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

<Begin Segment 1>

MU: Okay, this is an interview with Takashi Matsui. The interview is taking place here in Seattle. I am the interviewer, my name is Marvin Uratsu. Tak, let's start off with the question: where you were born?

TM: I was born in Hood River, Oregon. Hood River is about eighty miles east of Portland, Oregon, along the Columbia River.

MU: And when was that? When were you born?

TM: Oh, a long time ago. [Laughs] 1917.

MU: Makes you about eighty. How many brothers and sisters?

TM: I have two... well, I had two brothers and two sisters. But my immediate brother died in the Japanese army during the last war. So now I have -- and then one of the sisters died -- so I only have one brother and one sister.

MU: Are they still in Japan then?

TM: They are still in Japan, yes.

MU: Now, where did your parents come from?

TM: My, both my parents came from Fukuoka, southern part of Japan.

MU: Any special reason for them to come to Hood River?

TM: I understood that somebody decided that that was a good place to be. Because it was sort of a dry country, they raised fruits, you know, apples and whatnot. And work is supposed to be so hard. So, not only my parents, but also his cousin -- cousins, settled in Hood River, I guess, early part of the century.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

MU: Did you grow up in Hood River?

TM: I was born -- and at about age three, I was taken to Japan by my mother.

MU: What was the purpose of that?

TM: Well, about that time, I understood that the Japanese pioneers thought that we, especially the boys, should be educated in Japan so that, for one thing, we can communicate with our parents, and for another, they thought the American education was no good. I understood that was the reason why I was sent to Japan.

MU: Okay. So you didn't stay in Hood River that long, you, at age three --

TM: I don't remember anything about Hood River when I was a child.

MU: Okay, so, you went to Fukuoka, and who took care of you there?

TM: My mother.

MU: Oh, your mother took you back, and she stayed with you?

TM: She stayed for a short while. And she became sick and died in Japan.

MU: Oh, she did. Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. So, then who took care of you?

TM: My grandpeople -- grandfolks.

MU: Grandparents. And you stayed there for what, fifteen years?

TM: Fifteen years, until I finished high school.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

MU: Do you remember anything that was really interesting, that sticks in your memory about those fifteen years there?

TM: Yes, the education in Japan, as compared with the education in the United States, was quite different. It was more... well, the country was poorer, to begin with. But we had a lot more discipline. And the upper-classmen, especially in high school, used to be mean to the lower-classmen. They used to beat up the lower-classmen if any of us looked a little different like, oh, the way we behaved, way we were dressed, and whatnot. Of course, we all wore uniforms. But they used to pick on somebody who looked different. I guess that's typical of Japanese character, they pick on somebody different.

MU: Okay. Now you were from America. Did they pick on you?

TM: Oh, they didn't know. Because I grew up since what, age three or four...

MU: Oh, before school.

TM: Oh yeah, way before school time. So I was no different from the rest of them. But later on, in high school, I guess -- I didn't say it -- but everybody knew that after I finished high school I was to come back to the United States. They knew that.

MU: Did they treat you bad after that?

TM: No. For one thing, they used to beat some of my friends and my turn came to be beaten, and a fellow said, "You better not pick on him, because he belongs to the judo team." And so they checked with the judo people, and sure enough, I was a member of the judo team, and they decided not to beat me. [Laughs]

MU: So while we're on judo, how far did you get in judo?

TM: I had my black belt in, from Oita budo-kan.

MU: A black belt would be the top class?

TM: Yes. Shodan.

MU: And how old were you then?

TM: I believe I was seventeen -- no, I was sixteen when I got that, a year before graduation. And our school had a very good judo team about the time we were the committee there.

MU: Anything else that you remember while you were there, before you came back?

TM: Oh... while in school?

MU: Yes.

TM: Well, the, while we were in high school -- maybe you heard about it -- high school students had to undergo a type of military training. And that started, I think, from about the third, third grade, or third class. And oh, about three years -- we had five years in high school -- we had to carry rifles and do all the drills and maneuvers. And before graduation, I believe we spent something like two weeks with soldiers. And...

MU: Soldiers of the Japanese army?

TM: Yes. We went to their barracks. I remember we went to some place in Oita, and lived with them. And ate their meals and worked with them for about two weeks.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

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.

<Begin Segment 5>

MU: Well, then, you started going to school here?

TM: (Then) came September, and well, there was, I think it was known as the Jefferson Elementary School where they had three classes for foreign students like us. And I was assigned to one of the classes. See, that was September, and I stayed there until February of the following year, 1935. We learned reading, writing, conversation, and American history which was the toughest course, American history. [Laughs] I didn't know the history. So it was tough. Interesting, but very tough. So I stayed there until February and then a teacher suggested I continue on to high school, I wasn't sure. But (she) said, "No, you can handle it." So I started at Broadway High School. And yeah, it was tough. Science classes (and such) were easy, chemistry was easy, math was easy, grammar was easy, but reading, reciting, American history, now that was something else. [Laughs]

MU: But you finally made it?

