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-02-0020

<Begin Segment 20>

MU: Now, after you went to Japan for occupation work, when... did you get a chance to go to Hiroshima and take a look? What was your reaction when you went there and when was that?

TM: While the war was going on, I did ask for overseas assignment but they wouldn't let me go. So the war was over and I asked again, and they said, "We will consider." And I even thought of leaving the army, because we were able to take a discharge, but not knowing what is taking place in Seattle, and I think one or two people who did come back to Seattle went back to Fort Snelling and said, "Very unfriendly in Seattle." So I thought, well, by then we had daughter, a child, so I thought maybe I should stay in another year or so. So I said, "Well, I'll stay in another year, would you let me go to Japan for the occupation duty?" And they said yes, but that never happened. So I thought well, maybe they don't want me to go to Japan. But in 1946, they -- '46, yeah -- the school moved from Minnesota to California, to Presidio Monterey, and about that time they were saying I could go. And I did go in August of 1946.

MU: How long did you stay?

TM: I stayed 'til August of 1950. Four years.

MU: Now, during that time, did you get to see Hiroshima?

TM: Yes. As soon as I... from Zama, where it was a staging area in Japan, when I was assigned to so-called ATIS, which was headquartered at NYK building, right in front of Tokyo Station. The office asked me if I had relatives in Japan, and I said, "Yes, I have parents." They said, "Take either a week or a ten-day vacation and go visit them." So I did.

MU: That's to Fukuoka?

TM: On the way to Fukuoka, our train stopped at Hiroshima Station, and I got off the train to take picture, and it was all level -- nothing. Maybe there was some chimneys, but it was flat. And the train didn't stop very long, but I was able take a picture or two.

MU: That was in 1946?

TM: 1946.

MU: That was about one year after the bomb was dropped...

TM: Yes. A little more than one year.

MU: The effects of the devastation was still pretty much evident?

TM: Oh yes, yes. And even a few years after that, the devastation was visible because a few years after that, my wife and I went to Hiroshima. Yeah, it was terrible.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.