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

[Correct spelling of certain names, words and terms used in this interview have not been verified.]

<Begin Segment 1>

gky: This is October 20th, the year 2000, with Barry Saiki. B-A-R-R-Y S-A-I-K-I, and it is pronounced...

BS: Saiki

gky: Saiki. Okay, we're in El Macero, California.


gky: Barry, you've given a lot of credit to your parents and that generation, in terms of helping you know Japanese. What would you say about the Issei?

BS: Well, I think of course the language school played an important role in teaching Japanese language students, MIS [Military Intelligence Service]. But every Japanese family, their parents were concerned about their future and, as a result, they encouraged their children to become bilingual as well as do good work in school, because they felt that, probably, education and the bilingual factor would play an important role in the future, because in the prewar days, there was a great degree of discrimination against Asians.

gky: So how did they learn it? By osmosis? They went to Japanese language school. They probably thought the school was free.

BS: Yes, they probably did. We probably thought that until we learned that our parents were paying tuition. Now tuition was in general nominal if the school was connected with a church because then the minister himself would be a teacher. But they also had private teachers, and these people had to be paid. But tuition was paid for these teachers and, of course, at that time, also, one of the reasons why the kids didn't want to go was because they went to the regular school, and then, after the regular school was over, they came back and spent another hour studying Japanese. Or in some cases, they studied Japanese on Saturday mornings, all morning. So it was a -- well, they felt that their playing time was being deprived.

gky: Did you also learn not only the Japanese language, but some cultural things or some values, certain values your parents may have had? Or would you attribute values like giri, or like -- I don't know. I mean, values like that?

BS: Well, I think every family, their parents had brought with them certain rules of etiquette and, therefore they emphasize, you know -- for instance, if you visit somebody, then be sure to greet them, be sure to take something, you know, a gift, a small gift as a token. That sort of thing was more or less -- well, the kids were told that these were the proper way to do things. In other words, they felt that there were certain moral values that should be taught. Now, of course, there was other things like -- for instance, my father enrolled all our kids into Japanese fencing. We did kendo. And the reason why he did that was because kendo taught etiquette. For instance, you had to, before you start the bout you had to bow your head, and then you present yourself, you face each other, and then you start whatever you're doing, the bout. So others encouraged them to take such things as -- for instance, the girls, ikebana, flower arrangement, or tea ceremony, and some of them men were taught judo, jujitsu.

gky: How do you think that learning those sports and those martial arts and those cultural things, how do you think that helps you understand what Japan was like?

BS: Well, in the first place, all of these activities involved a sense of discipline. So you were being given a lesson in discipline in whatever you were doing. Now each form has a different set of discipline. But, at any rate, if you get involved in any activity and follow the rules, then you begin to understand that there's a reason behind it. And I think that's how they acquired it.

gky: So fifteen years later, when you were in the service and you went to Japan, do you feel that helped you understand the culture there better than being just another -- like a hakujin or Mexican?

BS: Yes, I think, because in the case of kendo, for instance, they emphasized the samurai spirit, bushido, you see, code of honor and that sort of thing. So in other words, if you are having a duel in a kendo match, there were certain rules that you had to follow and you are taught that, and it became second nature to you.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright &copy; 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

gky: Let's jump ahead a few years. When you were there, after the occupation, what was it like going there for the very first time?

BS: Well, actually, I was in Japan when I was six years old. I'd gone there for a reason. My grandmother was dying, and so my father took myself and five other kids and my mother; the eight of us went to Japan because we knew that she was dying. She was dying. And she actually died about a month later, and, but I spent about a year going to a Japanese school, and my father -- because actually, my youngest brother was born in Japan. Actually, my mother was pregnant here and he was born in Japan. And so after his birth, and after several months, we all returned back to California. So I had some concept of what Japanese life was. Admittedly, it was the village, the rural area of Hiroshima, so I wasn't too sure what I would encounter. Except that the first day that the troop ship arrived in Yokohama, I was greeted by a spectacle which I'll always remember. But we had 2,000 troops on the ship, and there were about thirty or forty men in raggedy clothes on the pier, and they were evidently the work crew. Anyway, the GIs would smoke a cigarette and throw the butt on the pier, and there would be a mad scramble to pick up those butts. And the GIs thought it was funny. So some of them broke up a fresh pack of cigarettes. They broke it into two so you had forty butts, and they threw it, and this caused a mad melee, you know, as they fought to get those cigarettes. And at that time I wondered, "What is this?" The Japanese society, according to my parents, they would never do something like this. Fighting over something as inconsequential as a cigarette, but it was happening, and I was to understand, after I landed, why. And it was because Japan had been so badly beaten, that the entire population, much of the original code, were meaningless to a large percentage of people.

