Densho Digital Archive
gayle k. yamada Collection
Title: Roy Matsumoto Interview
Narrator: Roy Matsumoto
Interviewer: gayle k. yamada
Location: Washington, D.C.
Date: November 8, 2000
Densho ID: denshovh-mroy-02-0015

<Begin Segment 15>

gky: Tell me, Roy, when you think about what you did with the MIS, how do you think that, or what kind of effect that that had on redress finally passing on Japanese...

RM: Well, quite a bit. Not speak of myself or Marauder, but to then well-known, then they shouldn't be punished or they shouldn't be put them in the camps, so forth. So some people had fair mind and that's why started to compensate more or less, you know. To me, I'm still mad at because what happened was I worked for a Japanese grocery store. That's where I learned, as I told you before, pick up the dialect because I was too young to be a salesman so they made me a delivery boy. Then every time I delivery the good, groceries, they're talking some strange dialect, so I ask, "What does it mean in standard Japanese?" see. So they tell me, they laugh at me. So I made a note of it, wrote it down, then remember what that means. So I didn't know, new word to me, but I kept tha, all of that and try to, next time I had to use that word even though, mixed with the standard Japanese, I used that word and kick, laugh out of. But then I got interested in, so learned that. That was before the war, see. It came in handy. So the people says "uneducated moron," but I'm not moron. I am uneducated. But I'm self-made study, see. That's why people --well, I don't want to say because look like I'm bragging, but after went to school kind of ridiculous me learning Japanese, sit there. I should have learned something else, see.

gky: But we were talking about...

RM: Army school.

gky: No, about how the MIS and your service in there, and the other things that the Merrill's Marauders did had to help the redress cause.

RM: Well, I don't how much, but I don't know whether I, myself, contributed or not, but generally, well, the soldier who volunteer, there was a lot of... I don't want to differentiate, you know, "no-no boys." They had their own reason too, so that's why some of the MIS association, they feel sorry for them. But some are still against them, "draft dodgers," things like that, words they -- but to me, I didn't have immediate family. I had uncle, auntie, and so she had five gold star because I'm included because of family, and she was very proud that some of boys volunteer, some were drafted. Five of them. So she was really proud at the five stars, see. So I'm very proud. Auntie passed away a long time ago. But anyway, these people, even though their parents were in camp, but the boys went out there for the country, so I think they consider that and maybe some people felt sorry, people shouldn't suffer. But financially or mentally they suffered, that's why Reagan, you know President Reagan, apologized. I still got that wording, you know. I put in frame and he was a right guy. So I voted for him because he's the right kind of guy there. Even though he wasn't responsible, he didn't put us in the -- but I blame, not the President, but the advisor, you know, along there. And especially commanding general, you know.

gky: DeWitt?

RM: Yeah, DeWitt and like Earl Warren, you know, district attorney, attorney general, and governor. Those are the people, I don't know. Their interest in the farming, they take over the things, and also hatred and a lot of agitations and mixed emotions, because some people... I was working for grocery so I deal with the Chinese, and some Chinese are very sympathetic, and some will hate you just because being a Japanese. And I had a lot of kind of experience, and some even Chinese are very nice and I experience, even at this date, and five years, four years ago I made a trip to Burma and met the Chinese and they were very friendly and I appreciate. So they shouldn't have any discrimination anybody, you know.

gky: Tell me, Roy, do you have any last thoughts about being with the Merrill's Marauders or serving with the MIS, and your patriotism, or anything that you might have done to help the redress cause?

RM: Maybe little. Well, not directly involved because this thing started -- well, my case I don't think it influenced anything at all. But this individual case. But, to me, my satisfaction is they started with me, but to me that was team work, so I shouldn't get credit myself. Everybody should. That's why I worked hard and I happened to have an understanding officer, my friend, namely Mr. Piazza, and he happened to be the -- I have a very close connection with him. Because he appreciate what I've done by using his handset and he's very proud with the involve with him. So ever since Burma, more than fifty years we been friend, close friend. That's why I visit every year, twice, three times, and stay with him, then drive up to -- he's live in South Carolina. And he's responsible me getting involved in Ranger Hall of Fame, Military Intelligence, and he wrote a background statement. Also, I appreciate what Mr.... well, it was Lieutenant Ed McLogan, and I put him in for Ranger Hall of Fame. He's should be the one receive medal, I mean, Hall of Fame rather than me because this started himself because of his alertness. That's why commanding officer sent me to his place. But his eyewitness account helped me quite a bit to get this military intelligence.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.