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-02-0004

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MU: Okay, then when did you come back to the States?

TM: Graduation was March, 1934. I was seventeen. And my dad, who was already in Japan, said, "You will go back to the United States." So I said, "Well, okay." And there was no two-way about it.

MU: No arguments.

TM: [Laughs] No argument. And that's what a lot of us did. So, I think about twenty days or so after graduation, I left my home town, went to Yokohama, and came back here in the Hikawa-maru.

MU: Oh yes. Now, 1934 would be about the time that you came back here? 1934-1935, let's say. I kind of forget my history, but was Japan already pretty much involved with military preparations -- the China incident hadn't happened yet?

TM: Uh... it depends on what is meant by "China incident," but something was going on already. It started in 1931.

MU: Oh, okay, okay.

TM: And so when, while we were in high school, the feeling was pretty bad.

MU: Already.

TM: Yeah. And to mention one thing, we were in Yokohama, ready to take Hikawa-maru to come back here, and the day before the ship sailed, a friend of mine I happened to meet at a hotel -- a fellow from Shizuoka -- and he and I were going to take the Hikawa-maru to come back here. So we went down to see the ship and after we saw the ship, here comes a young, young adult in uniform, a blue uniform, approached us and asked what we were doing. So we said, "We are going to take this ship to go back to the United States." And he gave us a lecture for about a half an hour, "Do you know what is happening in Japan?" He talked about the Manchurian Incident, and, "How come you young people leave the country? We need you." So we had to say, "Well, we were born there and our parents say we should go back." But he, he thought that we should stay and taken into the army and fight for the country. Yeah, he gave us a lecture for half an hour. So, that was one example of what was going on in Japan, then.

MU: Yeah, that's a good indication -- your real intensive training during high school, and something like this -- sure does indicate that war was going on.

TM: Yes.

MU: So okay, you come back to the States. And what happened after you had come back to the States?

TM: Well, although my parents were in Japan, I had an uncle here in Seattle. So I came to depend on him. And he, I got here in early April, and school was already going on, but the school was going to be out in June, he said. And so I stayed with him for about a month. And his wife, who goes out to the countryside to pick berries and whatnot during the summer, she took me to Bellevue to pick strawberries. So that was my first experience in this country.

MU: Earning some money.

TM: For about a month I went to pick strawberries and it was tough work, bending down, and pretty soon, I wasn't able to get up in the morning. I had to fall out, or fall off the bed. That's how bad it was. And toward the end of the season, I got used to it. But then, by that time, there weren't too many strawberries left. So yeah, I worked about a month.

MU: Earned some money.

TM: Yeah, I made about sixty dollars. [Laughs]

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.