gky: It seems, I guess, hard to believe something so ingrained within Japanese people, as they grew up in school it was drilled into them, that kind of a code, and yet after the war it seems to not have held true.

BS: No, that's right.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright &copy; 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

gky: Something else you'd talked about was the train, taking the train. Can you just tell me a little bit about being on that first train?

BS: Okay. Now, we had 2,000 troops on the train, and gradually it took about six hours to debark all of these troops. And a group of officers that I came with, about thirty, we were the last to get off the ship. And we got on the truck and went toward the railroad station. As soon as we left the pier area back in Yokohama, there was nothing. Everything was flat. The only thing you saw was maybe an empty safe, you know, or a power line pole, and then the truck drove to the railroad station, and we got on our train. It was eight o'clock at night, and we were told we reached Zama in four hours. Well, Zama was only about 30 miles from Yokohama. Anyway, the train started to move and went about forty-five minutes, and it stopped. All of a sudden, out of the darkness, maybe fifty to a hundred women came, and they all had paper in their hands and they were all saying "shigaretto, kyandi." And the GIs would open the window and they were trading cigarettes and candy for the paper. And everybody was doing it. Anyway, the train started to move in the other direction. They had switched tracks. Well, I was the only Nisei on that train. So one of the soldiers came back and he said, "Lieutenant, sir, could you tell me if this is good money?" And he handed me two bills. It was a 50-cent note. And I said, "What did you get for this, get this with?" Anyway, he said, "I sold a pack of cigarettes and I got a hundred yen." And I said, "I'm sorry, but this isn't a hundred yen, this is a 50-cent note." A GI had never seen a small change note, so when they saw the 50 paper, they thought it was a yen. Everybody on the train had bought, had gotten one yen for their pack of cigarettes. So I said, "You know, you bought the cigarettes on the troop ship; it was six cents a pack. The yen is now worth fifteen to one, so you've got exactly six and two thirds cents." So everybody on the train made two-thirds of a cent in their first black market deal.

And then we made the second stop. This time, none of the soldiers would take the 50-cent note. But they were still trading. There was a woman standing outside my window with a child on her back. So I said to the woman, you know, "Don't you, aren't you afraid to be here when there's a lot of troops in the middle of the night?" And she says, "No, we do this all the time. We know the train's going to stop over here, and we come here to black market." Said, "Could you sell me something?" And I said -- you know, we were all CIC officers -- I said, "No, I can't sell you anything, but maybe I'll give you something." So I gave her a bar of soap. And she beamed and smiled, and said, "Oh, this bar of soap, I can take it to the black market tomorrow, and sell it for twenty yen, and that's enough to feed the family." That's what they were doing; they were out there to do black market in order to feed the family. That's what hundreds of women...

gky: That's sad.

BS: Yes.


gky: You told me before about going to eat in the MIS hall...

BS: Uh-huh.

gky: ...and people going through the trash. Can you tell me a little about that again?

BS: Okay. Anyway, the story continues on the train. The second time what they brought back was a note that looked like real money, but I knew it wasn't. So I called the Japanese car-boy and asked him, "Is this any good?" And he looked at me and smiled, and he said, "No, no." He says, "I'm sorry, Lieutenant, but that's a Japanese war bond. All those war bonds are invalid now." Okay. It turns out they also changed for something else. This time they got regular ten yen notes. It looked authentic. I asked the car-boy again, he says, "I'm sorry, Lieutenant, that's no good either. They just converted the notes last week; you have to have a stamp on there." So everybody on the train was cheated three times. On the fourth stop, they finally got the money they wanted. So everybody got an education about the Japanese currency system in the four-hour trip.

gky: Did you find it interesting, or odd, or what was your reaction to the fact that the Japanese were, I guess, trying to cheat the Americans?

