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Serving in Malvinas War and its Impact (Japanese)

(Japanese) At the time, enlisting was a legal obligation in Argentina, so if the lottery drew your number, you were obligated to join, or to serve, rather. I was still a university student when I started my training, so I was discharged in less than eight months. However, on April 2nd, 1982, the Argentinian military commenced the invasion of the Malvinas Islands — or the Falklands as the British call them — and so it entered war.

That meant, of course, that those of us who had been discharged were expecting to be drafted up by whatever division we were affiliated with, or at least to receive some kind of communication. But in my case, I didn’t hear anything for a week or two, so I brought myself over to my unit's base, hoping there was some way I could contribute as an Argentine citizen.

The war was over in 74 days, about two and a half months. Right after I returned home, I told my parents that “I wanted to study international relations. Even if it costs money, I’ll pay for it myself, so please let me do this.” I changed universities, changed my major, and then I was able to go straight down that path and graduate. The war was a very big thing. I think it’s true that it had a very big impact on my personal feelings, my goals, and even how I live my life.

Argentina Buenos Aires Falklands War

Date: September 22, 2019

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Yoko Nishimura

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

Juan Alberto Matsumoto was born in 1962 in the city of Escobar, Buenos Aires, Argentina. He received an informal bilingual education attending the Japanese school in Escobar. While he was in college, he enlisted in the Malvinas War (Falklands War) and served as a signalman. Afterwards, he graduated from the University of Salvador in Buenos Aires with a degree in international relations. In 1990, he went to Japan as a government-sponsored student. He majored in Labor law at Yokohama National University where he received a master’s degree.

Currently he serves as a public relations legal translator, a court interpreter, and broadcast interpreter, as well as a lecturer at JICA trainee orientations. He also teaches Spanish language and Latin American politics and law at the University of Shizuoka and occasionally he gives talks on multicultural coexistence. He also provides various supports for Latin American Nikkei living in Japan. (February 2020)

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