Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Sadaichi Kubota Interview
Narrator: Sadaichi Kubota
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: July 1, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-ksadaichi-01-0007

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TI: And this is sort of a tangent, but what happened to your oldest brother during the war?

SK: Well, we lost communications. So after the war ended, he repatriated to Osaka and stayed there and this is where I met him. That's a story in itself because we wondered what happened to him because all communications gone, but then my younger brother served as an interpreter in the China-Burma-India Theater of War, you see.

TI: That's with the MIS?

SK: Yes, with MIS. He ended up in Shanghai (where) he used to visit this corner coffee shop. He told the Japanese proprietor, "I have a brother here in Shanghai, but I don't know what happened to him." So the man said, "We have a Japanese newspaper here. Why don't you put an ad in there?" So he did and couple days later my older brother came to meet my younger brother at this coffee shop, and they had a great reunion. And, of course, I didn't know this at that time. For myself, I was being sent home to be discharged so I told my parents that I would like to remain in the army for a little while more. They asked me why. I (said), "Well, I'm concerned (about) my older brother. I don't know what happened to him and I would like to look for him." So I asked the authorities here if I could extend my service, they said, "Yeah, okay." I told them, "I know a few Japanese language and if I'm given a little more training, I'm quite sure I could be of use to the army, military," so they said, "Okay." So on my way to Minnesota, Minneapolis, where the Japanese school used to be, I stopped over at Camp Beale, I think. And my brother -- I didn't know that my brother was there -- he came to see me at the officer's section. And I was surprised to hear that he found my brother in Shanghai, you see, and he told me the story about the ad in the paper. So I was kind of relieved that at least he was safe and he was alive, so when I was in Fort Snelling studying, (...) a letter came from one Miss Hadley. I thought that was strange, but then -- because this letter was sent to my home in Hilo, and my sisters forwarded the letter to me and in it it said that she had met my brother.

TI: Your oldest brother?

SK: Older brother, yeah, that he was all right and he's relocated in Osaka. So that gave me more incentive to get through with school and be sent to Japan. So when I reached Japan, I headed straight for GHQ, and she happened to be one of the secretaries working for General MacArthur. And I always wondered how in heck she got in touch with my brother so I'm assuming that all the (names of the repatriates) would go through her desk so I assume that she saw my brother's name and found out where he lived so she contacted him, yeah. So anyway, when I met Miss Hadley she said, "Oh, yeah. He's okay." So like a nice lady she phoned the Osaka office to send a message to my brother that I was in Tokyo so a couple days later he came to Tokyo and we met.

TI: And describe what it was like when you, when you first saw him.

SK: Oh, it was really terrific, yeah. He was really thin, skin and bone, and I told him, "Let's take a bath together." We were in the NYK building. We took a shower and oh, my goodness, I could just see his ribs. And he explained to me that (they) survived on grass and potato, young shoots of potatoes, Irish potatoes, and stuff like that, sweet potatoes. And I really felt bad, but at least I knew that he was alive. So we had a nice reunion.

TI: What was his reaction when he saw you? What did he say to you?

SK: Same thing.

TI: He was happy to see you.

SK: Yes. He (said), "Sadaichi." Yeah, I still remember. (...) "Yoku kite kureta" -- "I'm glad that you came" -- yeah. So we had a nice reunion, yeah. Then I had a chance to take a troop of about 200 from Zama to Kokura -- that's in Kyushu -- and along the way he said, "I'll meet you at Itsukaichi." That's in Hiroshima. That's where my parents came from. So on my return, after delivering the troops, on my return to Zama I stopped over at Itsukaichi, and I met my brother over there again, and I met my other relatives so that's really nice. But the thing (is) that when I first enlisted, there was a call for Niseis to volunteer, so without even asking my parents, I went immediately to the board and registered, and then I went home to tell my parents about it. And they said, "Why did you do it now? Can't you wait?" I (said), "Well, since Japan and America are at war and I'm an American citizen, it was my duty to enlist." They (said), "What about your brother? He's a Japanese citizen." "Well, I know he's a Japanese citizen and he may be in the war right now. I don't know because our communication has ended." But after explaining to my parents that it is a must for me and they were concerned (also); they said, "It's okay, we understand your feelings so just do your best, just do your best."

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.