BS: Well, I was kind of disappointed at first, but then I realized why on the following day. The next morning, all of our officers were sleeping in the barracks, you know, school, a converted classroom, they had cots in there. And we took our mess kit and went out to the mess hall to eat. Now this is March of 1946. It's a good seven months after the war had ended, okay. And we went in there, we got potato, powdered egg, bread, and sausage, cup of coffee, and we ate our breakfast. I ate about half of it, and I went to the -- there were four cans there. One, you dump your waste into one can, second, you rinse it, the third can, the hot water, you soak your mess kit, and you do it a second time, and that's how you clean your mess equipment. But as I was dumping my omelet into this garbage full of brown sludge, this kid standing there grabbed the omelet, and put it in his mouth and ate it. And I thought to myself, "Gee whiz, what a kook." I walked out to the back side, and I was going to smoke a cigarette. And I see about twenty women standing about 25, 30 feet away, and they all had one of these gallon cans with wire strung to make a bucket. And I was curious. So I went back to the trash can and asked the young fellow, "What are those women doing out there?" And he said, "They're waiting until the mess is finished." "And then what happens?" "Then they get the leftovers." And I said, "That's good. I'm glad the army is going to give them leftovers." "No, it's not what you're thinking about," he says. "You see this," there was this brown sludge. "They can come in and scoop one can of that sludge, and then take it home." And I thought, "Gee whiz." So I went back and then I went up to the ladies and I said, "What are you ladies going to do with the sludge you pick up?" She said, "We take it home and we cook it boiling hot, and then we eat it." And then I realized how desperate the conditions in Japan were. They were eating our garbage.

gky: How did that make you feel?

BS: It kind of -- I didn't think it was that bad until I saw that. In fact, another two, three months later, I even saw -- I went up to Nikko, which is a resort area, and there were a couple of kids get a bag. And they were poking around on the ground and picking up something and putting it in the bag. So I went down and asked the kids, "What are you doing?" He said, "We're picking up grass." I said, "What are you going to do with the grass?" "Well, we're going to take it home, and my mother is going to put it and mix it with some rice, and make zousui and gonna eat that." And that is what they were doing. So that is how desperate the situation was in Japan in postwar following its defeat.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright &copy; 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

gky: What do you think made the change in Japanese people? Today, they're considered fairly industrious people; they would be shocked to hear they were going through your garbage cans.

BS: They even had fights over who gets the garbage can of the army post, two villages, each wanted to claim their share of the garbage.

gky: I guess it's just hard for me to understand.

BS: It is.

gky: And also, not only that, but just being back in that time. Can you sort of paint a picture for me about what it felt like, what it smelled like?

BS: Well, you know, you can sympathize, but you can't sympathize for everybody because what was happening to that society is it was survival. Every family was getting rid of everything non-edible to buy edible things. I'll give you another example. Outside of our -- see, I stayed at a place called Norton Hall which was the living quarters for CIC. It was right across from the moat, the imperial moat. So one day, I went down to the moat to watch these Japanese, and they fishing. They had a pole and they were fishing. But they weren't catching anything. Maybe some of them would catch a small fish about that size. And so there was a man sitting there, and I said to the man, "Why do you fish when you always get these small fishes?" He says, "Well, I come over here not because I want the fish. Because I already did my fishing right after the war ended. After the war, all of the moats were filled with many fish. Before the war, if you walked by that moat and you stopped, you were immediately arrested by the Japanese police. After the war, we could walk over there and that's when we fished. We caught all the big fish and everybody in this neighborhood survived because of the fish that was in the imperial moat." So that shows you the degree of starvation that existed, okay.

