.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

TM: Well, then according to... my dad's grandpa or grandma's story, I born in the day. Well, then pretty soon my mother is get sick. That is in the Japanese, they say "rokumaku" and, that's pleurisy, I think. The water back the lung, backs up.

AI: Pleurisy.

TM: Yeah. And nowadays that's nothing to cure. They pumped out all that water, but those day they don't know about those things. And another thing is 1903, why, there aren't many doctor. So they, my dad, mother, thought the best way maybe go back to Japan and try to go to the doctor in Japan. So that's why is Mother said probably, probably I go back to Japan then.

AI: So you were born in 1903? And then...

TM: So I -- my father and mother must have came 1902 in Hawaii, then I born in August 1st, 1903. Then I think Mother is get sick in the following year. Maybe 1905 Mother took me to Japan. I don't know how I -- too many times I heard from Grandpa or Grandma. Anyway, it was springtime. And funny, I remember that, you know. We get Mother's side, Mother's side house. That's where we, we end up. [Ed. note: They lived in his mother's family home.] And those day in Japan, they never had a milk cow. And Mother and myself too have to have milk. So I remember my grandpa used to buy lots of condensed milk or sweet one. He used to, he used to buy lots of milk. And oh, gee. Empty can just pile up outside the little tree. And used to pile up next to those tree. Gee, I remember it's a big pile of those condensed milk can. [Laughs]

Well, anyway, then another thing I remember. My great -- no. Yeah, great-grandpa, it's Mother's grandpa. My mother's grandpa used to, used to take me to shrine in village. Summertime every day he used to take me out to that shrine. Yeah. I must have grown up at Mother's side and right after, went back to Japan and quite well, I think. Then Mother died the same year in September. Then after that sure was funny. Sometime I am in Father's side house and sometime I am in Mother's side house, back and forth all time. Then come to around school age, I know I stayed at the father's side house all time because my cousin is growing up and I can boss him around, this cousin. I'm the older one and younger one is younger than me so I can boss him around. Anyway, I stayed the father's side. Now I am... then after that, I grown up at father's side.

AI: Did you do much of the farm work out there when you were growing up?

TM: Farm work, yes, I used to. Yeah, I used to. When you comes around twelve years old, after school you go out there and help on the farm work. I done most thing whatever other, other boys do.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

TM: Well, I still remember those day in the village. There was two grade school and one is north side and one is south side or something like that. And my grandpa was school board. And that time they want one, one grade school instead of two. So they made one grade school for that village, and I was the first to, first, first grade in that new school. I remember that one. [Smiles] And that's quite a way to walk. When I go back now and look that road I used to walk when go to the grade school, that, that sure was quite a memory. [Smiles] Yeah. And I graduated sixth grade to this new grade school. Then after that they -- you have to go to junior high, but junior high you have to pay the tuition. When comes now, it's pretty cheap. But 10 cents, I think 10 cents a month or 50 cents a month. But you be surprised. Lots and lots of people can't afford to pay that. And from my village only two was going. So...

AI: Just you and one other person?

TM: Yeah. Another boy and myself was going to this junior high. All rest of them, they stay home and work. So around that age, why, most of the kids, even you going to the junior high, after school or Sunday you have to help the farm, farm work.

AI: When you were growing up in elementary school and junior high, did you know you were American? Did you have any idea you were an American citizen?

TM: No, no. No. I never thought. I never remember, I thought, "I am born in Hawaii." I never thought about it when I was a kid. I thought I am the same as other boys and other girls. Well, anyway, then I finished the junior high. Then trouble come because in Japan, those days, school system is that you have to choose what kind of college you go, if you are going to college. It's all different college. And if you want businessman is that school and if you want to be in some kind of trading, kogyo gakko it's, you know, carpenter or any kind of those training. But what I want to be is a school teacher. And school teacher was one year after you graduate junior high is a little bit too young to put the application into the normal school, you know, school teachers' school. Because that's a four-year college. And if you started around fifteen, you graduated too early. What those day in Japan you have to be twenty-one years old to start school teacher. So one year why, everybody want to go to this school teachers' school. Why, go to the -- some they call it juku, you know, in, in-between school. I thought that's where I go. Well, when I talked to the grandpa and, "Well, that's all right, too, but I want you be the businessman. So I want you, I want you go to the business school." Oh, gee. And that time is my dad, he don't like to, no send money or nothing, but all of a sudden, he wrote me letter and he wrote, "You graduated from junior high. You put application in to the army school. If you don't pass army school, probably you better come to America." At that time I said, "Gee, I'm Amer-, oh, I'm bred in America, you know." [Laughs] Well, oh, Grandpa said, "All right. Too damn much responsibility. So that's have your future. You have to decide. But what you going to do there? You go military school?" I said, "No. I'm not going, I'm not going to the military school." "Well, then only way that you have to go to America, maybe see and what look like." So either way, there is one year is I have to go to this between school because I can't go into the school teachers' school yet, one year. So, okay. Then I go to America and see what it look like. Grandpa said, "I think that's the best way, but if you don't like it, come right back. Yeah. I going to send the money so you come right back." That's what Grandpa said. Well, that's right. Finally I made up my mind. I go to America.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

AI: Well, so in the meantime...

TM: And at that time... oh, you mean...

AI: Well, what was your father doing in the meantime?

TM: That time father started working in the Barneston sawmill.

AI: He had left Hawaii, long time ago, and...

TM: Yeah. Well... and now have to go back to my father's. And Father is, after me and Mother went back to Japan, he heard from somebody, big recruit from mainland and work in the some railroad, some in fishing cannery in Alaska. That's big money. Nothing like a dollar a day. That's big money. I guess Dad thought, "Maybe I better go to the mainland." So he quit that small farm. Then he went that recruit person to come to this country. And what he went is a railroad group. Well, I think a little trouble on the boat. I don't know what the boat. Anyway, I think around 400 people or so in the boat and the boat can't leave the Hawaii. I don't know, some, some trouble was there. Well, finally, long time is hung up in dock and finally sailed. And boat is came to Victoria or Vancouver. I think it was Victoria, B.C. and then change boat. Then this boat came to Tacoma. Then he thought maybe get off here, but no. It's Tacoma, one night then come back to Seattle and start unloading, unloading in Seattle. And that is Great Northern Railroad was just pulling in and so they need lots of labor. I guess, well, we came to the place where they are looking for. This is America. And I guess the, get off from boat and some people they really rush, rush, rush going to the train. And my dad is, "Oh well, long as we came here, you don't have to rush. They pick up." He said he was very much of the last, last bunch to get on the train. Well, then train then they start and pretty soon just stop and they cut bottom car off then the train go. Well, that's how it is. That's why the guy from get on the train late, they don't go too far. He said -- I'm thinking now he said must have been around University of Washington someplace.

AI: Where he got off.

TM: Yeah, got off there. Get on rush, rush in, and right on the first part, they went far as Montana.

AI: All the way to Montana?

TM: Yeah. "That time I was pretty smart to get on the last so I didn't have to go to Montana." [Laughs] I think he work railroad. I don't know how many years, one year or so. I think. One place to another, change him around. Then I think you start working, they talk, and you get friend. Then friend get some news then they usually change job when you are young. I guess work in the sawmill here and there. Then around 1907 or so he work for Mr. Hisajima. He was Kumamoto-ken, too. And he said, "I have a farm in Vashon Island. How about you work for me?" So I guess Dad went to the Vashon Island and worked for him. "By gosh, I gonna start a farm myself." He start strawberry farm and he rented a five acre or so land and then start strawberry, strawberry farm. Well, strawberry, the main, real crop, start about three years after. Second year, a little bit you get crop. And third year, finally you start very good crop. Well, just about crop start to come, the Depression hit that time. Pretty bad one, too. President was Mr. Taft. He was 1908, I think, he came in. So in 1910 really was bad and they can't even sell the strawberry at Bellevue. All over, strawberry farmer is everyone broke that time. So my father broke. Then moved to -- oh, no, no, no, no. He start farm then he found out how hard is farming is, single man. Single man, how hard it is. So he thought he have to find a wife. Well, so those days, just around that time, lots of those shashin kekkon. And so my dad said, "I like to have some wife and help my farm." Meantime, one lady was this country before, and she went back around that time, I think, to Japan and ask him to want -- I mean, her, ask her to find the woman. "I like to get married." So she, she found my stepmother. That lady, "shashin kekkon is all right", but just Mrs. Matsumoto is real nakadachi, you know. She is the one that said us. [Ed. note: "nakadachi" indicates that Mrs. Matsumoto was "in the middle", assisting with the matchmaking.] Another thing is my stepmother's dad, he was one time in California so he understand what America look like. I guess he said that's all right. That's right. She came to this country and joined my dad. That's around 1911, I think. Then that Depression and strawberry farms all broke. You know, those day small island, Vashon there was about one hundred Japanese were there farming. That's what my dad said.

AI: That's quite a few.

