Densho Digital Archive
gayle k. yamada Collection
Title: Barry Saiki Interview
Narrator: Barry Saiki
Interviewer: gayle k. yamada
Location: El Macero, California
Date: October 20, 2000
Densho ID: denshovh-sbarry-01-0008

<Begin Segment 8>

gky: What role do you think that the Nisei played in the reconstruction, in the dismantling, and the reconstruction?

BS: Dismantling? I don't say that the Nisei contributed greatly to the dismantling because they were not the authority. But they gave the orders, they followed the orders and gave them to them. But, at the same time, I think MacArthur and the GHQ staff realized that Japan was so badly battered that instead of taking action of dismantling, they had to do some form of preservation. So there was a period in maybe '47, '48, they began to change the concept. You know, they can't eliminate all the industry as originally planned. We had to allow them to develop, because otherwise the people would starve, there'd be no work.

gky: Can you think of anything else?

BS: Anyway, I think that actually, the Korean War was the start of the rebuilding of Japan. And also, our government realized that unless we help build Japan, we're going to have a hundred million people that we're going to have to feed. We want them to feed themselves.

gky: So the goal was to make Japan self-sufficient?

BS: Right.

gky: Although, it couldn't defend itself.

BS: Uh-huh.

gky: Any last thoughts on what you would want Sachie to remember when she remembers you and your service?

BS: Well, I think one of the things to remember is, you know the expression, "kodomo no tame ni," "for the sake of the children." See, our parents talked in terms of our life. They did everything in terms of how to produce a better outcome for us, like going to Japanese language school, telling us to get an education, telling us to go to civil service, to get jobs in civil service, okay. That's why you find that many Niseis did actually go into education. Many friends of our were college professors. Now the second generation should encourage the younger ones. Think in terms of the children, and the same applies to the fourth generation. And that is the only way they can build up. They may lose their ethnicity, but the sense of etiquette, things of that nature, can be retained. It doesn't make any difference. It can be taught, and it has been carried out over the succeeding generations. I think that's the important thing.

gky: It's not really a Japanese thing. It's sort of a family value.

BS: Yeah. It's family value. It changes gradually, but it is family value.

gky: Okay, thank you. Oh, let me ask one thing. What years were you in the service?

BS: I got... I was...

gky: 1943 you went in?

BS: No, 1944.

gky: '44.

BS: Well, they kept -- in August of 1944, that was active duty, November of '44, and then I retired in November of 1966.

gky: Okay, and what rank did you retire in?

BS: Lieutenant colonel.

gky: Okay, now when -- I should just put that you were in the U.S. Army from '44 through '66? Twenty two years?

BS: Yeah, I was an intelligence officer. Yes.

gky: But not in MI?

BS: Well, I was in, you can say I was actually army infantry for the first year and, after that, I was an intelligence officer for twenty-one years.

gky: Okay.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright &copy; 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.