Densho Digital Archive
National Japanese American Historical Society Collection
Title: Takashi Matsui Interview
Narrator: Takashi Matsui
Interviewer: Marvin Uratsu
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 12, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-mtakashi-02-0018

<Begin Segment 18>

MU: Now, when you got into teaching, is there anything that happened during your tenure as teacher that was interesting?

TM: Yes. To me, the teaching job was not difficult. The level of Japanese was low. The level of Japanese we were to teach was low. And I hardly needed time to prepare. And so it was a real, real easy job. But I learned a great deal by teaching. And I think it's always that way. Teaching is the beginning of learning, they say. I learned a great deal about human nature, being able to get along with other instructors, some of 'em were civilian, they were getting a full pay, we were getting small pay. And then more and more people that I knew started to come to school, and they were my students. And I, I didn't want to make any difference. Whether they were my friend or not. So I maintained a very strict discipline as far as the class work was concerned. I think I was one of the most strict instructors. Mr. Aiso said that. [Laughs]

MU: Well, that means, among other things, that you didn't socialize with your class, students?

TM: Not while they were my students. If I happened to see them on the streets, yes. But I did not take a positive step to take 'em out, or anything like that. If they came to get additional help, I was very much accommodating. In fact, I stayed over after class to give them any coaching whenever they need it. So I was very glad to do that. But other than that, I had to draw a line somehow. Because I knew some of the fellows... well, for instance, Hiro Nishimura from Seattle, he was a student. No, he wasn't my student but quite a few of 'em from Seattle came, and I just had to be that way, which was kinda bad. But I had to.

MU: Did they ever come to you with personal problems?

TM: I believe, I believe a couple of them did. I think a personal problem had to do with, like needing time to take care of the family, or newly born baby, or some of them were married. Some of the students were married. And, or accommodations or things like...

MU: Oh, they had trouble finding a place to live?

TM: Yeah. But most of the students were single, but I believe there were some that were already married.

MU: Were you married about at that time?

TM: No, I was single. I got married later.


MU: Now, we're talking about your experience as a teacher at Camp Savage, and teaching was easy for you, and we wanted to ask you about experiences you had, possibly the students wanting some help, and so on. Can you think of anything else that you experienced during your teaching career that might be of interest?

TM: Yes. Later on, I was made chairman of our division which was all Caucasian. So in our division we had Caucasian, so-called officer candidates. And lots and lots of 'em wanted extra help. So other than class, or after class, a lot of them came and said, "How do you say this," "Is this all right," what not to say. Lots and lots of 'em came to get my individual help. And those were good questions. So they were making sort of a dictionary of their own. Imagining certain situation, and they wanted to know if they were saying it right, if they were pronouncing it right. So we have lots and lots of Caucasian students used to come taking my time, which was okay by me.

MU: That was after hours? After your regular, regular duties you were open to these people for help.

TM: Yes.

MU: And you were chairman of that group of instructors helping?

TM: That was in one of the academic divisions.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.