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Japanese American Confinement Sites /
World War II American Home Front Oral History Project

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Interview Transcripts

George Matsumoto Transcript

Conducted by David Dunham and Candice Fukumoto in 2013, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2015.


Photo of George Matsumoto

George Matsumoto describes his father’s immigration to the US from Japan. His father attended Lowell High School and UC Berkeley in the 1920s. George grew up in San Francisco Japantown and Pacific Heights before attending Lowell High School and UC Berkeley himself. He describes his trip to Japan and narrowly returning in 1941 on one of the last troop ships out of Japan via China. After Pearl Harbor, his family moved east to Dinuba, California, to avoid incarceration, doing farmwork. However, they were ultimately incarcerated at Poston in Arizona. George discusses his brief time in camp before being able to transfer to Washington University in St. Louis. He discusses his views of the war, given his familial ties to Japan, and how he coped in light of the difficulties he experienced. While still facing discrimination, George persevered as an architect, which led towards to a teaching position at North Carolina State University. There he designed The Matsumoto House. George ultimately returned to the Bay Area, where he returned to UC Berkeley and became a Professor at the College of Environmental Design. He also ran his own architecture firm, George Matsumoto and Associates, until his retirement in 1991. His papers are available at NC State University.

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