TM: I finished high school in 1938.

MU: Then you, what did you do from there?

TM: Well, at that time, as I recall, about 25 percent of the students went to university or college. And some of my friends started to look for a job and some of them found jobs, odds and ends. But I thought I should continue on so that I have better chance and I did attend the University of Washington in 1938. I was supposed to be the class of '42, but toward the end of '41, something happened in Hawaii.

MU: [Laughs] What was that?

TM: Bombs started to fall.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

MU: Okay, Tak, all during this time, how did you support yourself?

TM: I worked in an American family, for an American family. And after a little while I was able to drive, and so I drove for a doctor whose family I was staying with. And he used to make the rounds Saturday and Sunday and he didn't want to drive, so I drove for him. And during the week, if necessary, I drove for him. But during the week, I had to study so I didn't do much of it. And then in the meantime I learned how to cook, so I cooked for the missus. She appreciated it. [Laughs]

MU: Did you get better pay for it?

TM: A little raise, I guess. Then I was earning something like fifteen or twenty dollars a week.

MU: That was pretty good money, wasn't it?

TM: It was not bad. And you asked me how I supported myself. During the summer, like lot of other boys, I went to Alaska to work in salmon cannery. And for about two and a half, three months' work, we used to bring back about three hundred dollars.

MU: Big money.

TM: Net. It was a pretty good arrangement. And so I never had to look for money.

MU: Your uncle didn't have to help at all?

TM: Oh, no. No.

MU: You did that going through high school and the university?

TM: Yes.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<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.

<Begin Segment 8>

MU: Excuse me, but did you know anybody that was taken by the FBI?

TM: Yeah.

MU: For special incarceration?

TM: Yes.

MU: You knew some people that happened?

TM: Yeah. Mr. Honda is one of 'em.

MU: Who was he?

TM: He was here in Seattle, exporting logs, lumber to Japan. He was one of the big-time operators. The reason why I knew him was that I knew his children, and they were going to the university. Of course, I didn't see the FBI actually taking him out, but the children told me.

MU: Talked about it...

TM: Yeah. And the mother, their mother later told me. And she asked me to look at some of the papers that he had in his desk. And there were Japanese war bonds and things like that. And the mother, who was half-Caucasian, thought that, "Well, maybe he deserves to be incarcerated." [Laughs]

MU: Oh, because he had the Japanese bonds and...

TM: He invested some money.

MU: Are there any other stories that you know of like that?

TM: No. That's the only one I know, but about that time, I been hearing all kinds of stories. Somebody's father was taken in, somebody's father was taken from the golf course, all that. I don't remember the details, but I been hearing all that.

MU: Sure.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

MU: Apparently you were not surprised that Pearl Harbor happened then?

TM: Certainly, I was surprised, but I don't know in what form this was going to take place.

MU: This eruption...

TM: I don't know how the war was gonna start, but I was surprised.

MU: You were.

TM: Especially when without warning, you might say, she came to attack. I didn't think it was right, I thought it was coward, you know. And they say that in Japan. Shoot, shoot people from the back, or in the back, they have a saying in Japan.

MU: Contrary to the samurai code.

TM: Contrary to the old tradition.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

MU: Okay, let's go on now, you got your draft card, was it, or did you volunteer?

MU: No, I was drafted. I had a draft notice when I was working in a cannery up in Alaska. And, but there was no way, there was no way to come back here. So I had a letter written for me by the superintendent of the cannery saying why I couldn't come down, and I came back to come down to Seattle, I believe early September, and I reported to the draft board and I said, "I'm still going to school." So the board said, "Well, you can ask for extension or deferment," which I did, and they gave me a deferment 'til sometime in December. So I was able to attend the fall quarter. But after the fall quarter when I went back to the draft board and asked for another extension, they said, "No more." So I quit school and left some of the things with my uncle, some of the things at the Caucasian family, and got ready to be drafted, which took place in March of the following year, 1942.

MU: By that time, your father was back in Japan?

TM: Yes, he was in Japan a year before that.

MU: And how about the rest of your brothers and sisters?

TM: They were all in Japan. I was the only one here.

MU: When, well, especially when Pearl Harbor happened, did you think of them? What might happen to them?

TM: Yes, yes, yes.

MU: Did you try to get in contact with them at all?

TM: No, I don't know. Maybe I did write a letter, but I don't know what I did or... I don't recall what happened.

