Densho Digital Repository
JACL Philadelphia Oral History Collection
Title: William Marutani Interview
Narrator: William Marutani
Interviewer: Herbert J. Horikawa
Location: Medford, New Jersey
Date: October 23, 1994
Densho ID: ddr-phljacl-1-14-3

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HH: And then as a consequence of that, what happened to you after you finished the language school?

WM: Well, again, it's the story of my life, something interrupts. My company was shipped off to Japan, I think that's where it was. But I was held back by the post commandant, Colonel Kai Rasmussen, and what he did before letting me go is gave me a second lieutenant's commission. And so I went over with a shaved head.

HH: How did that commission come about? You usually had to go through OCS or something.

WM: Yeah, I was supposed to go down to OCS, remember I told you earlier after I finished my basic? And here I am, how many months later, I don't know what, at this point. But I was ready to be shipped out a T-5 where I'd earned two stripes by now. Yeah, I thought somehow that was unjust, and I registered that complaint to Colonel Rasmussen's office. And instead of court martialing me, he gave me a commission.

HH: [Laughs] I see. I know that you eventually were shipped overseas.

WM: I was.

HH: And that happened just after that?

WM: Yeah.

HH: And what did you do overseas, or where did you go?

WM: Well, I was shipped first to Tokyo, of course. And out of Tokyo I was shipped to, I was assigned to the 441st Counterintelligence Corps. And my job boiled down to, eventually, was to screen out Communists coming into Japan as repatriates from Manchuria. And so we were screening out and determining what kind of a strategy that the Communists were having, had at that point to try to communize the entire Japanese islands.

HH: I see. And was that the major part of your work while you were there?

WM: That was a major part of it, although I did engage in a number of other things. One was there was supposedly a plot to assassinate General MacArthur, and the ringleaders were said to live in Nara. So I conducted a raid in Nara one time, none of this was true, as it turned out. Another one was the Japanese had hoarded a lot of gold up in Mie-ken, I think it is, in Japan, which is right next to Wakayama. So I took a crew of armed men up the river, in a propeller driven boat, by the way, because the waters were very shallow, and we checked that out. Then the third event was one where we received reports that the Japanese forces had hidden a whole lot of arms in an arms factory outside of Osaka city itself. So again we conducted a raid with Japanese policemen, our own troops, and that turned out to be a dud as well.

HH: How long did you spend in the military?

WM: Oh, goodness, I think I spent about three and a half years.

HH: So you were eventually discharged.

WM: Right.

HH: And what did you do then?

WM: Well, then I qualified to get into law school, I went back and got my, finished by B.A. degree, I went on to law school at the University of Chicago.

HH: I see. So, prior to going into the military, you didn't quite finish your bachelors.

WM: That's quite correct.

HH: Then you finished it, then you went on to University of Chicago law school.

WM: Right.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 1994 JACL Philadelphia. All Rights Reserved.