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-01-0012

<Begin Segment 12>

TI: So at this point, were you pretty much running the farm? Were you kind of in charge?

YM: Yes, yes. I was running that particular farm. We were renting another farm, but we gave that up just a year before that and moved back to where I was born. And it was a case of cutting back because of the war (...). And it was the right choice, I think.

TI: And during this time, I get a sense that you were quite good at farming, you were kind of growing and expanding the acreage. Were you reaching the point where you were thinking of buying land on your own and expanding that way?

YM: No, I wasn't. I was still thinking about Cal Poly. [Laughs] But in the meantime, of course, with the evacuation, all that fell through. And my wife and I, of course, we were dating, and we decided to get married because her family... rumors were flying, and everybody was going in a different direction. Her sister, her boyfriend was in Fresno Assembly Center. So she went to Fresno assembly center to marry him.

TI: This is your wife's sister.

YM: My wife's sister, Opal, went to Fresno Assembly Center and married Frank Kebo in the assembly center. So she joined him in the assembly center and they moved to, they went on to Jerome, Arkansas.

TI: And so you and your wife --

YM: We had, yeah, we were, we decided to get married because we didn't know where her family would be sent. We couldn't go to Fresno County, city hall to get a marriage license because it was out of the area. We couldn't travel into that area, wrong side of the highway. So we traveled to Tulare County City Hall, Visalia, town of Visalia, which happened to be in Tulare County thirty miles away to apply for marriage license. And we had a three-day waiting period, so we applied for marriage license and made arrangement with the Presbyterian minister, Reverend Brown, in the Presbyterian church in Visalia to marry us. Three days later, my, took my brother and her sister along as witnesses. Went over, picked up the marriage license in Visalia and went to the church as pre-planned with Reverend Brown and got married and that was our wedding. Went home, my sister and my mother cooked up some things, and her folks and my folks got together and that was our wedding party. And the government paid for our honeymoon in Gila, Arizona. [Laughs]

TI: Gila River. But going back in terms of... generally weddings are celebratory, happy events, what was your wedding like under these circumstances? Here, all this uncertainty, I'm just trying to get a sense of kind of the mood of people during this time.

YM: Well, it was a case where everybody was worried about what was coming up and how do we prepare for that and what do we take and so forth. So there was no celebration at all. It was just one of those days that we were married, and next day we started planning for what's next. Matter of fact, that evening when we got back and we were having dinner, this person who was to rent the place, Armenian person who was to rent the place came over and wanted me to help him do something on the farm. And I told him, "Well, not right now." He came later and he said, "Will you please come?" And I guess I was little rough with him, but he couldn't understand why, and that was our wedding day. [Laughs] I should have been in a better mood.

TI: That's a good story to give you a sense of, kind of the pressure, the stresses that were involved.

YM: We had a team of horse and a team of mules, and he couldn't harness it. That was the big problem. [Laughs] He wanted me to come over and harness the mule.

TI: But this was your wedding day.

YM: That was my wedding day. [Laughs] But those were different. Those days were different. Next day, we were planning on what do we take and what do we do with this and what do we do with that. We had people coming through, wanted to buy something, or wanted to not buy, they wanted something. "We'll take care of this, we'll take care of that."

<End Segment 12> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.