TM: Yeah, quite a few. So my dad went to Barneston to work in the sawmill.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

TM: Well, it's 1919. Anyway, is myself decided go to the America and see what look like. So start out. I think that's be all right. I start out. First I went to Kobe. Everything, everything all right. And ready and, by gosh, I get sick, really get sick and so I couldn't get on that boat. Well, so I have to go back to Kumamoto again. Oh, gee. My grandpa really disgusted, but I can't help it. So I wait until about six months more and my grandpa said, "This time we change. We don't go to Kobe. We go to Nagasaki and we get on from Nagasaki." So I came from Nagasaki and finally I passed everything at Nagasaki and so get on the boat in Nagasaki. And that was around, I think, first of February, if I don't make a mistake. And this Osaka shousen boat. Even before leave the Japan, stop all over. They stop Kobe little bit, Yokohama little bit. Then come out in ocean. And man, man, it was really rough weather. But good thing I didn't get seasick. Well, then came to the Seattle. That was, I think, 25th I think it was.

AI: A long trip.

TM: Long. That sure was a long boat ride I remember. It was sure funny. There was one man get on the boat from Nagasaki, and then he came out to the deck. "Now that we will get off and you look around and you see father over here." So I look. I see my two brother. That is, I can, right away I notice that was James and John. So I told him, "That is my brother right there." He sure laugh, you know. Then we went immigration office. I passed real fast. Other people took long time, but anyway I passed right away. And what the trouble was, I come off boat in Japanese clothes. I didn't have a suit on. My dad said, "Well, that is the first thing we have to do is go to the, buy the suit." I remember I bought first suit at below the Smith Building. That was, those days, highest, tallest, building in Seattle. And I don't know why he went, but anyway I bought the suit right there. And well, meantime the dad was in Barneston Sawmill. So... well, I think we stay a couple days. That's what the idea was. Well, that night we went to the hotel. I think it was Olympus Hotel. That's Maynard Avenue. That's front of the Atlas Theater. That's what used to call. I don't know what call now, but anyway the front Atlas Theater, yeah. And James get sick. Dad said, "Well, we have to go back." Then my brother had asthma, James. When he was a kid, he had bad asthma so we let's go home. "Let's go home," my dad said. The next day we went home.

AI: How did you go from Seattle to Barneston?

TM: Barneston, yeah.

AI: Did you go by train?

TM: Train, yeah. Come to think of it now, that train go Maple Valley and Barneston and go around to Snoqualmie, and I think it go around to Everett. I'm pretty sure that was the route. Yeah. And nowadays, you look from map, pretty close from Seattle, but those day I thought it was a long way to the mountain. Anyway, after you pass Maple Valley -- gee, that was a mountain. That's what I thought. Well, and then I went to Barneston.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

TM: Well, Dad said, "If you want to go to the school, maybe have to go to Seattle." Either way, not myself. There was a few, few more, three or four I think, it was around my age was in Barneston, too, from yobiyose. Dads called those boys to this country and those boys was working, too, in the sawmill.

AI: And you were about fifteen?

TM: Fifteen and six months, that's what that was. Well, that was 1919. And either way, go to Seattle for school or like other boys you went to work little bit over here. That's all right, too. Maybe you can find a job, too. Also, I said, "Oh, well. If other boys is working, why, I can stay and work, too." So couple days I rest, and then I went with Dad to the sawmill office and they give me job. This job was pushing snow. There were lot of snow. Every night the snow. It's in the mountains so they sure pile up. Well, in the sawmill they have to use one small tractor. I think it was two or one. They had a mule. Not a horse, it's a mule. They pull around those cart the lumber is on and this mule is pull 'em around. And that is a wooden deck. You have shovel all the snow off when the mule is come. That's what my job was to push the snow off. Yeah. Well, you clean up the snow and not, not morning is kind of busy, but afternoon you don't have to work too hard, but the next morning snow again. Oh, gee. I did that quite a few days I remember. [Smiles]

AI: And when you were first there, you didn't know any English.

TM: Huh?

AI: You didn't know any English when you first started.

TM: No, I couldn't. Nothing. Well, then this -- how many? Must have about around four or so. Anyway, young fella they said to go to night school. Dad said, "Maybe you better go to night school, too, then, then you learn a little bit English." I went to night school. Well, this was a real young teacher and that's in the stick, you know, and I don't know, father, her father used to bring her. Then she teach 'bout couple hours and then go home. Then I don't know how many months I went to that night school, but they don't much Caucasian. And I think place has no more kids to come to the daytime school. The school is closed. So everything, school business is all done that time at Barneston. And meantime, is my father have to start thinking about my younger brothers, this a stepbrother, because they start school, and no school. [Ed. note: His brothers are half brothers.]

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

AI: So you were -- I was going to ask you about what the living condition was like there at Barneston.

TM: In the sawmill, well, it's okay. Like my dad have a family, pretty good. Living condition is all right. But I think it was eight, eight hour, work eight hour day. I think eight hour day, but noontime, I don't remember the half an hour or one hour. And in Barneston, it's a Japanese camp at top of the hill. You have to rush, climb that hill to go in to the camp and eat, and then you have to go down to start work. Single men, and they had a boarding house.

AI: Is that where you stayed, at the boarding house?

TM: Yeah. I stayed with the father and mother. I had, Dad, Dad already built a small house, one-room house for me and I stayed there. And well, that's the one that I told before that my brother John, that girl is meet. That's family that was next door. They had a bathroom, bath place, you know. It's called furoya. Anyway, that Mrs. Ikata was making furo every day. Yeah. Oh, so the living condition was not so bad.

AI: Are these some pictures of... does this look like the area you lived? [Shows photographs of the Japanese camp at Barneston]

TM: Yeah. I think Ikata-san was here. And I don't know about this house, but anyway right next, that's where my dad's house was. And one end was lean or something and then another single man was there, Mr. Maeda, and he had boy, too, around my age.

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

<Begin Segment 9>

AI: Now, when you were working there, is that when you first found out about baseball? How did you first get interested in baseball?

TM: Oh, baseball? Well now, my dad saw it at kids' school and everything. "Maybe we have to move out from Barneston," about one year after I came. "And if go back to Japan, whole family, I need quite a little expense, too." So Dad said, "Well, I don't know what's best to do is visit Japan or start something go out from sawmill." I guess he must have decided to start a farm. That's what he likes. That's why he moved to O'Brien where start farming. Well, it was pretty good when father was started with the farm, was pretty good because end of the first world war and all the farmer and pig farm, everything, was making pretty good. The father started. Well, by gosh, I think 1920 I'm pretty sure he started. President changed again and the war is over and that was hard time on the farming again. [Laughs] But for myself, anyway, springtime when planting season come, Dad want help, too. I quit Barneston and I went to help my dad in planting cabbage, and he had 10 acre cabbage and that's all plant by the hand. Take a long time to plant that 10 acre cabbage. Anyway, and he had a contract so Libby, Libby Canning Company, and they had canning company in Kent. Well, we finished the planting cabbage then nothing to do.

Well, then I go back to work in the, work in the sawmill again. So I went. Yeah. I went out to Seattle and look the employment office. There was one in Main Street those days. You go there, all kind of work they have in show window. And there was one looking for the man for the sawmill. That's a Port Angeles. I said, "Okay, I go Port Angeles." So I went to the Port Angeles sawmill. Then that time I didn't stay too long. Anyway, I come back again. Then I don't know how -- oh, yeah. Then I help the dad again next year. Next year is Dad was moved to the different place, different farm. And I help little bit in the spring. Then I went out. That's right. I went back to the sawmill again. That's the same Port Angeles, same place I was. And I work there and, by gosh, and springtime come. There is a bunch of Japanese boys. They want to play baseball. That's what I started, baseball over there because they are the one -- he was in some university in Japan and ballplayer and he was a real good catcher and he was a ballplayer. And by started, quite a few ballplayer. Yeah. I learned how to play the ball, by that time at Port Angeles sawmill. Then I, then I have to come out to Seattle again. I quit. I don't know why I quit there. Maybe I quit because my friend quit, that's Mr. Nakashima, was working together. He shared one room, one room, just Port Angeles big bunkhouse, long, and top part is all the bed sleeping quarter and bottom is kitchen and play room and all kind of room was in. But, anyway, I remember it's Mr. Nakashima want to quit and like to go out to the Seattle. I think that's why I quit Port Angeles and I come out to Seattle, I guess. Well, by gosh. Come to Seattle. Lots of haiseki, you know. Then hard to find job again.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

AI: When did you first -- you know, by then you were in, you had been here... by that time you were in the U.S. a couple of years, but when did you first realize about the haiseki? When did you first find out about that?

TM: What now?

AI: When did you first experience haiseki?

TM: First I went?

AI: Yeah, first time you had.

TM: Well, anyway, first it was pretty good, though. Never feared haiseki or anything.

AI: At first.

TM: No. But around 1922, I think that's when me and Nakashima-san come out. Gee, no job. We quit Port Angeles and come out. Well, he said his friend is doing market in Pike Market. So Nakashima-san said, "I'm going to rent some permit from some farmer and go to start in the market." Well, in order to get that permit, you have to be with the farmer's recommendation. I think he must get permission from Bryn Mawr someplace. I think town must be gone, place called Bryn Mawr. That's just this side of Renton.

