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-02-0019

<Begin Segment 19>

MU: Now, I wanted to get your reaction on the atom bomb. In August of '45, the atom bombs were dropped. You were still in Camp Savage at that time?

TM: Yes. No, at Fort Snelling.

MU: Oh, Fort Snelling at that time, right.

TM: Yes.

MU: What was your reaction to that knowing that your relatives were in Japan? What was your reaction?

TM: Well, of course, that fell in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I didn't have any relatives in either one of the cities. But my wife had -- her parents are from Hiroshima -- so I guess she was very much concerned. When I heard, oh my, that's the end of the war, and I thought, "Gee, how nice." But I felt sorry for the hundreds of thousands of victims, and justification, I didn't know what to think. I one time thought that, "Well, she started the war, and this country finished the war," and one way to interpret that is, "So, that happened." And another way, of course, is something else, but I didn't know what to make of it. So many people died at one time. I was hoping that American air force gave 'em warning. I'm not sure exactly how that happened.

MU: Did you know how much damage that could have done? That bomb, the powerfulness of the bomb and devastation it can cause?

TM: Not other than, not other than what I read in the paper then.

MU: There was some articles in the paper afterward, that's afterward?

TM: Yes, afterward. We were in Minneapolis, so I read in the paper just what the bomb could do, or bomb did.

MU: And did they talk about the radiation and its effects for possibly generations?

TM: Yes, right, right. They thought nothing would grow.

MU: For a hundred years, somebody...

TM: For many, many years, which isn't, wasn't the case.

MU: Yeah, thank heavens it wasn't. Did you get to talk to your colleagues about the bomb, or...

TM: Well, we were all talking about it.

MU: You all talked about it?

TM: It's a new bomb. How devastating it was, and in the future, more and more bombs like that will fall, we thought. So in fact, after the war was over and I came back to Seattle and -- this is much later -- but when we bought a house, I wanted to buy a house which was as far away from the center of the city as possible. [Laughs] So I bought a home, we bought a home in Lake City which is, I don't know how many miles away, maybe ten miles away from the downtown. I thought we should do that. [Laughs]

MU: Now, when the bomb was dropped, were you married at that time?

TM: Yes.

MU: You were married?

TM: Yes.

MU: Well then you knew that Mitzie had relatives in Hiroshima.

TM: Yes. Well, she...

MU: She must have talked to you about that.

TM: Yes. Just what happened to 'em, of course, she didn't know.

MU: Yeah, well, anxious times.

TM: Cousins, and second cousins, and the other relatives, you know, the parents, brothers and all that, were in Hiroshima, that's true.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.