Densho Digital Archive
Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre Collection
Title: Bill Hashizume Interview
Narrator: Bill Hashizume
Interviewer: Norm Ibuki
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Date: October 29, 2005
Densho ID: denshovh-hbill_2-01-0021

<Begin Segment 21>

NI: What other kind of work did you do after the war?

BH: Well, that was that, that continued until about '48, '49. And then I got sick and tired of all that, and well, actually, actually, I got fired. [Laughs]

NI: What happened?

BH: Well, heck, I was leading a pretty affluent life then. Now, you make, you make friends with the American civilians, this and that, and they shower you with gifts, sugar, this and that, cigarettes. They were hard to come by. And the affluence, well, a lot of people get jealous. And of course, by then, the company, they were well in a position to expand. They hired a lot of other interpreters, too, but not with technical background. But heck, there was a lot of internal friction, politics or something like that. Says, "Well, we don't"... they had to restructure to thing, so during the restructuring, I was laid off. So, well, and virtually I was being fired, but heck, that didn't stop me. What I did was I started working for the military police in Tokyo, that was for a couple of years.

NI: As an interpreter?

BH: Interpreter, interpreter, yeah. And I got to do quite a bit of investigation methods and this and that. But that kind of work, heck, was not to my liking. It was far from the education I took, so I switched over, started working for the American oil company, it's a predecessor of, well, part of the Exxon-Mobile group in Japan, and I stayed there for about a year. And then luckily I got, luckily by then, I got my citizenship back from the Canadian government.

NI: What happened to it before?

BH: Well, I got that in about 1952. 1950... maybe what? 1952.

NI: Okay.

BH: Okay, and then I applied for U.S. government service as a... at army pay. U.S. army pay, which was considerably, far better than what I was making at the oil company. At the oil company, probably I was making about fifteen thousand a year -- a month. Whereas for, with the American thing, I was making oh, probably I was making about a hundred thousand a month. Japanese yen, yeah, or equivalent in dollars. So I worked there for about a year and a half, and then after the peace treaty, after the peace treaty, I was laid off because according to the peace treaty with, between Japan and the States, the only people that can work for the American army were U.S. citizens, not Canadian. So I got laid off, and a year after I got laid off, I worked as an interpreter for a Japanese company trying to land contracts with, contracts for the U.S. army. The work I was doing while I was with the U.S. army as their civilian employee was procurement of supplies for the Korean War.

NI: Oh, I see.

BH: And that helped me quite a bit in my later life after retirement here, because I had to do a lot of mechanical translations, mechanical engineering translations, electronic engineering translations. But after, after being laid off at, from the U.S. army, why I worked for, I worked for, as a consultant to various Japanese companies doing business with American companies, supplying material for the Korean War. And during the meantime, during the meantime, although I had Canadian citizenship, I wasn't free to travel.

NI: Why not?

BH: I don't know why. See, I got my citizenship, but they wouldn't give me the passport, let's put it that way.

NI: Oh, I see.

BH: Okay? And then at that time, middle of 1954, I got permission, says to, I got my Canadian passport and with that, I was free to travel. So with that, I returned back to Canada in 1954.

NI: 1954.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2005 Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and Densho. All Rights Reserved.