AI: Bryn Mawr?

TM: Bryn Mawr, that's what it was. You go Rainier Avenue to the Renton and just before you hit Renton, there is a small place and that's where Mrs. Shiraishi was there. And one called Yokote, he was there, too -- and both Kumamoto-ken -- Yokote. I think Mr. Nakashima must get the permit from there then he started. So I said, "Oh, that case, why I can go to the market, too, because I can get the permit from my dad." I took permit from Dad, then I went to market. Then him and me both started tachinbo. That's what we used to call. Start in the market, but you should see those day. Holy smoke, lots of people in the Pike Place. About six feet table, that is your table. Every day draw the number and some, some table was really expensive because they have a big business. Those table usually is a corner table, the street will come, and Pike Place is one road and that corner market. Of course, you can sell a lot of stuff in a six feet table. But, anyway, I, off and on I worked in that market quite a bit. Then the meantime you have a chance to play ball, too, in the summertime. [Laughs]

Well, then I don't know how I arrange it, but I work afternoon in market and I was going YMCA school before noon. I don't know how I arrange that one. Anyway, I was work in the market. I know afternoon was I was working in the market, and before noon I was going to YMCA school. I remember school there was no low grade. Start from seventh, seventh and eighth or something like that I think start. Anyway, half day I went to school and half day I was working in the, in the market. Well, then again... let me see. Yeah. Yeah.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

TM: Another my friend, I think, found a job and we go to the sawmill. "We find a job," he said. That's Joey Tanaka and he, "Where this place you found a job?" He said, "Nagrom." And oh, we go to Nagrom and work for another sawmill again. So I quit again. I quit the market and YMCA school again. I quit those, then I went with Nagrom with another friend. Then, by gosh, over there same thing. They formed a baseball team and play baseball in the sawmill. And I know we went play baseball in the Selleck, too.

AI: What position did you usually play?

TM: Baseball? Me? I was a catcher and fairly good. I think I was a fairly good player when I think about it now. Well, anyway, we stayed about one year, then Ban Okada, you know him, and he wrote me recruiting ball player from National, so if you want to come, there is a job in the National.

AI: At National Sawmill.

TM: Yeah. And that's another lumber camp, pretty close to Mount Rainier, right in the foothill. So we quit Nagrom, then we went to the National and, by gosh, there that was an easy job.

AI: What was your job?

TM: [Laughs] What my job in the National, first they give me is a big timber come, then you just take a big hook, then just hookup. [Illustrates with his glasses, moving the two earpieces like a pincer] That's it. Then you just put the hook up then a crane take the big timber and they carry them away. Sometime two or three hours, was nothing to do, just to sit down because that big timber don't come. So timber come, why, I go down there and hook up. That's all. That was an easy job. Then summertime come we played ball, and we played the Eatonville sawmill team. Eatonville sawmill, they had a baseball team, too. Oh, back and forth we played quite a few times with the Eatonville team. And, oh, I don't know what his name was. Anyway, he was a book man in Eatonville. They, they don't like lose a game from National so they recruit good player from Seattle, and lots of good player came to Seattle. And National was one or two came from Seattle, they recruit from Seattle, too. One was Yamaoka, Oto Yamaoka. He came. He, I think became Hollywood actor or something afterward. Anyway, after recruit the good player from Eatonville and just about all one good, good team in the Seattle. We couldn't beat now. We used to win Eatonville all the time, but we don't, we couldn't win. And about next year or so, finally we pull out National because no more because Eatonville get too strong. Well...

AI: And all the players, all the players were Japanese, all-Japanese teams?

TM: Huh?

AI: The teams were all Japanese players?

TM: Team?

AI: All Nihonjin?

RT: Minna Nihonjin? The baseball, were they all Japanese?

TM: Oh, all Japanese, all Japanese team, yeah. They are real good player, too, in Seattle those days, and lots of them went to Selleck same way, easy job and play ball because summer vacation time there's a lots of boys. Yeah.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

TM: So we quit in the National so came to the Seattle. And, by gosh, I was pretty lucky. When I came to Seattle, I found a job right away at Seattle Parlor Furniture Factory and that's where I had a job.

AI: What was your job there at the furniture factory?

TM: Factory? Well, this factory is a place is pretty close to Fort Lawton and you have to cross, and below the Queen Anne Hill, cross Interbay car, car factory or something there. This side of Ballard. You have to cross the bridge over there in Interbay, I think. Well, this factory is owned, owned by Mr. Maeda and one Mr. Kanno. And Mr. Hayase must have been a little bit stuck in that company, too. But, anyway, very cheap furniture we used to make. Not, not expensive furniture, chiffoniere, dressing table, breakfast table, those kind of stuff. Oh, yeah, some bed and the chair. Chair, I think we just set up, I think. We just -- I'm pretty sure they bring knock down stuff and we set up those chair. I think that's what it was, but others we have to start from scratch. And Mr. Maeda goes to buy the lumber and sawmill brings the lumber. Then they had dry room and dryer, and they put them into the dryer and dried up those lumber and then start to make furniture again. Yeah. Piece by piece, had to glue together. Some is 1 x 4, some is 1 x 6, and odds and end. Just what Mr. Maeda buy those. And if you, for the furniture top or table top, those is you have to glue together and go through a planer and plane off both side. Then big sander, then sand off both sides. Then measure, cut, and that's, must be that's pretty good, pretty good business, I think, because Mr. Maeda, originally he start from Jackson Furniture then Jackson Furniture is Mr. Hidaka and Mr. Miyamoto, I think it was, was together running and Mr. Maeda was work for these people and Mr. Maeda's job was repair, I think. I guess he had idea that, well, if he did repair, might as well start a small factory. So he start this furniture factory. At time I was working, was quite a few furniture a day, quite a few people was working there. And one day...

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

TM: Yeah. Anyway, one year -- I think after start working in the furniture factory, I think it was one year later, I'm pretty sure, that I was a glueman. I usually glue together all those lumber to make one piece. Then take it to the planer and after dried up, then plane it down. Then make sander and sand it off and smooth them up, but that much was the first step of my work. You know, for a glue room, summertime was really hot. No overshirts, just undershirts I was working. And the window is right there and I looking in the window one time and oh, there is a Japanese girl go by. I thought, gee, that's rare. How in the world is Japanese woman going to work? Then I found out that Mrs. Maeda get pregnant and she, she was making lunch for few people. I don't know why. Most of the people used to bring a lunch, but must have been she was making just bachelor, I think. For married people bring their lunch and bachelor, bachelor people, I think, she used to make a lunch. I think that's the way it was. And she get the pregnant and hard work for making lunch so she is hired is a helper and that was Kaz. And that's where I met her.

That was early summer anyway. I know she came, she came that time around first part of July or something. Then I acquainted her. It was same thing, I have to play ball all the time. Oh, gee, I play ball all time. Well, then we, that time she was a junior, junior in high school. Then we go together. Then she graduated, next spring she graduated. Then she went to work pick strawberry after she graduate high school, and she want look job and, by gosh, she found a job right away. I don't know if she finished picking the berry or not. That what she found a job is Okuda Shibagaki export/import in Seattle, and that's where she start work.

Well, I was still working at the furniture factory and she was pretty good because across the road there was a restaurant Yagi. You know that Yagi? Anyway, is a Yagi family had a restaurant and noontime pretty busy for lunchtime. So Kaz work for Okuda Shibagaki and lunchtime come, she go out there and help that restaurant. So she get the free meal. She was pretty good. I don't know where she stayed that time. At Mr. and Mrs. Shibagaki's house or that restaurant owner's house. Anyway, one or another she stayed there. I, I stayed at... what their name was? Anyway, Twelfth Avenue and Main Street on the corner. Oh, you know. Ikeda -- no. Oh, he married to Mrs. Shigaya, Mabel. What was now? What their name was? Anyway, that house I had rented one room and Kaz must have stayed either Yagis family or someplace anyway, she stayed there. Well, then times go by and that fall come. Of course, she want go to college, I guess. I don't know. But she didn't say, but she just keep working and finally we talk about maybe we get married. So that's November finally we get married. We married.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

AI: What year was that?

TM: We married... no. That's funny, you know. I told my dad, "I think I gonna get married." What he said, "You have enough money, enough money to get married?" "Oh, I think I can manage some way." And my uncle was in Seattle, uncle and aunt was in Seattle, too. They agreed, too. It's alright if I want to get married. I think it's alright. Well, then my dad is, "All right you get married, but you have to have a reception." That's what my dad said, "You have to have a reception." Because Dad, you know, his friend maybe invited him already. So I guess, "When my kids get married, why, I have to invite, too, so you have to have a reception." No, that's all right. "Okay," I said. She doesn't mind and she said that she, wedding, would like to have a small wedding. That's all right. Okay. Well, then let's, we get just married in the courthouse. So we married at the courthouse and Mr. -- Baptist Church -- Mr. Okazaki, yeah. He is the one that came. And my side was my uncle or aunt that came and Kaz' side, Tok and mother. I think that's what was came. Then couple friend came. Kaz' real good friend. There is a picture there. Kimi-chan, that's what we used to call. She came and Kimi-chan's boyfriend and he came. I guess that was all that was in the courthouse. Then we get married. Then in those day is dry. See, my dad, he wants big party. He said, "I gonna make the drink." So he made home brew, whole bunch of them. I think it was six gallon or something he bring. And we had a big party at the Gyoko-ken, and Gyoko-ken were pretty narrow at that time. Room was no big, one room, had partition. Two, three of them at Gyoko-ken. When comes to the party, sure funny. One part is man's party and one part is woman's room. Oh, but Mrs. Goshi, she want to sit in the man's party because she like enjoying the party. Anyway, we had a pretty good party, and those dry, everybody is really enjoyed for that drink. [Smiles] Yeah. Well, then time go by.