Then in the summer of 1946, a friend of mine, the two of us, we had some candy, butterballs and stuff in our rucksack. We heard there were hundreds of orphans at Ueno Park. So he and I went there, and he was from Texas. Anyway, we were walking down. Pretty soon, fifteen or twenty kids are trailing us, and one of them talking to the other. "Hey, I wonder if he speaks Japanese?" And the other guy says, "No, I don't think so. He just looks Oriental." So I turned around and said, "Yeah, I speak Japanese." "Oh, it couldn't be. How could the Japanese wear an American uniform?" And I said, "Okay, line up." And I opened the rucksack and I started passing out butterballs. There were about thirty or forty to begin with, it grew to a hundred, hundred twenty-five. I ran out of butterballs. So there was a peddler there selling some grape sucrose. So I bought some and I divided that, and then I left. But there must have been at least a couple of hundred orphans hanging around in Ueno Park. That is how the conditions were. You can sympathize, but there is a degree; what can you do?

gky: Yeah, but it still would make me very sad. The people who were from the country my parents were from, who looked just like I look, were in that state of degradation.

BS: That's right. I mean, morality was shot.

gky: What do you think built it back up?

BS: Well, I'll tell you, when food became sufficient, then they realized, they went back to the old concept of ethics. The school also began to teach it.

gky: Did you see very many food shortages, like with specifically, with rice, or sugar?

BS: Uh-huh.

gky: Or what kind of things did you do, or could you do about that?

BS: Well, you know, actually, the Japanese government was told to prevent black marketing of rice, but when people are starving, they will take -- they will do anything. So they'll go out to the country and they will take anything. Like for instance, maybe a suit, an overcoat, and they go to the farmer, and they offer the farmer an overcoat for five pounds of rice, or something like that. And then they would bring it back to the city. But the police would check the stations to see what they were doing, if they were carrying a large quantity of food, they stopped them, and accused them of black marketing, and they will confiscate it. So they had to do some sort of control, but they allow a little bit to go through because otherwise, the people will starve.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright &copy; 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

gky: This is tape two with Barry Saiki on October 20th, the year 2000. Something that you said, I'm going to read you a quote that you said. "But the language background of MISLS [Military Intelligence Service Language School] was supplemented prior to school by the fact that our parents told us to learn Japanese, and we learned Japanese in private school. Regardless of our bilingual education, it was paid for by the Isseis, and some of the -- they were paid for by their parents because they were sent to Japan to get that training, and it was that background that was important in the army getting sufficiently was to perform."

BS: That's right.

gky: Can you sort of say that again to me?

BS: Okay.

gky: The part that I like a lot, is Issei, was that background was important for the army to get linguists for them.

BS: The problem with the Japanese language is not very simple, just like Chinese. So you have to have a background. And naturally, the parents spoke to us in the Japanese language, but they implemented their ideas by starting Japanese language school in all the major cities. Every place where there was a large Japanese community, they started a language school. Many of these were church sponsored or, rather, the church backed them up. But they were all paid schools. You paid tuition. At any rate, even though tuition were low, it provided a basic in to education. For instance, the vocabulary form in kana -- hiragana, and katakana, they learned that in the grade school, and then they gradually began to learn more of the Chinese characters. But one hour a day or going to school on the weekend, and, of course, they didn't get a really good education. But they had education in which they could talk with their parents. So then some of them decided to send their children to Japan for education, and so they were sent there and boarded with their relatives. They stayed there for four or five years, and then they came back. And still others were those that made some money. And they decided, well, they'll go back to Japan. And they took their kids to Japan where they got immersed with the Japanese education, but since these kids had American citizenship, you know, they could come back to the United States. In some cases, many of these people returned to the United States.

gky: One of the things that you also said was that some of the other things the occupation did was open the road for many Nisei. How did that happen?

BS: Well, they opened the road in several ways. One, you see, when the West Coast was cleared and all of us were shipped out and sent to the interior states, we found that the discrimination against the Japanese Americans were very light or moderate when compared to the West Coast. And, in fact, in some states, it didn't exist. A classic example is we went to Arkansas. In Arkansas, we found -- we went into town and we were, we wanted to go to a restroom. And there was a -- the only restroom available were the ones at the railway station. And they had "white" and "black." And when we wanted to walk into the black section because we suspected we were considered black, but we were ordered by the stationmaster to use the white. In other words, discrimination in Arkansas at that time applied only to the black, and applied... it's something that we couldn't understand. And yet they had lynching and things of that nature in Arkansas, and we were considered as white.

gky: That's funny, because yet you're not considered white, and that's why you went to segregated war, anyway.

