Densho Digital Archive
Preserving California's Japantowns Collection
Title: David Matsuoka Interview
Narrator: David Matsuoka
Interviewers: Jill Shiraki (primary); Tom Ikeda (secondary)
Location: Sacramento, California
Date: December 10, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-mdavid-01-0017

<Begin Segment 17>

TI: But, David, listening to your stories, you must have been a pretty good worker. Because all these, like the coal job and then the ranch, I'm sure there were lots of other people they could have asked, but somehow, they always, you got these really interesting jobs. Do you know, what is it about you that you think, that got you these jobs?

DM: I don't know. I don't know how I got the jobs, really. Especially that coal job, I don't remember how I ever got it. Unless this buddy of mine that, you know, he had a job. This is the guy that was in the same barrack. I still don't remember how I got that job.

TI: Now, the ranch job, was that also still nineteen dollars a month?

DM: That was sixteen dollars a month.

TI: Okay, so you had to take a cut in pay. [Laughs]

DM: (Yes), that's more like... that's more like it. But the coal, well, that's nineteen dollars, because we know who gets nineteen dollars. I said, "Nineteen dollars?" So when I signed the check, I went to my dad, he looks at it, too, and he says, "What kind of work?" [Laughs]

JS: So your paycheck went to the family, to help the family? Your dad... you did the part time job, and then the money that you made...

DM: Oh, what did Dad do with it?

JS: Yeah. Did he...

DM: Well, in the evenings, we had one of those old electric one-pot stove. We used to make beans or coffee and all that. So evening we got something to snack on, so Mom used to make that. I guess that's what he used the money for, I don't know. I don't know where the money went.

JS: Okay. So needs that the family had to buy extra things, food to cook inside the cabin, or any things that you needed?

DM: Yeah.

JS: Okay. Did your other siblings work in camp, did they have jobs?

DM: Yeah. My younger sister used to work in the mess hall, and the oldest one used to be a artist, so he used to work for silkscreen. And then the next one went in the 442nd, so he was in the service. I don't know what the other two did. Oh, the third one was a dishwasher, that's all. And I don't know what Walter did. You know, you got to talk to Walter, I don't know what he did. Did he tell you what he did?

JS: Did he tell us?

TI: He did, I can't recall right off.

DM: He didn't have an exact job?

JS: We can't remember, but he did talk about some of his memories, he did talk about Boy Scouts a little bit and going camping.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright (c) 2009 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.