Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Kay Matsuoka Interview
Narrator: Kay Matsuoka
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 29 & 30, 1999
Densho ID: denshovh-mkay-01-0023

<Begin Segment 23>

AI: But, tell me a little bit more about, I have heard from other people that there was a lot of fear about TB, and especially as you mentioned, among Japanese people...

KM: Uh-huh.

AI: ...that there was a real negative feeling about TB.

KM: Yeah.

AI: And, so tell me a little bit about that time and what happened, and what it was like while he was in the TB ward.

KM: Well, as a youngster growing up, I used to go to the Japanese movie with my folks. And lot of 'em had this TB and how the, all the families separated, or all the friends didn't come anymore. And so I kinda knew how the Japanese reacted to TB. And so when this happened to my husband, and then he being the first one to get TB in that camp, with no preparation ahead. It was really, well, I said, "If there was a God," I said, "Why did he make my husband get sick?" That's how I felt. I just kinda, almost kinda rebelled, thinking, "Why?" But, so I had this knowledge that Japanese don't like, or they think it a shame, and they hide it. In fact they hide it. But then my parents looked it up in his family roots and found this out, so they kinda prepared me for it. They said, "If, in case your husband does get sick, what would you do?" I said, "Well, I would stick by with him." And there was one Issei doctor -- that was our family doctor from Los Angeles that was working at Gila River -- and then he said when he heard about my husband getting TB, he called me in, and he said, "I wanna examine you." And then I said, "What for?" He said, "Well I wanna make sure that you're not pregnant. If you're not pregnant, I strongly urge you to separate from him." See, that, it's the Isseis' thinking. "Because, even if he recovers, he's gonna be an invalid and you're gonna have to take care of him. And you've only just been married three month," so he said, "I highly recommend that." Well anyway he examined me, and 'course I wasn't pregnant, and then he urged me. But then I said, "You know, doctor," I said, "what if this role was reversed, and I had the TB? And what if he left me?" I said, "No, I'm gonna stick by him. I'm gonna make sure that he gets well. I'm gonna do all I can. I'm not gonna get divorced." And then he said, "Well, it's your choice." But that's when I really got close to him, because I knew his mother and dad were so far away from him, especially his stepmother. So I just vowed that I'm gonna really stick by him. And so we've been, everybody says when we get introduced, "We can't introduce just Kay and Jack." It's always together, Kay and Jack, we go together. [Laughs] Yeah.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.