AI: Oh, excuse me. What year was that that you got married?

TM: Huh?

AI: What year was that, that you got married?

TM: When I got married? That's 1926. 1926, November. I think, November 13 or something. Anyway, my dad, that's, didn't like too much. My dad sure didn't liked 13 and Friday.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

TM: Anyway, so I get married and we stayed at apartment I rented. That's where we stayed. And back side was... anyway, couple was in and front side was couple and a little girl was in there. That's house upstair and bottom part, whole family was in the bottom part. Well, then when we start marriage life. Those days it was pretty hard. Japanese people is pretty hard because haiseki, you know, everything you do is haiseki and pretty hard times those days. So I, when we married, it was what she make is give to the mother, and we live on my wages. That's the way we figured out so that's what we did. Well, then the springtime come. No, not the spring. It was still winter, I think. I think, "We maybe move to the Bellevue and stay with your mother and that way we can cut my expense because we don't have to pay the room rent here and same time I can help your mother for after I come home from work, Saturday half day, or Sunday I can help on the farm. So I think that's maybe the best way." She agreed right away because she can go home. Okay. Well, then we do that. Then we talked to Kaz' mother and she sure want that. She was welcome to do that. We moved to Kaz' house in Bellevue. That was in the spring, I think it was.

AI: Where was the Hirotaka's place in Bellevue?

TM: Hirotaka?

AI: Yeah. Where was that in Bellevue?

TM: The Hirotaka family, Hirotaka family was little bit funny family. Father died real early and mother was raising one boy and three girls. And they had one more older brother like me was grown up in Japan and then come to here, but he never stayed in Bellevue. Yeah. He was over here in Portland. I never see him. When I was in the market, I used to see Kaz' father. He used to come to market sometime, but I never seen that brother. Well, anyway, 1926 married and '27 springtime, we move to Bellevue. Oh, but that's quite hard work was for me because I used to catch six o'clock boat, oh, I have to walk down to Bellevue and take a bus. And bus goes to Medina and I rode the ferry. Then ferry goes to Leschi Park. Then that cable car take the long time. That cable car is really slow. Cable car, I go to Third Avenue. That's the end of cable car, then walk down to First Avenue. Then I take a street car, then the street car goes a long way to the furniture factory. Oh, real far. I thought that is a really long ride. [Smiles] Well, Kaz she get pregnant so we couldn't do the way we figured out too long because she have to quit job and end of August she born. [Points to his daughter, Rae Takekawa] Well, then '27. I think it was '28 or so. Finally I bought T-model Ford and that car came in pretty handy because Tok came, too. Sometime he can take to the boat and come after the boat.

AI: So it was a little bit shorter.

TM: Yeah. Getting lots, lots easier, yeah.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

TM: And I think around '28, '29, finally I kind of sit in the Bellevue community. And time when I went, they don't, not too big boys. I think next bunch was just about Tok and them. There were one or two. All the Tominaga must be older than Tok maybe, I don't know, one or two. One man, Hideo Yabuki's uncle, and he was going to University of Washington -- and him. Any few, but the next bunch is coming up. So I thought maybe we should have a young men's group so I founded the Seinenkai. By gosh, lots of young kids that came in that Seinenkai. It was pretty good.

In the meantime, there is a, people is talking about kokaido. That's the community hall, Japanese Community Hall. Well, that is a, we have to ask donation from Seattle people, too. Everybody divide group. Divided, you know, some go to the company, some go to the store. Everybody ask for the donation. That time I get picked up in those groups, too. I know I went quite a few times to ask for the donation and made pretty good that time and start getting the kokaido. Well, but building group when get together, that's building group, that's whole building group get together, oh, lots of ideas. You know, ideas come because some people is want some places of Otera no yo ni, place for the bukkyo place, you know. Well, what there is Christian in the bunch, too. They think that's not necessary for the... and building size is, length and width size, I think must have been all right and come to the ceiling. They want 14 feet high in the ceiling. So I had to pipe up. "No. If you're going to make, I want to make to 16 feet and the reason why is boys going to play the basketball and 14 feet too low so I like to have about 16 feet." Oh, some think that costs too much. Back and forth, back and forth, you know. Well, then I don't know how much it cost, but two feet, then Seinenkai going to be paid. "What you talking about then?" Another guy is hollering about, "Namaiki na koto iuna" that's like a Kumagai-san, is saying, you know. Oh, gosh. Well, finally, finally passed. And, okay, then finally they decided 16 feet ceiling. Good thing. How handy that hall was. [Smiles] We played quite a few ball game in that hall. Well, then anyway it was 1929 Depression came, but kokaido is community is built.

AI: Just in time.

TM: Yeah. It was pretty nice.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

TM: Well, meantime, farming is change. And time when my dad start in O'Brien, there are lots and lots of Japanese dairy farm and most of those is Hiroshima-ken people. Well, and haiseki and some among the dairy is Caucasian dairy and Japanese dairy and those Caucasian dairy want to kick those Japanese out. Well, all kind hard building rule, come out. "That door is a no good." Or, "You have to make such and such a place for here or there." Well, it's too expensive to do those things for small dairy so those people have to quit dairy. They quit dairy and became farmer. There are lots. Them place is around 22, or -3, lots of farmer, but no more, no more Japanese dairy. Well, so when they start produce, too many stuff. Not much market for that much stuff. So they start with shipping, shipping out to back east. Well, they made quite a few packing, packing company is formed, but farmer thinks they cheat too much. They don't use the right way for the business for farmer so farmer should make own group handle this vegetable. So Puget Sound Vegetable in Sumner that is all farmer, all farmer around Fife and Puyallup and around near Japanese farmers group. And they made the association that named Puget Sound, and that one was doing very good. So, "Let's do -- we can do that, too." So I think about two, three, is formed, in White River. Meantime, Bellevue formed one, too. That's the Bellevue Vegetables Growers Association. Well, and it's all right, but it was all of a sudden, there was a depression start. So farmer getting pretty hard. Kent and Auburn. The farmer is getting hard, the Association get the farm so they broke. White River -- two, three -- I mean, Vegetable Growers Association. They done, you know.

AI: Closed down?

TM: Yeah, but the one thing was Bellevue was not too big. They survive, but really was hard, you know, because you need some money because if you have a association group. All that have this association, everybody chip 25 dollars in and, well, that is our capital... [Laughs]

AI: About how many, about how many farmers joined?

TM: Sometime was Bellevue farmer, I think, about fifty. And really popular crop is peas. That was most popular crop that time. Well, so Mr. Luzeberg come in 1933. Anyway, this association come. First year they elected officer and I don't know who is the president, but I know the secretary is they elected, Mr. Tamaye. Elected Mr. Tamaye, you know. But he sure know how to drink, but he won't do nothing. Everybody is against the way that he does. Well, then it's really bad price, bad time. So next year so they elected again and that time we change quite a bit. I think it was Mr. Yamagiwa was president, I'm pretty sure, and elected me for the secretary. So I get that job that time, and Secretary and Business Manager.

In 1932, it's... '33, bank holiday I think it was, and all the bank holiday no more, nothing. And the government is, "Some is closed, some is broke, and some all right to keep go." I don't know how many days took, but anyway most of the Japanese people had business was in Furuya Company. That bank, Furuya Bank in Seattle. And naturally it was Bellevue Vegetables Growers Association and they had was in this Furuya Bank and, doggone, I took book and then I took a statement. I found out nothing and the good thing was I think maybe overdraw or something. Anyway, Bellevue Association had nothing in there, not a thing, but Mr. Tamaye had no record, nothing. And so, gee. We can't do anything for nothing. Well, then we had spring growers' meeting and here was a big argument again because all banks are closed. There is no money. "Why, how about that 25 dollars we put in as Bellevue Vegetable Growers and maybe have to give back that 25 dollars to the grower. I said, well, in other words you want to, Bellevue Vegetable Growers is we going to quit everything here. Well, no, yes, no, yes, no, yes. Oh, that's a big meeting. Some say, by gosh, if you give us back 25 dollars, we can go through the whole winter with 25 dollars, but if you want the Bellevue Vegetable Growers alive, you have to keep that 25 dollars. But come to think of it, I think we never had that 25 dollars because the bank statement I think is overdraw, I think. There was nothing.


