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-02-0007

<Begin Segment 7>

MU: Okay, then we come to Pearl Harbor. So you couldn't finish school.

TM: Yeah. That was Sunday, and Monday I went to my class not knowing what was going to happen. A few students, the Caucasian students came to me and said, "You got nothing to do with that. So if anybody gives you a hard time, let us know."

MU: Oh really?

TM: Yeah. So, I felt very assured. I had no trouble -- of course, I had my own Model A Ford so I had no trouble going to school, but I understood one or two girls, Japanese girls who used to take buses to school, the buses didn't wait for 'em. They saw, the driver saw the girls, but they skipped them. So they couldn't come to school on time. But nothing like that happened to me.

MU: Do you remember the hakujin boys that...

TM: No, I don't remember, but I can recall the face, but yeah, they were good boys.

MU: That was a bad time, but there were good people around.

TM: Good boys. Yes.

MU: Now, what was your reaction when you heard that bombs were dropped on Pearl Harbor?

TM: I didn't like it. I knew, I could tell, lot of people saying the relationship between the two countries was getting worse. In fact, the Japanese consul, diplomat, was going here and there, different churches, to tell the Japan side of the story. But then his English wasn't too good, so people didn't understand him. But the local students, college students, went to help him. And I think one of the famous boys is Kenji Ito. I think he's in Los Angeles. I guess he's still living. He was a debate, debate man. I believe he was taking law. People like him helped the consul, not the general, consul. There were a couple of occasions when the Japanese community held kind of a speech contest wanting us to tell Japan's side of the story to the community. And I took part in it at one time. So, that's how things were. I could tell, like in the restaurants, they were talking bad things about Japan.

MU: In the restaurant...

TM: In the restaurants, downtown..

MU: Downtown restaurants.

TM: Yes, I could hear it.

MU: Overhear the conversation...

TM: The air was bad. I thought, "Gee, what a thing." I didn't know what was going to happen to us and the rest of the Japanese. Then I heard somebody was taken in by the FBI. Somebody's house was searched. I heard of a house, family member taking food and things like that to the immigration office where the father was incarcerated. And all these things were going on, and I wasn't sure whether I was able to stay here.

MU: Yeah.

TM: But in the meantime, I had my draft card.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.