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-01-0004

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TI: Okay, and before I forget, can you tell me a little bit about your father first in terms of what he was like, sort of, personality-wise?

YM: My father was not a, what you call an outspoken person, he was pretty much reserved. He was, he had a conscience that bothered him, and he would never do anything that would go beyond what any limitation. Just to give you an idea, this farm that he had, worked on, he had the chance to buy that farm. He bought that farm from Jessie and Ace Wilkins because Ace wanted to retire. And California passed the anti-Asian land law, and instead of transferring the property over to an older Nisei who happened to be a citizen, which was done by other people, he figured that was circumventing the law. He didn't feel proper about it, so he sold it back to the original owner. Well, he could have just as well put it in somebody else's name and continued as if he owned the property, but he wouldn't do that. This is the type of person he was. He just wanted to stick straight, strictly to the law.

TI: So it sounds like he had a really high level of integrity.

YM: Yeah, he was one of these people that just didn't want to hurt anybody. He didn't mind people taking advantage of him, but he wasn't gonna do the other. But eventually he was one of the first one in the community to be picked up by the FBIs, we never know why.

TI: Yeah, we'll get to that later. So your father was doing the farming, and I asked about his personality. Let me ask about your mother. What was she like?

YM: She was very reserved. She didn't like to, didn't like public as much as anybody. Well, most of the time, she would be at home, background. Never really got involved in the community, family first, took care of the kids, worked on the farm.

TI: And so I was going to ask, when you said not that involved with the community, but in terms of socializing, your mother and father, what would they do after the work was done and to socialize with maybe other Isseis? Do you recall that?

YM: They had friends who called. But living on the farm like that was, it was a busy, busy life. They always had work to do, so weekends, yes, and they belonged to a Japanese church in Fresno, and that was part of their social life.

TI: And when you say Japanese church, what church was that?

YM: Japanese congregational church in Fresno. And we also had the Japanese language school in Fowler called the Koyuu Gakuen, and they sent us all over there to get the basic Japanese language, which I think they failed. [Laughs]

TI: Well, we'll get to that. So that's a good segue into, kind of, you. And before we talk about you specifically, let's talk about what siblings, I know you had a brother.

YM: I had, yes. Asami Arthur is the oldest, born in 1916. And Herb Harumi was born in 1917, and I'm the third. Just three, three of us, a year apart.


TI: So you're the third.

YM: I'm the third. And the fourth is my sister Minnie, who was five years younger than myself, 1923.

TI: Good. And --

YM: And then Taro.

TI: Okay, Taro. He's ten years younger than I am.

TI: So 1928.

YM: And then a sister, the youngest, youngest of all, Jane. Jane Suyako.

TI: And how much younger than...

YM: And she's seventeen years younger than me.

TI: Wow, so 1935...

YM: Seven years younger than Taro.

TI: Yeah, 1935, okay. So that's a, that's a...

YM: I'm giving away their ages. They might... [laughs]


TI: Okay, so good. So we have that, and you're like the third of six. There are two, four... four boys and two girls?

YM: Four boys and two girls.

TI: Good, okay.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.