MU: Did you try contacting by, or through the Red Cross at all?

TM: No, I didn't do that. I guess I felt, no use doing that. [Laughs]

MU: You felt kind of lonely out here, then, huh?

TM: Well, oh sure. But I had my cousin and my uncle and friends, so I didn't feel so bad.

MU: Not too bad.

TM: Uh-huh. I thought eventually, I'm going to have to be in the American, or I'll have to be in the service.

MU: The American army service.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

MU: Okay, now that was in '42 or so, 1942 that you entered the army? March of... what happened after that?

TM: I was at Fort Lewis for, I believe at least two weeks, every day getting shots and doing nothing, of course, waiting. A lot of Caucasians were coming and going, coming and going. We didn't go anyplace. And then every day, I see more and more Nisei, I guess, the Japanese, and the Chinese. And then there were about, I believe two, almost two dozen Nisei at Fort Lewis. At least ten, anyway. No, maybe a dozen or two. And so after about two weeks or so, I had an order to, the order said I am, I have the leadership. So I should take these men to Camp Robinson, Arkansas, for basic training.

MU: So how many men under you, or in your care?

TM: I think they were divided in two groups and I believe I had about ten or a dozen.

MU: When you were the head, leader?

TM: I was supposed to be the leader. But the two boys that came from the farming area like, near Yakima, they were told to go home.

MU: Now, why was that?

TM: Because they were farmers. They were told to go back and work on the farm. I wish I was a farmer, too. See, Spokane is about, at least 300 miles from here so nothing happened to those people.

MU: Were they recalled later on, do you know? Or drafted again later on?

TM: No, I don't know.


MU: Now, we're talking about your leading a group to Camp Robinson, was it, in Arkansas? Was that a mixed group of soldiers, or was that all Nikkei?

TM: The fellows that went with me, they were all Nisei.

MU: Okay. Was there any reason to go to Camp Robinson that you could think of?

TM: No.

MU: Nothing in particular?

TM: No, no reason, I don't know. But the army does strange things. And I wouldn't know.

MU: Okay.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

MU: So okay, then you go to Camp Robinson, and then when do you join up with Camp Savage? Or get orders to go to Camp --

TM: Well, at Camp Robinson, Arkansas, we had to wait for the group that was already taking basic training, until they finished, they couldn't start with us. So we had to wait -- I forgot how long -- maybe about three weeks or so, before our basic training started. Our basic training started, I believe July and ended in September. I believe September of '42. No, no, it was sooner than that. Then we went to Fort Warren, Wyoming, for about a month. So I believe we finished in about June.

MU: At Camp Robinson.

TM: Yeah. And then we were assigned to Fort Warren, Wyoming, headquarters company. For me, it was about a month, until September.

MU: So how many in your group, or were you alone at that time?

TM: Where?

MU: Going to Wyoming.

TM: Oh, a whole bunch of us. I don't remember.

MU: Is that all...

TM: Thirty, forty of us.

MU: That's all Nisei, group?

TM: From Arkansas to Wyoming, yes. About, I think about thirty of 'em. Thirty of us, I guess.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

MU: And then, is it from there that you got orders to go to Camp Savage?

TM: Yes. The way it came about was, we were not doing anything at Fort Warren, being assigned to the headquarters company. We were just moving old furniture and stoves and things like that from one end of the warehouse to another end of the warehouse, back to the same place. An old civilian used to tell us what to do every day. And so one day I was in a day room of the company, and happened to notice a little booklet, saying how to speak Japanese. And a friend of mine and I were looking at it, and found quite a few mistakes. And we were criticizing the book and I think a Caucasian sergeant heard us commenting on the book, and I believe he mentioned that to his company commander, who reported that to somebody, and so in about couple of weeks I had a -- three weeks or so -- I had an order to go to Camp Savage.

MU: Were you alone at that time?

TM: Yes.

MU: Or, others went with you?

TM: No, I was the only one who got that order. I wasn't sure whether I was being punished or what. And I didn't know what Camp Savage was, nobody knew. And I got on a train, and ended up at Camp, no, Savage, Minnesota. And a black porter says, "This is Savage, you get off over here, now." So I got off. And somebody was waiting for me there.

MU: A welcome committee, huh?

TM: Yeah, a committee of one. [Laughs]

MU: So what happened after that?

TM: Well, he took me to so-called Camp Savage, which was only a few blocks away. It didn't look like a camp, it looked like a... I don't know. Some kind of a rest area. I think that's what it was. And he took me to Colonel Rasmussen, who was the commandant of the area. And immediately he showed me a Japanese textbook and asked me to read. And I read, and he asked me, "What does it say?" So I told him in English what it said, and he said, "Oh, fine. I will assign you to A-1 class." And that was top class outside of special class at that time. The school was going on since June. And so it was halfway through. And the next day I went to class A-1, and there were fellows like me in the class. [Laughs] So that's how we started.

