Paul Bannai

Nisei male. Born July 4, 1920 in Delta, Colorado. Grew up in small mining and farming towns in Colorado, Utah and Arizona, until his family moved to Boyle Heights in the Los Angeles, California area. After graduating from high school, he tested discrimination and employment practices and eventually succeeded in obtaining a job at a bank. During World War II, his family was held in Manzanar concentration camp, California. Mr. Bannai joined the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and was later transferred to the U.S. Military Intelligence Service. He served in New Guinea and elsewhere overseas, was an interpreter for the Allied Translator and Interpreter Service (ATIS), and interpreted at the surrender of Japanese forces at ceremonies in Indonesia. Married and eventually resettled in Gardena, California, where he worked in the floral industry before founding the Bannai Realty and Insurance Company. An extremely active community and civic volunteer, Mr. Bannai joined the Elks Club as well as many veterans' and other organizations. He was elected to the Gardena city council in 1972, and in 1973 was elected to the California State Legislature. In 1980, Mr. Bannai became the executive director of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC). In 1981, he was appointed chief director of the Memorial Affairs Department of the Veterans Administration by President Ronald Reagan.

Interviews

Paul Bannai Interview I — ddr-densho-1000-128
December 28, 2000. Seattle, Washington.
02:27:06 — 27 segments.
Paul Bannai Interview II — ddr-densho-1000-150
December 29, 2000. Seattle, Washington.
02:34:58 — 25 segments.
Paul Bannai
API