TM: Well, anyway finally that time decide keep that twenty-five dollars. We don't have to give back to the growers and in the meantime Bellevue Growers Association is alive. They didn't die, but we need some money to buy the seed for growers and twine. Pea grow by twine need. So we have to some money for twine, too. Well, then only place we can go to the Kirkland Bank, bank in Kirkland. That is a pretty conservative bank and family bank. They don't have to close and the bank was in Bellevue, too, that time. Bellevue bank have to close. There is no fund. Well, so I went to Mr. Shinstrom, that is bank president's name, and he said, "No, I can't, I can't do anything. So you better go see Mr. Robert." He is head man and he is a lawyer and he had office in Seattle. And I found out that they had three bank, Kirkland Bank and Morton Bank and other side of Sumner... anyway, they had those three bank and most of the money is come from Mr. Robert and his wife. They had money. That's where come.

So me and Tok -- I know Tok and me and someone else went to Seattle and ask Mr. Robert. We told him all about what the situation is. We need about so much and would like to borrow that. Well, he said okay. And in that case is Mr. Shinstrom whoever he trust people is sign on the note, "then you can have the money." So we come back to Kirkland again and we told Mr. Shinstrom. By gosh, Mr. Shinstrom, gee, about ten people or more he want us to sign. That's, whoever had business before that bank holiday, and those people name. And we had business too, Kirkland Bank, because we bought that truck and we had truck on payment and we used to pay. That's right. I guess he thought okay, I guess. Anyway, like that. And oh, gee, I have to go around and ask to sign for the note. Finally we made enough money to buy the seed and twine. Well, that year, yeah...

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

TM: Well, that year, yeah... that next year went pretty good. Well, then next year, third year or fourth year, really went bad. We can't sell. And I figured about three cents a pound to grow those peas, and we only could sell for half cents. Oh, gee.

AI: That's big loss.

TM: Lots of grower will really shake head, but can't do anything. But we have to do, even lose money, have to hang on otherwise next year maybe have to close everything. Oh, that was a really hard time. Then government was hard. They really was trouble too, see. Some had meeting and government hearing board come and they ask the population cut down the acreage and grow so many pound. Well, they ask, too, whoever, whowever have a responsibility for this shipping business and what you think about this cut down acreage. Well, I told them for my idea, Bellevue Growers they are too small. If you cut down, well, there is nothing left. Well, like in Tony... Italian growers over there.

TI: Aries. Aries.

TM: Tony... what?

RT: Aries, he says.

TM: Anyway, like him idea is cut down, cut down acreage. Nothing to do because they don't grow peas. They just grow the lettuce. They don't grow the peas. Well, then when this hearing board from government he, conclusion, I think, don't have to cut, I think. And we didn't know. We don't cut the acreage. By gosh, year or so, pick them up again. See, that time I think not only is Washington, western Washington farmer, all over was a hard time. Like in Montana sheep ranch, they have to cut down, and they cut down two dollars to the head. Government buy for one sheep for two dollars. They killed all of them and the carcass, frozen, put 'em in the deep freeze. They keep them and the wartime come and the camp prisoner like us all time they have to feed them mutton. That's why the camp food was mutton, mutton every day. That's what they used it for. Anyway, finally two, three years getting better and farmer is getting little better all the time. Then boys is grown up. Then just about every family have a pickup or car or truck. And well... oh, bright side. Then, by gosh, the war start.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

TM: Before I start war, I was thinking about, I want to tell you one thing. I went to Japan in 1940. There was a kengaku dan, you know, that's a group of the young boys. I took them in 1940 to the Japan. That time I took Hideo, too. Hideo Yabuki was in the group. He was the youngest one in the bunch. I think he was just graduate high school.

TI: Yeah. He got out in '40.

TM: And in Japan I had a hard, hard time because those government, they know it's gonna, war gonna start. And go to Japan, you know, everything is against America and England and you see those bus, town, every telephone pole. "Amerikajin kaire." And "He English." Some English name, they changed to Japanese name. Gee, I had a hard time. And you go all over, Secret Service behind you.

AI: Where did you take the boys in Japan? What cities?

TM: Huh?

AI: What city in Japan, where did you go?

TM: In Japan? First that's 1940 that was in Japan, 2,060 years old -- no. 2,600 years old, Japan, country of Japan.

AI: Oh, the anniversary.

TM: See, that's why they have a big celebration. Lots of people send from this country, Japanese, well-known Japanese, they went to Japan for that big celebration and representative like Mr. Okuda from Seattle and Takioka from Portland, all those big shot, they went. Mr. Okuda was in the same boat and we went to Japan. Well, and in Japan one day, I don't know what day it was, big doing. University kids they played the band and big played in Tokyo. That time I am supposed to take pretty good, supposed to be good group, but they never get permit to go Japan. One is Akira Aramaki, too. He applied one, but no, he couldn't go. They don't never give him permit. Oh, and in Japan, oh, we went all over. We have to wait quite a few days in Tokyo, too, the day of that celebration. And according to Ban Okada, you talked to Mr. Matsumoto, University Meiji professor, then he tell, he have all plan. Already went, he said he doesn't know nothing about, but I told him what Ban told me. Well, so he did what he can do in Tokyo, but all the guide and places take him around and he pick one boy. He is University Meiji, Meiji University student. He was a really smart kid and he said he is already done. Studies all done, just waiting for the graduation. And I think he went to Nakashima airplane factory or something. He was a real smart kid and he took us all over Tokyo and when waiting. We went to Nikko and when waiting.

Well, then after that big celebration, I start, Japan, travel... not the travel agent, they have some government work, I think. He arranges all the train schedule and city and hotel, everything he arranged. So I left Tokyo and first we went to Gifu and then we played basketball there. It was not very good. [Shakes his head] Then we came to Nagoya and we stayed one night in Nagoya, then we went to Seto, that's making those pottery, not the good stuff, though. Osara and chawan and all that kind of stuff they are making. Well, then took train and went to Ise and Ise and came to Nara and Kyoto and came to Osaka. Then Osaka we took night boat and went to Tokushima. That's in Shikoku because we went to Tokushima, that was where Ban Okada came from. That's why we went to Shikoku. Then at Tokushima is fast to Pacific Ocean. We cut -- we load in the train, cut across Shikoku, and came to the Seto naikai, that's inland of Seto, inside, you know. One side is Honshu and one side is Shikoku and other side is Kyushu and that's called Seto, Seto naikai. And so we had train at Tokushima and cut across Shikoku Island and came out to Takamatsu. That is the Seto, bay of Seto, you know. And Seto and Kagawa -- Kagawa-ken was where Uwajimaya that came from [Inaudible] because there is island called is Uwajima and that's what the name is from. [Ed. note: Uwajimaya is the name of a chain of stores founded in Seattle by a Japanese immigrant.]

Well, anyway that night we took boat. Then we came to the Beppu. Well, that's pretty fancy, big hotel, big dancing hall and everything; but nothing -- because in the Japan that time, already they have to be canceled, everything in the bunch. They can't do no meeting or no party, nothing. They all got canceled. Well, then we came to Beppu, then took the train, went the back side from Aso Mountain and that's volcano, well-known volcano in Japan. So we come up to the Aso, then came down to the city of Kumamoto and one night in Kumamoto. Then next day we went to Fukuoka, but Fukuoka, we never stayed nighttime. Then we came to the Yamaguchi. Then came to Hiroshima, and Hiroshima we went to Miyajima and this and that. So I think we have to stay a couple night. Then next we had to stop, supposed to be in Okayama and found out the boys, Okayama is too close to Hiroshima so no use to go and they want to end that trip Hiroshima. That's what we did. [Smiles]

We went quite around, but those Secret Service behind me, especially me, because they say I'm the leader. They ask all kind of question. "Why this boy's color is different?" It isn't. When they said, "Look, it's really color is different, American boys and Japanese people, is a color difference." Then most of the boys pretty big, well-fed. Funny kind of question, but that's what they want to know. Well, so at Hiroshima in the morning, that's big mess because some have to go back to Tokyo, some to go to Shiga-ken, some is staying in Hiroshima. All over. Well, you have to buy the tickets for them and find a train for them. So finally we end up at over there, at Hiroshima. That's what Japan trip.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

TM: And on the USA, when I was raising the kids, first three was pretty close together. And during in haiseki, Bellevue there is a no Nihon gakko. But I don't know when they started again, but around '25-'6 they started a Nihon gakko again. And first it was Danny Hill. They had a Nihon gakko. I don't know if you remember or not. [Looks at Tosh Ito]

TI: No, no I don't remember.

TM: After that, you started school in that...

TI: Kokaido.

TM: Kokaido...

TI: Kokaido, yeah.

TM: Next to Kokaido.

TI: Yeah, next to Kokaido.

