Title: "Seattle Japanese Ask Harry Whitney Treat to Lead Them," Seattle Times, 4/8/1917, (ddr-densho-56-296)
Densho ID: ddr-densho-56-296

Offer to Raise and Equip Regiment of 1,000 Men for Service Against Germans


Thomas Y. Nabatame, Veteran of U.S. Navy, Is Originator of Idea.


Recipient of Honor Says He Is Willing to Accept Commission.

"United States, Banzai!"

This cheer rose from the throats of twenty Seattle Japanese who gathered at the home of Harry Whitney Treat, 1 West Highland Drive, last night, formally to present their offer of raising and equipping a regiment of 1,000 Japanese residents of this city and to ask Treat to lead them into battle for the United States and Germany.

Mr. Treat said he would accept the commission.

With a Japanese lantern in one hand and an American flag in the other, each of these men went direct from the patriotic parade, where their contingent was greeted with continuous hand clapping and applause, to the home of Treat.

The idea of raising a regiment of Seattle Japanese and offering their services to the United States government originated in the mind of Thomas Y. Nabatame, general manager of the Glenn Ellen Coal Company, when an intimation of a possible break between the United States and Germany first arose.

Nabatame served twelve years in the United States Navy and received his honorable discharge from the service when he was on the U.S. battleship Alabama twelve years ago.

Veterans of War.

"We have in Seattle almost 1,000 Japanese who served in the Russo-Japanese war and many of them have been graduated from the "Sagacar Sucargacor,' which is a Japanese army college," said Nabatame last night.

"We want to help the United States in its fight against Germany. All of our sympathies are with the United States and nothing but the friendliest of feelings exists between the two countries. We have asked Mr. Treat to lead us because he has always been friendly to the Japanese people and understands us."

"I have many friends among the Japanese," said Treat. "I have traveled through their country and have met and become acquainted with many of their most important men. I have always liked them and will be willing to lead them. I have lived among the Japanese and have eaten their food and know that I could get along fine with them."

Treat said he already had telegraphed Maj. Gen. J. Franklin Bell, commander of the Western Division of the United States army, intimating that a regiment of Seattle Japanese would be formed and its services offered to the United States. He said he had not received a reply to this telegram and does not know whether General Bell would look with favor upon accepting the services of this regiment.