BS: That's right.

gky: That's very ironic.

BS: Then also consider the fact that 20,000 Japanese Americans relocated to Chicago. You know, consider 20,000 people moving into a city, and they had very little problems dealing with the public.

gky: How did you feel at this time in history of being not white, not black?

BS: Well, I don't know. In my case, I didn't feel anything. I realized that I had an inferiority complex from the time when I was going to high school, and to eliminate that, I decided to take public speaking. And I enrolled in it in order to force myself to stand before the class every week to give a speech. And by the time I finished my senior year, at least I was able to get up and say something. But there were many Niseis who felt inferior, you know, and that's the reason why you hear the "quiet" or "silent American." It's true.

gky: Do you think that you had a bigger voice in Japan where you were not a minority, where everybody looks like you?

BS: Well, I wouldn't say bigger voice, because then you're dealing -- the type of work I was dealing with were with the elite, for instance, the government officials or the newspaper people or the political parties, not with the ordinary person. So, and they had very good education, and if you felt that you were elite among them, then you were being a snob yourself because they had a better education than you did, right?

<End Segment 5> - Copyright &copy; 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

gky: What difference do you think it made that you were a Nisei, that you were Japanese American during the occupation? You were Japanese American in a country of Japanese people.

BS: Well, first it's -- one other thing. Psychologically, you are at an advantage by being a Nisei in Japan because they look like you, right? And furthermore, from your background you have some concept of the standard of ethics that these people have. And in their way, you are more closely attuned to speaking to them, and I think this is also true. For instance, even during the wartime an American interpreter would find it impossible to try to go into a cave and call out people to surrender. But a Nisei would be more likely to do it because he feels a closer relation. And I think that also applies in after the war, because you are in a position that you feel that you are in a better position in understanding the other person's feeling, and they feel the same way.

gky: You mean the Japanese people treated you differently than the Caucasian standing next to you wearing the same uniform?

BS: I think they would because they could at least talk to you. See, with a Caucasian, they can't converse. So, you know, there isn't that feeling. That's the big advantage of the Nisei being the interpreter.

gky: It's been said that the Nisei acted sort of as grassroots ambassadors when they were over there after the occupation; the occupation couldn't really have happened the way that it did because of, except had the Nisei been there. Do you think that's true, and why?

BS: Yes, I think that's true because, as I say, you have to talk to people, you have to observe just like I did. I talked to many people to probe their feelings, and that's the only way you can understand. And I think that's what many of the Nisei do because they had relatives with whom they can discuss various situations. [Interruption] At any rate, our relationships and our friendships -- let me give you an example. My parents are from Hiroshima. My Japanese language basically I learned was Hiroshima dialect. Now when I went to Japan, the liaison conducted the liaison with the Home Ministry. The Home Ministry controlled all the police, all the files, information in Japan. One section that controlled the police and the fire department, Keio Tokucho it was, was headed by a man named Tanikawa. He was the son of a man who had immigrated to the United States, made money, and he returned to Japan with his child. And this child had gone to Todai, Tokyo University, and he was now one of the top ranking officials in the Home Ministry from Hiroshima, okay. In this, he had two subdivisions. One was headed by a man named Kato, and the other one by Murai. Kato was also from Hiroshima. Now if I went there and I asked for information from Mr. Kato, and I told him my parents were from Hiroshima, I got hundred ten percent treatment. See what I mean? Because I could also tell him I knew the village where I came from. I went to school there as a kid.

gky: So it's kind of like...

BS: Another example is Sankey [George Kiyoshi Yamashiro]. Now Sankey is an Okinawan. His parents went to Hawai'i from Okinawa, so he spoke the Okinawa dialect as well as the Japanese, okay? He became the interpreter for the high commissioner in Okinawa, and he became a favorite of the Okinawa officials because he's one of the few people who can speak Okinawa dialect. So they would do anything for him.

gky: You're talking about George Sankey?

BS: Yeah.

gky: How do you think, as sort of an observer, but a participant also, how do you think the MIS worked with the Japanese people to help create a, recreate their society?