TM: They built a Nihon gakko there. And that time Mr. Tajitsu, and Takekawa sensei, and Dutch no mother, they came to teach. [Ed. note: Dutch Takekawa's mother. Tom Matsuoka's daughter Rae is married to Dutch.] But myself, I never send the kids to Nihon gakko because Kaz is dai ni setsu, too. We were half and half, see. We talk half in Nihongo and half English at home. We never thought about that Nihongo and so they never went to Nihon gakko. That's my place. Well, but she, my wife, want to, kids to go to church. They went to Congregational Church. [Inaudible] So kids went to church all right, when they were kids, but never went to Nihon gakko. And now, even they after grown up, we don't say too much about the haiseki and what we done when we were young. We didn't talk to the kids too much, but top three kids, they know what Nihonjin haiseki, especially during the wartime.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

TM: And anyway, that was 1940, I went to Japan and those day, fifteen days to cross one way. So on the boat was one month, see. Take a long time go to Japan. I come back end of... December or first of January. Anyway, that time I come back. Yeah. Well, then '41. That's when the war start. And come to think of it now, when I went to Japan in 1940, oh, already in Japan everything was cut. No gasoline for public use. They used charcoal for the bus, slow, and geez, you know. Smell up in back. Well, there is taxi, the car is in the garage, but no service because no gasoline. And at breakfast, not so bad. I think all is [Inaudible], I guess, the gohan, and misoshiru and then one piece of dried fish or something and otsukemono, but noontime come, they call daiyoshoku, you know. They don't serve you the gohan. All you have to have udon or soba and all that kind of stuff. They say that daiyoshoku. Well, that much, they have to save to the army supply. How in the world they can win a war? That's what I think now, and people, big shots, should know that. Anyway, they tried everything for the armed service: gasoline and food, and everything.

AI: So Japan was already...

TM: Oh, yeah. Big shot in Japan, they knew it.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

AI: But then when you came back in the U.S. in 1941 --

TM: When I come back, I don't know nothing. But when I, when I heard afterward that Japanese consul, they knew. They knew it. Yeah. They knew that, can't get over it. Well, then anyway it's 1941, December 7th, the war just started. And while I was outside and doing something and she [Points to daughter, Rae] come outside, "There's a war started and Japan bombed Honolulu right now." "Well," I said, "Well, if that's true, that's the big shot was saying about they gonna start a war sometime." Well, that time was all right. The day is done and nighttime come, here's the FBI come in, three of them come in.

AI: To your house?

TM: Yeah, try to pick 'em up. Not, not very friendly people. They show the card, but you can't even see the picture. They put it back in. Then they start, the desk drawer is upside down and whatever they like to take, they take, especially name card. All kind of stuff they took back. And then I... oh, yeah. Then they said maybe you better take your shaving -- no, not shaving. Washing. That's what they said, washing clothes or maybe you take something. So I just took something in the hand. I didn't even take a bag, nothing. So they took me into the immigration office.

AI: In Seattle? Took you to Seattle?

TM: Yeah. And I went immigration door, they don't call the name or anything. They call by the number 99. That's what my number when they took me into the immigration. That means those FBI before the war, they already check who they gonna pick. Then they had a number on that name, see. Well, I went to immigration office, there is about fifty people was in the one room and, "Oh, you came, too." "Oh, you here, too." [Laughs] Oh, sure funny thing. Then must be, so many first bunch, they took me into the other room, I think. And after, after Christmas they said they gonna move, "All you guys is moved to Missoula, Montana." And how about first bunch in other room? "They move before that, before you guys." And so next morning we went to the mess room, mess house, and everybody together, other room and our room. And they have to eat, talk to each other, and find out that first bunch they move to Missoula. I think it was right before Christmas. Anyway, we moved 27th, I think, after Christmas. 27th December, I think they moved to the Missoula.

AI: When you were there, what kinds of questions did they ask you?

TM: In immigration office? Nothing. No hearing, nothing. Well, the day move, day before, I think, move, whoever American birth certificate, don't have to go. So in our room was Roy Masuda and Roy Ito Kenji and Shinji Takahashi, Ozawa, and Main Fish no Kiyohara and one we used to call Kiyoshi. He was a big shot in Japanese gambling store, gambling place, and those all (don't) go. So meantime, "How about me?" And I didn't have a birth certificate. I'm Hawaiian-born. "No, if you don't have a birth certificate, you have to go." But all other had birth certificate. Only one didn't have it was Kiyoshi, that's the gambling boss. He was just like me, born in Hawaii and no birth certificate, but he had his dad was still alive and he was over here. I think he was in Yakima. I am pretty sure. So he came to prove that he born in Hawaiian-born. That why he don't have to go. So I have to go.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

AI: Did, before you went, did you get to visit with your family?

TM: What?

AI: Could your family come and talk to you or visit with you before you went to Montana?

TM: Montana?

AI: Before?

TM: No, before Montana, we tried it about the birth certificate, to the Hawaii corresponding, nothing. [Shakes his head] We can't do nothing. They just, letter come back. They say is no certificate, that's it. So I couldn't do anything. Well, anyway, that's that. I went to the Missoula no camp and here comes Okada no Ban. "Oh, you mo kitan ka? Well, that's too bad. You know this camp business is nothing to do, and all day long there is nothing to do. So best way is volunteer to do something." "All right. What are you doing?" "Well, I am helping in the kitchen so you better go to the kitchen too and do help, same things what I'm doing." That's what Okada said. You know what was is meshitaki? That is making the rice and great big aluminum pan and steam and you make rice in the steam. He ain't never done anything like that. But good thing there is the one, one person from California and he was an ex-Navy, I think, and he knew how to cook rice in those steam, steam big bowl. And we done. He is a big shot and then we work under him and we used to make that rice. It's all right, but gee, wash that big bowl. That's quite a job. Well, anyway, then that is morning we make rice.

Then noontime -- I mean, after that, nothing to do and everybody nothing to do. All of a sudden -- I don't know who started -- go outside, pick the rock, and polish the rock. By gosh, that thing is really came popular, something to do in the camp. Everybody pick rock, so did I, too. I sure pick. You picked a rock, go to the bathroom, then bathroom there is concrete cement so we polish the rock on the cement. And then they gave us blanket. You polish the blanket, you wipe the blanket. [Laughs] And they issued jackets and stuff, fit just right for all the Nihonjin. That's, I found out that American government, I think, they made whole bunch for Chinese shokai seki army. I think they issued lots of those jackets. And that's the leftover, see. That's why they, they issued to the Japanese prisoners like us. Sure funny.

Then like I told before, it's lots of sheep carcass. And they even feed us tripe. I don't know you know that or not, but stomach of the cow. But you'd be surprised though, some of those cook, they know how to cook that, the tripe. Some person, they had a restaurant and they is, their restaurant is so low-class restaurant so they make the cheap, real cheap food, real cheap dinner. And by gosh, pretty good. Of course, we have to eat that, otherwise nothing to eat.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

TM: Well, then first couple of months, nothing in the camp. Then about March or so they said hearings start, and California bunch, Washington bunch, Seattle bunch and some country bunch, all different. And so one day I went to the hearing. I was pretty early bunch, I think. Here was Williams. That's our lawyer in the Bellevue Vegetables Growers' lawyer, and he come. "Oh, so you come." "Yeah." And so he came. And interpreter, Japanese/English interpreter. There are two, one is Kashino, I think, Paul. He from Seattle. And from Spokane, there is a girl is Nishibue. I think Nishibue or I think that's what the name was.

TI: That's Suzuki's neighbor in Spokane.

TM: You know Nishibue?

TI: Nishibue was my mother-in-law's neighbor in Spokane.

TM: Oh, that's right. Anyway, she came. Well, so Williams said, "No, your hearing started." All those hearing board and they're the one is Kirkland Bank, branch boss was in hearing board, too. He didn't ask nothing. And head guy he ask me all about just this and that and why I do all those Japanese group like in Nihonjinkai and Seinenkai, everything else, and, "Why you do that kind of job and you claim you are American citizen?" Well, "Is nobody else to do, I have to do it." Well, and ask about the trip in Japan. Ask about the sumo and sumo is really faithful to Mikado, that's what they say, the emperor.

AI: The hearing board thought that...

TM: And what that means and... well, this hearing board said, heard sumo is every time they start fight, they have to anyway, bow to Mikado and then you guys gonna start. By God, no. I said, "No, nothing like that." Well, took long time to explain about the sumo. [Laughs] Then I come out the hearing, I think it was pretty good, not so bad. I heard other people, they thought it's pretty good, I guess. Then I don't know how many day, not too long, they called me. They were gonna release me. Oh, that's pretty good. That time about three people released the same time in West Coast. And before that there was a whole bunch of them, especially from California, was moved to the other, other place like in New Mexico or Oklahoma, all over. Anyway, they moved away. Well, so wait few more days and well, you can't go out. So Mr. Okuda, he is a representative from Spokane -- what that Spokane big newspaper?

TI: The Spokesman Review.

RT: The Spokesman Review.

TM: The Spokesman Review or something and he sponsored Mr. Okuda so he can go out and guard by him. And then myself and one pair from Tacoma, he went out. So then the guard took us to the post office and post office they gave me draft card or... yeah, I think that's draft card. Yeah. Anyway, I am 4-F. Yeah, I am 4-F or something. Well, anyway, then went to the, this guard took us to the station and bought a ticket and give us a tickets and that's what I went to Pinedale.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

TM: And we picked up in December, early December, and released in July. I met my family at Pinedale in July. And oh, yeah. We really get hungry in Portland, in Portland Station, but I don't know we can go out to eat or not because all the Japanese is already sent them out to the camp. But this man and me, this man from Tacoma and myself, "Oh, let's go to the restaurant and see." If they don't serve, that's it. But if we can eat something, we really sure like to eat. Went to a restaurant in Portland Station. By gosh, they gave us food. [Laughs] We sure tickled. So we eat there and then we rode in the train again.

