Dad Is 97 Years Old Today

Well, amazingly, dad turned 97 years old today.

Have I said amazing yet?

Born in Seattle in 1919 of (legal) immigrants who came across the Pacific from Hiroshima, he is the last of his family.  He was the fifth of seven kids.  All his siblings left in Japan at the outbreak of WWII died early in their lives while his siblings who were fortunate to have returned to the States before Pearl Harbor survived into their 90’s.

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Dad on right; his younger brother on the left. Circa 1924 in front of his father’s Seattle barbershop.

 

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Dad on right with his younger brother, Suetaro, in front of their Hiroshima home. Circa 1927.

 

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Dad for his high school graduation portrait as shown in his 1937 yearbook. He was a track star in the Hiroshima region. He returned to Seattle immediately after. His beloved high school was destroyed by the atomic bomb.

 

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My guess is around 1939, standing in front of his home on Fir Street in Seattle and sporting his “varsity” sweater he brought back from his Hiroshima high school.

 

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Dad’s WWII draft card mailed to him while imprisoned at Tule Lake, CA. FDR’s administration changed his classification from 1A to that of an enemy alien, “4C”, as were all other Japanese-American boys. This is the only item I have of him from 1941 through WWII’s end due to his imprisonment. No politics implied; just facts.

 

Dad in his US Army duds in Tokyo while serving in the 8th US Army’s Military Intelligence Service (MIS). Behind him and to the far right and only partially visible is the Dai Ichi building, headquarters of the Far East Command. MIS’s military activity was kept Top Secret until the early ’70s. Circa late 1947.

 

Dad at Hiroshima with two of his nieces. Namie in the center went with us to Leyte in July 2015 on a pilgrimage to honor his brother’s death in combat in 1944.

 

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Dad translated during the war crimes trials in Occupied Japan. He said the “lesser” war crimes were tried in the Quonset hut behind him. Tokyo, circa 1948.

 

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Dad’s Day of Infamy. LOL February 1951, Tokyo.

 

My dad (R) returned to Hiroshima for a vacation in 1997; Masako is in the center. This was taken at his family home. Notice the stepping stone; it is the same one Masako stood next to in a picture taken in 1948.
My dad (R) returned to Hiroshima for the first time in 40 years for a vacation in 1997; Masako is in the center. This was taken at his family home. Notice the stepping stone; it is the same one Masako stood next to in a picture taken in 1948.

 

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Up to 2014, folks that had connections to Japanese battle flags collected as souvenirs by their fathers tried to return them to the soldier’s descendants. They asked Dad to read the names and hometowns in hopes of finding them.

 

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Dad in 2014 with his first and only great-granddaughter, Emi.

Happy birthday, Dad!

48 thoughts on “Dad Is 97 Years Old Today”

  1. Happy birthday to your father! I’m so happy you share your family history with us. It’s a blessing to your own family but more than that, by sharing it you’re preserving and honoring history that belongs to all of us. His story is a treasure.

    Oh…how I love his wedding photo!

      1. That’s a fantastic photo so no matter what didn’t go exactly as planned that day, one bit of perfection came out of it. I think you mom is SO beautiful…

    1. I’m sure my dad will reach the century mark; he eats like a horse but can’t remember ten minutes later he had a hamburger. I think my mom and my aunt (in their early 90’s) will also make it to 100. Amazing since they survived the firebombing of Tokyo.

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