MU: You got to know the fellows pretty fast then, because they were all like you, similar backgrounds, huh?

TM: Most of -- to me, most of the students in there were Kibei boys. There were some so-called Nisei but I was able to get along pretty well with all of them.

MU: Now, with your background, MIS school must have been very easy.

TM: Yes, it was easy. Of course, the basic training was easy, too. But school work, learning how to read and write, and, of course, conversation was no problem. Military terminology was also no problem. And so it was a very easy life for me.

MU: How long did your class last?

TM: Our class ended in December, before Christmas.

MU: So that would be three months?

TM: Yes. Half of the school was over.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

TM: So after the school was over, we were told to go and visit our relatives, parents, and whoever we have, so I took a vacation to go to Minidoka, Idaho, to see my...

MU: Incarceration camp.

TM: Yes. My uncle. I heard about relocation while I was in Arkansas. A friend of mine wrote to me.

MU: What kind of comments did he make about the camp, incarceration camp?

TM: What did I think of it?

MU: No, what did he write in his letter? Recall?

TM: Oh. He wasn't from Minidoka. In fact, this was a "she," who was a student at the University of Washington. And she went to somewhere -- I forgot where -- university someplace. And she wrote me from there. And said, "Oh, the Japanese evacuated," and she had to evacuate, too. But she was able to register at some kind of university where she was studying.

MU: In other words, she went to one of the camps, incarceration camps, and from there she went into the university at --

TM: I don't know whether she went to the camp or she went directly to the school. I don't know which.

MU: Well, okay. Now, you took your furlough and went to visit your uncle in Minidoka, which is one of the ten camps. Tell us what happened; how'd you get there in the first place?

TM: Well, I'm sure I took a train to -- because I wrote and asked my relatives, my uncle, how to get to the place. And I had a reply from my cousin where to get off as far as the train station was concerned, so I did. And there was a -- I believe it was shuttle bus, from Twin Falls to the camp. So I went by bus.

MU: Of course, you were in an American army uniform?

TM: Yes.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

MU: And when you arrived at the gate at Minidoka, what was it like?

TM: It was a strange feeling. I had no trouble getting in there.

MU: Was there American soldier at the gate?

TM: Yes. There was guards there on the ground, and up in the watchtower. Of course, they didn't give me any trouble. But some of the people that I knew were there, and I felt that some of the people who were in there saw me and they looked as though they didn't want me to see them. They were a little bit ashamed, or so I thought. Others didn't feel that way, the way they looked. Some of 'em were kind of ashamed, being in there.

MU: Did some hold resentment against you for being in the American army uniform?

TM: I don't recall. In fact, I was welcomed by my friends. I went to different compounds, to see how the inside looked like. Went to the hospital, into the mess hall, and whatnot. And I was able to bring my camera with me.

MU: Oh, you were?

TM: And lots of people wanted me to take picture. They weren't allowed to have cameras.

MU: Yeah. And did you get a picture of the inside of the...

TM: Yes.

MU: quarters and things like that? You have those in your album?

TM: I still have them. Yes, I have them in my album.

MU: Can you describe a little bit...

TM: It was a small place. I noticed my uncle had -- I guess like anybody else -- had one room, and couple of beds were there. I believe there was some kind of stove, it was December. And aunt said there was lots of dust come in from outside, through the window. And cold, 'course they had stove, but nevertheless it was cold. And not much in a little room. No, hardly any furniture. They weren't allowed to carry too many things anyway. So they were there...

MU: How many in the family in that small room, you're talking about?

TM: Well, their daughter was already out, going to school, and son was... son was attending Brigham Young University, so only the old folks were there.

MU: Oh, the uncle and his wife?

TM: Yeah. So as far as that goes, I guess the room was all right, but he said there are families with children. And you can hear the babies cry and all that. Well, he was, of course, he was from Japan. And he was resigned to cope with the situation. There wasn't anything he could do.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

MU: Now, on the one hand, they're having the Nisei serve in the U.S. army, and the same government, same government is putting the parents and uncles and aunties of the Japanese Americans into American-style concentration camps. It must have been very hard for you to reconcile the two thoughts?

TM: Yes, it was, but Japan was at war with the United States. And Japan was the one that started the war, you might say. So I guess the American people didn't know what to do with us. I guess they didn't trust us. I don't know what, why, but I guess they were afraid maybe if Japan or Japanese armed forces ever land on the West Coast, they get mixed up with the local Japanese, and they were afraid of that. Whether that was good enough or not, I don't know. To me, it wasn't good enough, but it's a emergency, wartime, and I thought there isn't much the Japanese could do.