BS: Well, I think from the fact that MIS people by the nature of their background, having some knowledge of Japanese society and Japanese family, now they were in the position to explain the various problems that existed in a more friendlier way and, therefore, contributed to the solving of these problems. If you had a group there that didn't know anything about the culture, the background trying to solve issues you're going to have a lot of misunderstanding.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright &copy; 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

gky: You know, it seemed that a lot of the Nisei stayed there after they got out of the army, I mean stayed in Japan, and you, yourself did. Why?

BS: Well, actually I didn't stay. What happened is they sent me to Japan. You see, I was in Japan; first it was three years they sent me back to States and, at that time, I figured, "Well, maybe there will be another war. They will call me again since I'm a reserve officer," and so I signed up for three years. They sent me back to Japan again because they needed officers who spoke Japanese. And I was put into a special unit, undercover for about three years. The Korean War started, and then they sent me back. This time I went to the intelligence school, and I was a teacher there for about three years, and then they went to the advanced course. I couldn't get out of the army. And by the time I could get out of the army I had eleven years of service. So I decided to stay for the twenty years. And so they sent me back to Japan, back to the States, I came back to the Presidio. I was with the 115th, we did the background investigations for the West Coast. They sent me back to Japan again, fourth time, there a couple of years. They signed me back to Holabird, and I asked for an American transfer to 6th Army. I came to the Presidio, and I became a staff officer there. By that time I was a lieutenant colonel, and I liked that job because, actually, twenty-five years earlier, because of background investigation, we were kicked out of the West Coast. And in my final year, I was in charge of the military security division which controlled all of the security clearances on the West Coast. And that was a fitting end to my military career, right?

gky: When you first went back to Japan, after the occupation, do you remember how it smelled? Did it smell burned, did it smell fresh, did it smell...

BS: Well, you know my sense of smell is not too good. But you can't say there was anything rotten, because anything that was capable of rotten, being rotten, was being eaten before it became rotten. There was a lot of debris, but I did not get the impression of the trashiness that you find in some of the skid row, you know, in the States for instance.

gky: How did the people look? What was the spirit like?

BS: Well, they dressed in anything that would fit them. You know, the women were wearing mompei. You know what a mompei is? It's a balloon-type sort of a bag, you know. No skirts, like trousers, anything was considered acceptable dress as long as it covered yourself.

gky: Why were they wearing mompei?

BS: Well, mompei is more freedom and movement, and the skirts present also a greater danger too.

gky: So it wasn't because they were told that the American soldiers were going to rape them?

BS: Well, some of them may have said that, but I don't think that was the main reason. The mompei were useful clothing.

gky: How about what were people's spirits like and how did that change over the years? What was it like in 1945 and in succeeding years?

BS: I think in '45 they were hoping to find two classes of people. Those wanted to get friendly with you with the hope of getting something because they're starving, and then there were also the others who wanted to learn something from the American way, talking about democracy. Well, what is democracy? They wanted to learn English.

gky: Okay, you said that was 1945. How about '46? '47? What kind of change was there in the people, their spirit, their outlook?

BS: Well, I think they were gradually able to make use of the farmland and they had the system of rationing, and the food as it was grown, it was put into the rationing channel, so people had more food that they could depend on. So in that way, there was more of a sense of things were improving. Another thing is that it was a period when there was self-reliance, plus reliance on your family. The family became a very important issue. If you had a relative who was a farmer living in another prefecture, you depended on them, and they usually supplied, you know, these families with whatever they had. But there was a greater freedom of movement, too. The movement was important. See, during the wartime, the movement was limited. You couldn't move around. Let me see... it's hard to say exactly when things began to improve. But it definitely began to improve with the start of the Korean War because then the American government, the U.S. government decided that we will use Japan as a base to supply the war material for the Korean War, and therefore, many of the industry -- you see, we went there and said, "Okay, all the big industries are gone. We want to dismantle them. We want to get rid of the zaibatsu." But when the Korean War started, we decided, "No, we better keep these plants operating. Allow the Japanese to use them. Allow them to make things for our use,' and that also meant, sort of a return of some form of prosperity for at least some of the industrial companies.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright &copy; 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<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.