Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Yoshimi Matsuura Interview
Narrator: Yoshimi Matsuura
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Bloomington, Minnesota
Date: June 17, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-myoshimi-01-0010

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TI: So you, what year did you graduate?

YM: 1936.

TI: And so you're a graduate in 1936, what do you do after you graduate?

YM: After I graduated, I worked on the farm. I had a brother who was going to the University of California.

TI: And was that Art?

YM: Art, Art was in University of California in architectural, and in those days, it was a five-year course. Not the four year as it is now, five years. So the plan was that he would go to school and he would finish, and then on down the line, and I would get my chance to go to school. And in the meantime, my brother Herb, who was only a year behind, but he was, graduated same year as my brother Art because he skipped a grade. And he worked on the farm for a couple of years and then he went to Fresno State. Which meant that we had two going to school at that time. And somebody had to work the farm, we needed the income.

TI: And so it was because of the, I guess, the economics, your family could only afford --

YM: One, originally one at a time, but then we had two because Fresno State was the local school, so commuting to school. Art was in Berkeley, California, which required a little bit more. But it was the family, the way we did things in the family. And eventually Art stayed out of school for a year or two and helped on the farm while Herb was going to school. And then he went back to school. And then my sister who graduated from high school, nothing for her to do on the farm, so she started Fresno State. So I was still waiting my turn. [Laughs]

TI: Yeah, so how did that make you feel? That your older brothers got to go to college fairly, fairly quickly, and then your younger sister joined and then you worked the farm?

YM: We didn't, really didn't bother me too much because I figured somebody had to do it. And I figured my time was coming. But matter of fact, my courses in high school was more in the agricultural. And I had, we went to a pruning contest, and I won the pruning contest, county pruning contest. And that's when I got my A-plus. [Laughs] So that was the lone A-plus that I got. But anyway, I had planned on going to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. I had hoped, that was my hope.

TI: And did you ever have these discussions with your father or your mother about, kind of, waiting and your turn would be coming? How did you kind of know all this?

YM: I think I took that quite well. I never pressed them for it. I figured that's something we had to do. But I know my ag. teacher, who really introduced me to Cal Poly, eventually he moved to Fresno State, to teach at Fresno State. And when I met him one day, he said, "Well, consider Fresno State because we have a good Ag. Department." He knew, he said, "I know you were talking to Cal Poly, but why not Fresno State? But I never got there, war broke out.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.