MU: You thought that, you thought that fear on the part of the American public had a lot to do with what happened to...

TM: That's the way I heard. That's the way I read the paper, and things like that, and maybe they were afraid. In fact, down in Oregon, I think a Japanese submarine fired on some kind of building. And nobody knew what was going to happen. Nobody could guarantee. But now, reading a story of that time, Japanese would never have attempted to land over here. Attack on Pearl Harbor was more than enough. So they couldn't do more.

MU: Maximum effort. They didn't have the facility to do any more.

TM: But there was no way for Americans to know that.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

MU: Well, now, you visited your auntie and uncle at Minidoka, and then you went back to Camp Savage, did you?

TM: Yes.

MU: And why was that?

TM: Well, after about, about ten days, I believe I went back and reported in, and they told me I was to stay as an instructor, so immediately they gave us a promotion.

MU: What were you promoted to?

TM: I believe I was promoted to staff sergeant.

MU: Big deal. [Laughs]

TM: From twenty-one dollars to, I believe ninety-six dollars.

MU: That's a pretty big jump.

TM: So that was all right.

MU: Now, when you got back there, there must have been others that took furloughs also, and they must have visited relatives in incarceration. Did you get a chance to exchange notes?

TM: We talked about it, and we thought how lucky we were, not in there, not in one of those camps, although we were in the service, and... I don't know. It was a mixed feeling. We weren't exactly happy for being in the service and seeing a lot of Japanese in the camps. We weren't exactly happy, but compared with them, we thought we were lucky, if you call it that. And we had freedom, and so I believe I felt I was lucky.

MU: Was that the prevailing thought of the people when they all got back together?

TM: I think so. Yes, I think so.

MU: Okay.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<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.

<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.

<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.

<Begin Segment 21>

MU: And were you... well, let's talk first about going to Fukuoka. You did you see your rela-, father and mother, no, father, I guess. Your mother was gone by then.

TM: Well, I had stepmother.

MU: Oh, you did? Okay.

TM: I went as far as the Kokura station, and it was toward evening, and the stationmaster came and said there was no more Allied personnel car -- not a train, but a car -- available going down that part of Kyushu, so the question was, the choice was whether I would take a regular car with the Japanese, mixed with the Japanese, or wait 'til the following morning. And I said, "No, I'd like to go right now." So they, stationmaster, imagine stationmaster came out and said, "All right, then we'll give you a seat." In fact, he gave me four seats, you know, they face each other like this. Then four people can sit. And outside of the window, they said, "This is exclusively for occupation forces," he wrote down in chalk. And then in the meantime, he told his staff to telephone the station where my father was living, and go to my father's place and tell him that I'm coming, arriving at certain time. And of course, he was waiting.

But I got into a really congested car, and everybody was looking at me in a funny way, because I had four seats to myself. And everybody was standing, and I felt kind of bad. Of course, I was in uniform, so I asked a obaachan, elderly lady closest to me, I said, "Please sit down." And she said, "No, no." Then I asked an old man, "Please sit down." He said, "No." So I said, "Well, I was born and brought up not too far from here, and I happened to go to America when I was young, and I came back, and so I'm going to see my folks. So please sit down." And one obaachan sat down. And after she sat down, everybody came to sit down. [Laughs] Asking me, asking me where I was, what I did, and where I was brought up and all that. And so they were kind of amused, strange to see same kind as them in different uniform. But the train took about fifteen minutes to get to the station, so I didn't have too much time to talk with them.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

TM: Yeah, I saw my parents, and I felt like crying.

MU: Well, natural, natural.

TM: Yeah, and I...

MU: Well, I imagine they felt the same way.

TM: I didn't know how they would react. But everybody was happy that I came back.

MU: They didn't hold it against you?

TM: Oh, no, no. Mother said, "We are so glad you came back." I think the reason was, my immediately young brother, younger brother died in Port Moresby, New Guinea. And he never came back. So I came back, so folks were very happy. Especially, I had a lot of things for them; you know, towels, sugar, and soap, chocolate candy, and whatnot. I had duffel bag full of all kinds of things. And I think they were doubly happy that I brought those things -- [laughs] -- back to them.

MU: But they were pretty short of all that?

TM: No, they were living in countryside, so they didn't have much trouble finding food. But well, soap, meat, certain clothing, sugar, something like that, cigarette, I guess, were in short supply. So they were very happy to see me. I don't smoke, I didn't smoke, I never smoked, but I brought down to them cigarettes, and my father was very happy. [Laughs] He was a heavy smoker.

MU: Well, did you spend a few days there, then?

TM: Yes, I stayed there about four days. I went to see the school that I attended and saw the instructor -- the teacher. They were surprised to see me.

