Lillian Matsudaira oral history interview, part 3 of 3, August 25, 2007


Dublin Core


When Lillian Matsudaira moves to Philadelphia, she works at an insurance company as a clerk. Lillian stays in Philadelphia for nine months before going to Cleveland. In 1945 Seattle reopens, and Lillian goes back home at the end of July.

Lillian's sister returns to their family home first. Lillian says when she returns home, she prepares the house for her parents' return from Minidoka. Later she learns about her family receiving death threats.

Lillian discusses John's family's homecoming from Minidoka. When they return home, there is nothing left, and they did not have money. Fortunately, the Matsudaira family receives assistance from Saint Vincent de Paul and other religious affiliations. John does not return home from the hospital until February 1947. John is wounded in Rome in October 1944 by shrapnel. John also receives threats as well after returning home from camp.

Lillian shares John's basic training and war experiences. In Mississippi, there is segregation. Either it is white or black. Japanese Americans are considered white. Lillian says the Asians are not treated as badly as the African Americans in the South.

Lillian feels proud of her husband John for serving during World War Two. She says their contribution liberated the Japanese Americans and shows that the Japanese Americans are good as anyone else. The 442nd opened opportunities for other Asians to have a chance to have a better life. She reflects on American history and the generational gaps between Nisei and Sansei.

Lillian and John have four children and seven grandchildren. She shares memories of her children and John's interests and hobbies.



Oral History Item Type Metadata

Date of Birth

1922 Nov 26

Location of Birth

Entrance into Service


Matsudaira, Lillian: narrator, Horsting, Robert: interviewer, and Go For Broke National Education Center: publisher, “Lillian Matsudaira oral history interview, part 3 of 3, August 25, 2007,” Japanese American Military History Collective, accessed June 13, 2024,