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-01-0010

<Begin Segment 10>

MU: So, you get to Savage and it's freezing cold up there...

GM: Oh, gosh.

MU: And, how was the food?

GM: It must have been all right 'cause I don't remember.

MU: You don't remember...

GM: Yeah.

MU: ...bad things about it?

GM: No.

MU: Did you know who John Aiso was?

GM: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.

MU: Did he speak to...

GM: The -- strict. Yeah. (...)

MU: Director of Trans --

GM: Director of (Military Intelligence) Language School?

MU: Something like that.

GM: Oh, he was strict. But I admired his tenacity, though. (...) I suppose that's what he's supposed to do to keep us in line.

MU: Why do you say he was strict?

GM: Why?

MU: Yeah.

GM: Well, he always struck me as being strict. He, yeah, there isn't any time that he could laugh about things. I don't -- I don't remember.

MU: Did he ever come to your classroom and talk?

GM: No. No. One time when we -- bunch of us gathered -- boy, he gave us a riot act about something I can't remember.

MU: Oh, this was a general...

GM: Yeah.

MU: ...gathering of the enlisted men?

GM: Yeah, the language students. Uh-huh.

MU: Now that's the way you felt at that time, but when you look back what do you think? Maybe he had to be strict?

GM: I think so. (...) 'Cause I think lot of us thought, "God, let's have some fun." Egad. Some of us came from army station back East. Some are volunteers from Hawaii and from various camps.

MU: Yeah. But, in retrospect, you think the strictness paid off?

GM: (...) I think it helped me.

MU: Did you feel that he had tremendous pressure from the top people?

GM: (Yes), I think he did. (...) We were looked upon as, sort of enemy aliens from another world. [Laughs] Don't trust 'em, see.

MU: Yeah. Now was the Japanese language courses easy for you or...?

GM: It was kind of easy for me.

MU: ...because of the five years...

GM: (Yes.)

MU: You didn't have to stay up midnight to study?

GM: No.

MU: Uh-huh. So...

GM: No. I think, I thought I had it pretty easy. But I had trouble with kanjis.

MU: Oh, you did.

GM: (Yes.)

MU: But you could speak it pretty well, huh?

GM: (Yes), I could speak it pretty well. That's why they -- I had frontline duty, interrogation, and interpretation.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.