MU: Your teacher was still alive?

TM: Yes, he was there, and at first he couldn't recognize me. But later he recognized, and this was, I believe Saturday, not a school day, but one teacher was there. And he was so happy to see me. [Laughs]

MU: Did you by any chance run into any classmates?

TM: Not that day, but later on I saw classmates in the neighborhood.

MU: They hadn't all been killed, then.

TM: Well, some of 'em were. Some of the, some of the neighbors were killed, friends of mine were killed, some of them were younger. I visited our graveyard, and I saw the names of some of the boys younger than I.

MU: Oh, I see.

TM: Yeah, several of them. And I felt pretty bad. But yes, I did see one who was a neighbor of ours, and he was wondering what happened to me, too.

MU: I'll bet. Now, your younger brother was killed in Port Moresby?

TM: Yes. He was, he was a bright boy from grammar school on through high school. He was always number one. And I think -- I don't know what year, but after the war started, I believe -- he was commissioned in the, I think he was commissioned engineer, army engineer. And so he was one of the early ones to go down that way.

MU: And how did you know that he died?

TM: Mother told me when I, when I went to visit them.

MU: Okay, did you, were you able to go back and visit them again while you were stationed in Japan?

TM: Did I ever go back to see them again?

MU: Yeah.

TM: No, no. But my father came to visit us in Yokohama after we were settled, working for war crimes. He came to stay with us for oh, I don't know, about three or four days.

MU: And so, at that time, was he able to see his granddaughter?

TM: Yes.

MU: Was it granddaughter?

TM: Yes, yes.

MU: That must have been a happy occasion.

TM: He seemed very happy.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

TM: And I, we had a 1946 Plymouth that we had shipped from...

MU: Oh, you did?

TM: ...California to Japan, when wife came to Japan to join me, and my father said I should leave the Plymouth with him. [Laughs] I didn't know how he was going to afford to pay for the gas, but he thought I should leave the car.

MU: So you did?

TM: No.

MU: You brought it home?

TM: No, I... well, we were there for four years, and about second year, the PX started to -- army PX started to sell cars.

MU: Oh, I see.

TM: We had to draw numbers and we happened to draw a number and we were able to buy, now that was... I think a '47 Chevrolet, and after we bought that, we sold our Plymouth to -- I don't know who bought it. I think a Caucasian sergeant or somebody bought it. One of the neighbors.

MU: So, what happened to the Chevrolet?

TM: Oh, Chevrolet, we also sold before we left Japan. And we paid, I forgot how much, but not much though. Less than two thousand dollars. And we took a depreciation of seventy-five dollars after two years of use. [Laughs]

MU: Good deal, huh?

TM: Yeah.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

MU: Okay, now let's get back to your assignment in Yokohama. You, what was your assignment there?

TM: After I went there in '46, and after my active duty was coming to an end, I had a choice of either coming back to the U.S. or stay there, and then lot of friends of mine were staying in Japan. They had lots of job for civilians and the army, too, but we were paid more by being a civilian so I hunted around for jobs. And they wanted me in Tokyo and couple of other places, but the one in Yokohama sounded the best. And so I took this war crimes trial investigator's job from something like 19 -- I believe -- 47, June of '47. So my active duty terminated sometime in May, went to Zama for the separation. I had a, I had a commission by then, first lieutenant, but I gave it up and stayed in the reserves from June, and I had some leave which I didn't take, so in the beginning I was getting all kinds of money. You know, new civilian job, and I used the leave money which they paid me cash, and I started to send money to my wife, and she thought I was gambling.

MU: Oh, she was still stateside at that time?

TM: Yeah. And she came to Japan about Thanksgiving time in 1947.

MU: Well, tell me more about your duties in these trials. What class of...

TM: Oh, before that I was assigned to a number of places, but the first assignment that I had was with fundamental research, and what to do with precision machines belonging to universities. And our job is, was to visit different universities and listen to professors of engineering, and eventually we returned all the precision machines back to the universities. That was with the GHQ job. And then I was assigned to IX corps in Sendai, then they sent me to Sapporo Eleventh Airborne and they were processing repatriates, Japanese coming back from Russian side. So our job was to screen them and get military information. And that lasted 'til about May. [Coughs] Excuse me. May of '47 until I took a discharge, and then from June I started to work for war crimes. It was an interesting work, we worked with lawyers and, for about three years. I did some legwork for them, interviewing witnesses, taking affidavit statement, working with American and Japanese lawyers, and sitting through the trial, it was very interesting for me, very educational.

MU: What class of war crimes...

