Matsuko Hayashi

Born in 1921 in Parlier in Fresno County, California, Matsuko Hayashi (pseudonym) grew up as the second oldest of the eight children of a first-generation immigrant who had come to the United States as a sixteen years old, and his wife who had come as a "picture bride." They raised grapes on three farms that Matsuko's father and his brother had bought. She remembers her father's affection for the family and his dedication to Buddhism, and how busy her mother was raising children. They hired Mexican laborers and operated their business successfully, winning many blue ribbons for their products at state fairs. Matsuko recalls how the family enjoyed going to camping at Yosemite, and how she went to a Japanese school on Saturdays and Sundays, which she found not effective in teaching her Japanese. As for the American school that she attended on weekdays, she recalls how her teachers were prejudiced against the Japanese. When she went to Japan in 1940, she felt her Japanese classmates were biased against Americans like herself. She and other Nisei at her school in Hiroshima spoke in English, making their Japanese classmate believe that the American students were bad-mouthing their Japanese peers. On August 8, 1945, she was injured and lost consciousness after the bombing, but she survived with the help of her Nisei friend that she knew from a sewing school she had attended in Hiroshima. She lost one of her sisters to the bombing, whom her family was able to identify only because of the white nametag she wore. After losing her Japanese husband to the war, Matsuko came back to the United States in 1947, went to a drapery school and worked in Hollywood as a dressmaker, and was remarried to a Nisei who had been a "no-no-boy" in Tule Lake and expressed no concern about the fact that Matsuko is a survivor. As a dedicated Buddhist, Matsuko spent her married life focusing on raising family and working at a nursery, and interacted with other US survivors only occasionally. She feels that being attacked by the bomb was like being hit by tsunami; it was shikata ga nai (It couldn't be helped).

Interviews

Matsuko Hayashi Interview — ddr-densho-1021-4
3-Jun-12. San Jose, California.
1:23:29 — 29 segments.
Matsuko Hayashi
API