Well, then went to Pinedale, so doggone hot. Man, was it hot. You know, over 100 degrees just about every day in Pinedale. You have empty milk, milk bottle. Those day was everything was in bottle, not just in paper carton. Nothing like that now. If you leave that milk bottle outside and lay down, ant is go in to the bottle and all died on the inside, too hot. That's hot. And I remember in the camp there was one bad thing is, on the mess, big line. Everything line. And you go in line and they give us food. And you look and, gee, is one side is stew and another side is some kind of salad. You know, one side really hot, one side cold stuff and together, you know, gee. I remember that. But, anyway, we didn't stay in that Pinedale too long because Pinedale gonna close and everybody move to Tule Lake. That's a permanent camp, that's what they said.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

TM: So around July. Anyway, I didn't even stay a month or so in Pinedale. We moved to Tule Lake. Next day I went to work, for Tule Lake is a farm. I don't like stay in the camp all day. I stayed in the camp already. So I stay outside, work in the Tule Lake farm.

AI: What kind of farming was it?

TM: Most was potato, lot of potato. And we were on the farm making that daikon and nappa and all that kind of stuff and so doggone many of them. They used to ship them out to Minidoka and some in down in south California. Anyway, we used to make lots, that's kind of vegetable and butter. Acre and acre was potato, and I was working in the potato field, irrigation and... well, then it's about time to potato harvesting in the camp. Meantime, the name Sasaki and we used to call Lefty. He was from Orting, and that's near Sumner, originally. He came to recruiting to beets labor and if you go out for sugar beet labor, you can go out from camp. "How about you want to go out?" By gosh, I sure want to go out. So I asked Kaz and she said she will go out, too. Well, they said, "If you go out, best way, have a six men together. Six men together, because the six men is a crew. So we figured me and Kaz, Rae and Tats and Ty. We have five of 'em, one short. So we took Kaz's sister and made six, six-man crew. And we went for the sugar beets harvest. [Smiles]

AI: How old were the kids?

TM: Rae? How old? [Looks at daughter, Rae] How old was it?

RT: Fifteen.

TM: Fifteen. Fifteen, fourteen, twelve. That's right. So we went out. And Tule Lake was still pretty nice weather because potatoes never harvested yet. Oh, we went to Chinook, Montana... there's already snow all over the place, snow the place. So we start hard, hard work in the sugar beets labor. Man, was it hard, but we done pretty good.

AI: Where did you live when you were doing that?

TM: In Chinook? Chinook, we went to a farm. There is Gotti brother, his farm, we went. Then we finished the harvesting. Then he said, he hired me for feeding sheep. Everybody said they gonna stay here and go to school. That's why we stayed that winter. And the next spring come and they send me over to camp while recruiting beets labor. And that's what the sugar company did. But I went and I bring quite a few people I know. All that Tok's family, your family, [Looks at Tosh Ito] all Shimogaki family, and then Chappie Yasui from Hood River, all they come. And some stayed in Great Falls and some came to around Chinook. Well, then that year we finished the Gotti brother's place. Then Lundeen's place was you people was working, I think, was quite acreage left. [Looks at Tosh Ito]

TI: Yeah, it was Meyer's place.

RT: They went to Meyer's.

TM: Oh, yeah. You stayed in the Meyer's place, yeah. And after Meyer's place done, went over there helping to Lundeen's. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Then we went helping Lundeen's and they, Gus Lundeen want whole family, Tok Hirotaka's family and my family. He want to move to his place. Meantime, he came to how about start fire. No. Fifty-fifty sharecropping business. And so me and Tok talk and, "That's all right. Let's, let's take that."

So Tok and I get together and then we went in the fifty-fifty sharecropping at Lundeen's farm. Well, then we started. We supposed to be finance the labor, Lundeen is supposed to finance all the equipment and gasoline and material. Well, we started and meantime, she [Points to daughter, Rae] graduated high school, and went to college and Tats is graduated high school, he went to the army. Well, my crew getting pretty, shrinking. Then Kik and Mits, they left. They went to Minnesota, Minneapolis, they start work there. Well, so I kind of short labor and I'm supposed to be finance the labor. And those day sugar company recruits sugar beet labor and they, if you ask them, why they supposed to be give us some labor. I had all kind of labor. I had German prisoner labor, and Bahamian labor and those white slave labor. You know, all country, Kentucky and all that Missouri, and anyway it's all that real country slave, you know. What I hire when you help me? [Looks at Tosh Ito]

TI: I kind of think it might have been Mexican.

TM: Mexican. Anyway, I had lots of Mexican all the time.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

TM: Well, then we struggle and the war is over. So right away I went back to Bellevue and see, what like. And I ask a Caucasian, old friend, like Mrs. Godsey, Mrs. Baumsgard and those people I met and talk. And, of course, I talked to my lawyer, Williams, but they said I have no house because my house was burned up during the wartime.

AI: It was burned?

TM: Yeah, burned up. And my farm we lease to the Filipino boy. Then according to those people I ask, "You know, is pretty hard to build a house right now. Everything is short and everything is ration. You may have to wait a long time and you have a bunch of family and you have to wait long time. And if you have place to stay, maybe good idea to stay in there." Well, I don't know. But we talked. Somebody have to go back to the Bellevue because there's three place. Tok, his own place, and my place and greenhouse. That used to be Kusumi's greenhouse. That's Tok and Sumi both have greenhouse, too. That's three different places. Somebody have to go back there. Well, Lundeen is owner. He found out, look like we aren't going back. War is over. We aren't going back. He came in and said, "How about buy my place. Stay this place." Well, so Tok and I talked and somebody have to go back because we have three different place there. So finally end up Tok said that he is going back, so I stayed. Then, oh, Lundeen insisted, want whoever stay, want to buy that place. Finally then Tok, I told Tok and, "You buy my place. Then I get that for down payment and I pay, I buy this Lundeen's farm."


TM: Ito's place, bought first place because Tok is moved to your place.

TI: Yeah, yeah, that's right.

TM: First house, yeah.

TI: Yeah, he was there.

TM: So that work out all right because Tok, he can wait house, someplace to stay.

TI: Yeah, because he didn't have a house at your place.

TM: Yeah.

RT: Oh, that's where they stayed.

TM: So, anyway, I stayed and Tok moved to the Bellevue. And after that, there was ourself and the kids, no more kids, only big one kids is Ty, only one. Rae, Tats is gone and...

AI: And who is still at home? Ty was still at home?

RT: Ty and Rulee and Ted.

TM: Rulee, yeah. Rulee was, but she still was in high school yet.

RT: Probably less than that.

TM: And so I hired most of the Mexican and springtime when thinning and hoeing, all that Mexican labor I used to use. And harvesting time, machine start to come in and all kind of harvesting machine came. Well, so first machine I bought didn't work in the farm and I lost a big chunk of money on that machine. Didn't work. The next machine was International machine. It work all right, but need a couple of labor to pick 'em up beet and those chunk of dirt. They have to separate them behind the machine. That's what Kaz and Dorothy, they used to do that. Well, then if no picking job, why, much busy -- I mean, much easy because just one man working, then truck driver, then we can harvest all of them. So I change the machine again and this machine was not very good. Meantime, with the sugar factory closed in Chinook and the factory said they are going to move to Moses Lake, Washington. By gosh, they close the Chinook factory and they took everything, everything. Only thing left is a big concrete cement smokestack. And they move to the Moses Lake.

AI: When was that? About when was that that they closed?

TM: 1920... no, 1954 or something like that. That's first sugar company was Utah Idaho Sugar Company. Then they moved to the Moses Lake. And Great Western Sugar Company, he is from Billings, and they took 'em over, and they harvest, ship the sugar beet to Billings and process you. Well, so I still grow sugar beets and work for that Great Western, contracted, and until about 1967. But sugar beets is summertime. You have to irrigate and nowadays all that irrigation is sprinkling system, but those day when I growing the sugar beet, all have to boots and shovel and irrigate those. Oh, big acreage, and sugar beets, one man pretty hard. Hired people, they don't last too long. They don't like that shovel and boots. And summertime is small pickup job, is pretty easy to find, see. By gosh. What I was doing until that is grow the sugar beets and fall come, and I used to take about 2,000 lamb to contracted to fattening, fattening lamb. And so pretty good income. Year around, year around. Because summertime sugar beet, wintertime is fattening lamb, but work is pretty, not so easy work.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 28>

TM: Well, so start growing lots of hay. Well, hay first time, lots of men work in hay, but when men get short and all those equipment company invent the self-harvesting machine, pretty expensive, too. And you just use expensive machine, harvesting and all rest of the year you have to live in the next fence line. I quit. So I finally I quit around 1961 or so sugar beets... I thought I would quit the sugar beets and I had most of the hay and little grain, and I always owned about fifty head of cow. So I kept those cow then I bought about 350 sheep and quit sugar beets altogether. And I cut down some pasture, farm land is fenced off to the pasture, and that's what I started around 1962 or '3 or something like that. That way I have don't have to look those hired, hired men. And like if I have hay, just I buy is hay equipment. I don't have to buy the other stuff. Well, that's the way I did, and I did that until I retired and I retired 1969. '68 crop, that was my last crop. That time I retired.