TM: This was B-class in Yokohama. The A-class trial had to do with the policymakers, like Mr. Tojo and others. Ours was more of a direct involvement like beheading of fliers, denying medical supplies attention, mistreating our prisoners, bayoneting B-29 fliers, things like that. And so I was, the suspects were more of a direct involvement, like when POW camp was bombed, I think it was in Osaka, and the fire started because it was an incendiary bomb, the fire started in the prison compound. Some of the American prisoners weren't able to move, disabled. But they had to evacuate right away. So somebody started, and they said by way of bushido, they beheaded. Ending the misery instead of burned to death. But in the eyes of Americans, that was killing POW. So there were cases like that. Wives used to come around begging for mercy, we couldn't do anything. They were giving things to American lawyers, they thought that might do some good. I told them, "Don't do it."

MU: Makes it worse.

TM: Because judges are the ones, not the lawyers. There were many, many sad cases. There were some happy people when we were able to work so that they were found not guilty, as in the case of a major general in the medical corps, his name was Uchiyama -- I still remember. He and his family came to see us after the trial was over -- he was found not guilty. And so he was very happy. And then like commandant of Tokyo, Kempeitai, he was sentenced only ten years. We worked hard in his behalf. So those people were happy but by and large, the rest of them, well, they were found guilty, some of them were sentenced to be hanged, and others were sentenced to many long years. After the peace treaty I imagine they were exonerated. But I told everybody, "Never lose a war," because when you lose a war, that happens. [Laughs]

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

TM: One interesting thing in that was one time I was looking for a witness, and I happened to go to Tokyo, and very close to a sumo kaikan, there was a hospital. And I was looking at all the names on the beds, and I found the bed occupied by general of the army, Iwane Matsui. So I said, "Oh, this must be the famous General Matsui that marched into Nanking," you know, where the "Rape of Nanking" took place, and he was held responsible for that. But anyway, he was in bed, so I said in Japanese, "Matsui-kakka desu ka?" "Sir, are you General Matsui?" And he was lying down, and all of a sudden he woke up, says, "Who are you?" I said, "My name happened to be the same, Matsui. I'm an American citizen, and I'm helping the defense of the war crimes." And he said, "You are the first person who called me 'kakka' for long, long time." And he was so happy. Gee, he sounded like a child. Kakka doesn't mean all that to me, but to him, it was important. I think he was a taisho, which is a four-star general.

MU: Oh, really?

TM: No, three-star. Three-star general. And I thought that was kind of silly, but...

MU: It was an interesting story.

TM: [Laughs] Interesting, yeah. He was happy.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

MU: Can you tell us a little bit more about the details of the acquittals that you're talking about?

TM: Well, it was a matter of working hard to find evidence or witnesses who would support the defense. So we did work hard to find somebody and eventually -- of course, by asking a medical officer, the major general, but a lot of Japanese then were hesitant to show up. Because they thought maybe they'd get tried, too. But there was one good man who helped his case.

MU: Which case would that be?

TM: That, major general.

MU: Major general.

TM: I think he said the major general was away most of the time. And that he shouldn't be responsible. If anybody, he said, it was somebody in charge of the medical end of the business of that unit. But this man, major general was in a higher position and he shouldn't be held because it wasn't his policy. And he was a very gentle man and kind man, and so when a witness like that came and gave us affidavit, I think the judges believed him. So he was found not guilty. But we had to work hard.

MU: How about the other case?

TM: Well, the other case, too, we found witnesses that were favorable to this Kempeitai commandant. He was a full colonel, but we found a witness -- I forgot he was, whether he was this colonel's staff member or not -- but this witness said this commandant was a very kind person, very fair, and although the officers under him were not so, not so good, they were, mistreated and all that, but this man would never go for that. And in fact, from time to time, he used to give warning not to mistreat American prisoners. And so anyway, he was sentenced to only ten years, which is name only.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

MU: Well, I'd like to ask you about some of the cases that went against you, against the defense, but was there any, maybe one single one that was, you'd consider maybe not fair?

TM: Well, there was a navy unit on Ishigakijima, which is a little bit, well not too far from Okinawa. And B-29 fliers came down, they were captured, and one or two, I think, maybe two, not one, were bayoneted to death. And so the commander, not the navy commander, but I mean, he was commanding officer, and executive officer and others who participated in the mistreatment were tried. And one bad witness they had was a medical officer, a navy lieutenant. He said that these prisoners were buried alive. No, they buried the flier alive. And so in addition to killing -- you know, buried alive, which to Americans was extra bad -- anyway, we asked, as an investigator I asked, and then we asked at the trial, too, "How did you know that B-29, one of 'em, was alive when he was buried?" "Well, he made some kind of noise, so I knew that the man wasn't dead." Well, others who took part in the bayoneting and all of that, said the man was dead. So they buried him. Well, during the course of the investigation, I remind you he was a navy lieutenant.

