Densho Digital Archive
National Japanese American Historical Society Collection
Title: George S. Matsui Interview
Narrator: George S. Matsui
Interviewer: Marvin Uratsu
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 11, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-mgeorge-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

MU: Okay. This is an interview with George Matsui here in Seattle. And my name is Marvin Uratsu, I'm the interviewer. First of all, George, let's get a little information on your background. Where were you born?

GM: I was born in Los Angeles, California.

MU: When was that?

GM: 1915 -- March 1st.

MU: And did you grow up in the L.A. area?

GM: No. I grew up in Long Beach.

GM: Long Beach, (California).

MU: Uh-huh. And you went to the American schools there?

GM: Polytechnic High School.

MU: Yeah, and did you go to college also?

GM: I, when I was in junior high -- seventh grade -- my folks took me back to Japan for five years.

MU: Okay.

GM: Then when I came back in 19 -- that was 1929 or '30 -- Frank came back before I did and I came back here.

MU: That's your brother? That's your brother?

GM: Yeah, my brother. I came back, 1934, and I brought my Japanese school credits with me so they put me into tenth grade, high school, and I graduated Polytechnic High School.

MU: Did you go beyond high school?

GM: Oh, no, not really. I -- Frank wanted me to work because we didn't have too much money, those days, besides, so I was working in the produce market, and there was a young lady who graduated from college and said she couldn't get a job anywhere. Only work she could get is working in produce market... so I said to myself, "God, going to college not gonna do me any good if that's the situation.

MU: So you had no reason...

GM: Well, I went to junior college for a while, but it was discouraging to me.

MU: Oh sure.

GM: Yeah. So in, working -- didn't earn too much money so I said, "(...) I'd better start my own business." So I went to a little grocery store, he wanted the produce man to open up a produce market. And I opened that market up, oh, let's see, 1939 -- '40? Got it going pretty good, then the draft came and I got drafted February '41. In line ahead of me I saw James Stewart (at San Pedro induction center). He was ahead of me. He was so tall, head taller than anybody else. (...)

MU: Okay.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.