Then I move to the small place in town and sure funny. There is one road. One side is belongs to the county; one side belongs to the town. And where I stayed was the county side. There is running water and everything, telephone, electricity everything but I don't have to, everything belong to the city license and just... I done pretty good. I built, I built a small greenhouse because Kaz, she like the flower and raise the flower. And, man, you be surprised how much she spend for those plants. How would be. We made, grow the plant ourself. Well, we started about 16 x 16, small house, we started greenhouse. And, by gosh, grew pretty good then, more than she can use. So what leftover we start to sell, and here is too many customers and we run out of plants so quick. So, my God, we make a little bigger and so a little bigger and a little bigger, and by the time Kaz died, we had a chunk of greenhouse. [Laughs]

AI: So you weren't retired anymore.

TI: A new business started.

TM: And she passed away 1986. And this month, just a few days more, that's twelve years, twelve years ago. Then I keep going until the '90. About like my dad when started the farm, same thing. One person try to do cook and washing and then do something in the greenhouse and small garden, that's too damn much so I quit. That's is in 1990 so that's enough. That's it. [Laughs]

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 29>

AI: Well, I wanted to ask you about your birth certificate. How did you finally get your birth certificate?

TM: Oh, birth certificate. That's what you wanted to hear: birth certificate. My sister and she died, is Molly. She was a nurse. She was in Hawaii before the war. Anyway, she was in Hawaii and war started so she can't come home. Then the war is over. Meantime, asked her, "You ask my birth certificate, because I ask before. They said no, nothing." So Molly, she is ask my birth certificate and that went to Hawaii, and Hawaii was still not a state, a territory. Well, after the war, everything different because when she ask, that application went right to the State of Hawaii head, you know. So this went to the director of Hawaii, State Hawaii, and his name was Mr. Long. [Ed. note: Oren E. Long, then Secretary of the Territory of Hawaii] And I think all time those not the state, when the Territory of Hawaii is one year or so, every year or so, someone have to come to over here and go through Washington, D.C. and find out any trouble between Hawaii and this country. And Mr. Long, he came for that, I think. And, by gosh, he thought about me. There is application, birth certificate for Tom Takeo Matsuoka. One day I had a letter from Territory of Hawaii and it's Mr. Long, and this was mailed from Minneapolis, Minnesota. And he, this letter showed he want to see me at the Havre railroad station. And according to that letter, he said that he want me to ride on the train from Havre to...

RT: Shelby.

TM: Where was it?

RT: Shelby.

TM: Shelby. Yeah, that's right, that's right, Havre to Shelby. Well, so Kaz took me to the Havre station and Saturday, such and such a day, such and such a time, that train is once a day. So I went, and here he is. And Kaz told him he is a passenger and just ordinary passenger and not a high-class passenger ticket. "Oh, same thing," he said, Mr. Long. "I am on that." Oh, he was a heck of a nice person. Then he interview me inside the train between Havre and Shelby. Then I told him everything I know and I think there was the name called... what was it? Anyway, my brother, James Matsuoka, he have a real estate business in International Real Estate in Jackson and Sixth Avenue on the corner. If you call him, maybe the Nakamura, I think, this old man interviewed and asked about my birth certificate. And this Mr. Nakamura, I think Nakayama ka, Nakamura, something like that. Anyway, this man know I was in Hawaii. So I think Mr. Long, he came to Seattle, interviewed him and my brother, and he went back to Hawaii.

And after that I think he really done all kind of stuff to try to find my birth. Because when my dad was farming in Honolulu, his neighbors was there and this neighbor's name was... Noguchi. Anyway, one man and two boys was in this farm. Well, I guess he traced him and they are not anymore in Honolulu. They moved to Hawaii island, island of Hawaii. They are not there. Well, then he went, tried to find when my dad was worked in Honolulu, this Hawaiian mill. Anyway, this place. No. I think they couldn't find that. Well, then I guess Mr. Long went to ship company, I think. And, by gosh, there is a boy -- no, girl. Yeah. Girl and mother is riding the boat, went back to Japan the day I am sailing. And this kid is born in 1903, 1st of August, but when my baby picture, it sure look like a girl. Yeah. The hair was all pretty long on the top and really cut in here. That's what my baby picture was. Remember? And so must be, on the record, they thought it was a baby girl. And, anyway, he thought this is the one, I think, so he traced it. Sure enough, my dad and mother when came to Hawaii, first thing they came to Spreckelsville, Maui. That's where the sugar, sugar company plantation office is. They find out that I came -- I mean, my dad and mother was came to Spreckelsville, Maui. Then, I guess he must have went some other place and he knew it. That's what I get my birth certificate.

AI: So you finally got it.

TM: Finally they send me. Then, anyway, after war, after you get married maybe it was. [Looks at daughter, Rae]

RT: That's a long time ago.

TM: Yeah. Anyway, in '50 something. That's when I finally I get my birth certificate and I look and, by gosh, there is my name. Even they said, "Known as Tom Takeo Matsuoka." [Laughs]

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 30>

AI: Well, I just had a couple more questions. One question I wanted to ask you was about the redress. Do you remember when you got your redress in the mail? Did you remember?

RT: Your redress. You know, that 20,000 dollar no are yo.

TM: Oh, you mean vegetable...

RT: No. No. From the government. Yeah. Yeah. Are.

TM: Oh, 20,000 dollars what I did?

AI: No. What was your reaction? How did you feel?

TM: How I did?

RT: How did you feel about it?

TM: I think they should give. Myself, I lost way more than that. I lost the house and lot of stuff, too. Even I worked so doggone hard and during the Montana life, forty-eight years, that was way more than 20,000 dollars.

TI: That's right. Everybody had to start from scratch all over again.

TM: You know... gee, what you lost, some is really priceless. I had that house insurance, but those days insurance really small, next to nothing.

<End Segment 30> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 31>

AI: I also wanted to ask you, what did you think was the worst things that happened about the camp and the war years? What was the worst part for you?

RT: Worst part. The worst part of the war years.

TM: Worst part in war year? You know, for, in the war year, we have to evacuate, that's one of the worst thing. And I went to Chinook and start working in sugar beet and kids start school, especially on the top three kids, Rae and Tats and Ty, and they get treated from this school. That's what I can't forget. They really had a hard time. Well, I tell you, they helped me in work in the sugar harvest and they start school and quit school around the end of September and work all months and until we finish the sugar beets then go back to the school. All those kids catch up all the work in school before Christmas Day. They catch up and they done. And especially like Rae, she had highest grade ever Chinook High School had before, but they don't give her her valedictorian. And when I heard some of the teacher against that and some teacher said just because she is a, she is a "Jap". Well, some say she went to the Bellevue school a little bit. That's why. They don't give. And another thing. Those high school kids have a dance and the principal of the high school, they come to the kids, "Don't come to the dance." All those things I really feel bad about the wartime. And end up with two boys, Tats and Ty, they have to go to service. Tats went two years and Ty went two years.

AI: Do you think anything good came out of those war years?

TM: [Shakes his head] War years... well, I don't tell. I don't tell nothing to kids about the haiseki time and about the how much we had a hard time and I don't tell those kids. But, anyway, some teacher is know how we work hard, they try to work hard, because like Mr. Bowen, Mrs. Bowen, ask Kaz, "How you do, is send all three, top three kids, to the college?" Sometime I had three in the college in the same time.

Well, it's a long time, but my lifetime the Chinook, Montana, that was the longest year. Forty-eight years I stayed in Chinook, Montana. That's a long time. But in the wartime, there is sure a lot of things happened because, you know, too, you go town, they don't cut Japanese hair. [Shakes his head] They don't want to do that. They don't want to do that. But after the war is over, the people sure nice. Oh, yeah. Everybody know Tom.

<End Segment 31> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 32>

AI: Well, is there anything else you want to say? Anything else you think future generations should know about, remember?

TM: Who?

RT: Well, the future generations.

TM: Future generation?

RT: Yeah. What they should know.

TM: Future generation... you know, is time is a change so much and hate to think about the next generation. When I look my grandchildren, great grandchildren, look back, so much change. I betcha I said something, half the things they don't believe it. It's, now when I was a kid and kids now, different. Because when I was a kid until grown up, everything is change so much. It's like wagon. When I are kids, start from horse and wagon. Then come to the airplane, big car, now they even go up to the moon, that much change. And I don't know how much more change, but young kids, you tell more that to them, "Phooey," they think.

AI: Well, thank you very much for telling about your life and the history.

TM: Well, now only thing I don't know how long, but still is hanging, that's all I can say. [Laughs] That's a long life. Ninety-five years, that's a long life. I be, couple more months and I be ninety-five.

AI: Well, thanks a lot.

TM: Yeah.

<End Segment 32> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.