MU: A Japanese...

TM: Yeah, a Japanese navy lieutenant, and he was still young. I kept on asking him, "How do you know, how can you do that? Because of your testimony, look at all these people are gonna be maybe hanged. Don't you have any mercy? Didn't you..." I kept on sort of persecuting him and he said in the end, "I have a wife and a child. And I know what I'm saying, and I'm telling the truth." I said, "No, you're not telling the truth, but it sounded good from, if you say that, so the prosecution promised you something else." And he said, "No." And I kept on working on him, and pretty soon, he got mad. Says, "You are Nisei" -- well, he didn't say Nisei -- but, "you are, your side won the war. All right. You got a lot of things: you got food, you're fortunate. But we're not; we lost the war. And for you to come to me and say all that," he says, "it isn't fair. If you were in my position, I'm sure you'd do the same," he told me. Well, whether I'd do the same or not, I don't know, I'm not a doctor. But he got mad at me, so I had to, I got mad at him, too. Yeah. So anyway, in the end, he says, "I'm sorry, I lost my temper." And that was exceptional.

MU: So the people on trial were still found guilty, or...

TM: Yeah. They were found guilty.

MU: They were found guilty.

TM: They were found guilty. All those who actually perpetrated bayoneting, and executive officer who is supposed to have given the order, and the commanding officer who decided to allow that, they were all sentenced to be hanged.

MU: Hung, huh?

TM: Other than those who did bayoneting were found "life." Guilty of, were found and sentenced to life. But until they got away with it after the peace treaty, but that's what it was.

MU: Well...

TM: And then, you see, those who bayoneted, bayoneted because they were ordered out there, in the front lines. Not to do it would be something else.

MU: Disobeying orders, huh?

TM: Order was absolute. And they were active navy men, and so... but that was not a defense. What can you do? So never lose a war.

MU: Yeah, that's why never lose a war. But in the main, you thought, was it fair? The way things were conducted, or...

TM: Pretty much, especially, I would say, on the surface. What the judges said to them-, among themselves when they were deliberating, I don't know. But on the surface I thought it was fair, but in some cases like this, whole bunch of 'em were sentenced to be hanged.

MU: So in the end, your advice is never start a war that you can't win, huh?

TM: No. [Laughs] Never start a war...

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 28>

MU: Okay. Well, we're coming close to the end, Tak. Is there any other thing that comes to mind that you want to, maybe tell us about your time as defense...

TM: Yes. While we were quartered, billeted in NYK building, so this was 1946, after I got there, and there was a dance hall in Ginza where we were able to go and dance after six o'clock. Up to six o'clock, dance was for the Japanese people, and after six it was our time. And on the way to Ginza dance hall, we saw a lot of these street girls. And a fellow like Shibuya who died, from Los Angeles, we used to tell those girls to go home. "Don't stick around here." And they used to say, "All right, it's easy for you say that, but we lost the war. We got nothing. We don't know how to make living, so we're here. We are not gonna go home." I felt so bad, young girls doing that.

MU: Real pitiful. Real pitiful.

TM: And one time there was -- I don't want to say what color the skin but -- American soldier on a jeep, not too far from where they were, those girls were, he was hitting a Japanese fellow. And so we were there and we happened to pass by. We asked, "What's going on?" And of course we were in uniform. And this soldier said, "Well, this fellow stole my..." something, so we asked the Japanese, "Did you steal something?" He said, "No, he must... I didn't steal anything. He just came around and I was talking to those girls, and he started to hit me." So we -- to make the long story short -- we kind of settled that thing, and we told that American soldier, "Don't come around and start a trouble like this, because we go by here all the time," we told him. There were a number of unfair treatment of the Japanese, and I was glad I was able to help some of the Japanese along that line.

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 29>

MU: Okay, we're getting real close to the end so, I wanted to ask you about that Japanese government award that you got after you got back to Seattle. Tell us a little detail about the reasons you got that award.

TM: Oh. In 1994, I was a recipient of -- [coughs] -- excuse me... Order of the Rising Sun, dual ray from the government of Japan for my service as the president of Japanese Community Service here, I did that for four years, but in addition, other services that I have performed like board member of Japanese Language School, Lions board president, Nisei Veterans Committee president, secretary of Japan-America Society, vice-president of World Trade Club, and things like that. And they said that I contributed toward the friendship and goodwill between the people of Japan and United States. This was -- I forgot what month, but -- I believe that was April of 1994.

MU: Well, with that happy note, we'll call it the end of the interview. And I want to thank you, Tak, for spending the time with us, and giving us a very interesting interview. Thanks a lot.

TM: Thank you.

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.