Densho Digital Archive
gayle k. yamada Collection
Title: Kan Tagami Interview
Narrator: Kan Tagami
Interviewer: gayle k. yamada
Location: Mililani, Hawaii
Date: January 5, 2001
Densho ID: denshovh-tkan-01-0006

<Begin Segment 6>

gky: So, what kind of things were you expected to interpret for General MacArthur?

KT: Well, I didn't have a clue. But, from the position that I was occupying, I'm supposed to be his interpreter and I didn't know who the Japanese counterpart, visitor would be. I found out that they mostly were courtesy calls for assuming the new position, like the prime minister, Bank of Japan director, president, judges, and politicians.

gky: Were you ever called on to interpret between an individual's meeting, you know, a member of the general public, as opposed to some sort of official?


gky: You were talking about interpreting for civilians that came to see General MacArthur.

KT: No, not civilians. There were some who wanted to see him, but their requests was too broad and we didn't know who he represented. There were others who was pleading their case for their husbands, like Tojo. His wife was Austrian, I think. She used to come every day to request that his ashes be given to her, but there was a rule; he was a major war criminal and his bones will not be released to the widow. There were others like a group that claimed they were the emperor, they called them the Southern Group, that always claimed they were the emperor's lineage, but that, all those things were sort of died out.

gky: What happened to Tojo's ashes if they weren't given to his family?

KT: What's that?

gky: What happened to Tojo's ashes if they weren't given to his family?

KT: Well, I don't know what the time limit was, but it wasn't -- it was strict. If you were a major war criminal, your bones or ashes will not be given to the family and no cemetery.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2001 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.