Families are the result of decades of relationships, twists of fate and world events.  It is unbelievable how one decision can ultimately determine how many descendants will be brought into this world…or what happens to them.

Twists of fate and world events can put siblings on opposite sides of a fence.  In my case, my Seattle-born uncle was forced to don the uniform of the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II and died on Leyte. My father, although a US citizen like my uncle who was killed, was imprisoned in stateside “camps” during WWII by President Franklin D. Roosevelt – just one among over 110,000 Americans of Japanese descent. Dad then enlisted for the legendary 8th US Army’s Military Intelligence Service after being released from camp.  Two of my uncles also served in the US 8th Army during hostilities.

I hope you will find the stories and family photos intertwined with World War II to be fascinating.

Some home cooking, too!

Thanks for stopping by.

Koji D. Kanemoto

aka Mustang.Koji


IMPORTANT NOTE: There will some quotes – these quotes are from WWII combat veterans who were reliving their horrors with me at that time and place. These veterans have no ill will towards me or my family as they had learned to forgive.

97 thoughts on “About”

  1. What an excellent combination of food and history! I am so glad that you have embraced your history and are bringing the stories to us. I can’t wait to see what else you post and to explore your blog more. Thanks for following my blog too!

  2. I just started following your website. My dad was in World War II, but never saw any action, thank the Good Lord. Your articles are a pleasure to read and bring back memories of my dad, he was a captain in the American army. I sincerely look forward to reading and learning from your articles. Your website is great ! If you care too, take a look at my website ( http://www.noulteriormotive.com ) you might fined something you like.

  3. I wish I could nominate you for something, it seems that you are collecting trophies like dust bunnies. Love the site and cant wait to learn more about your family. I want to thank your father for serving and your Uncle for serving Japan as well. Your family is one who truly suffered from both sides. There were no winners in World War II. Everyone suffered, I guess that is why it is called war.

  4. I have been blogging since 2008. I have just started to look at the blogs of bloggers who visit my site. I found this one this week. This is the first post.


    Very well written.

    I read all of Gail’s posts. Could not stop. That’s why I posted this special article you found tonight…


    I will be reading yours.


  5. There definately is a connection. It is good to see both sides of the story. That’s how my father raised me and how I am trying to write my blog. Have you ever read one of John Toland’s books – another good example.

  6. Yes, worth taking a look at Toland. He expounded on what my father taught me about the Japanese and helped make clear the situation between the people – governement – military – royalty, and all in an interesting way.

  7. Hey Mustang, thanks for the follow! That someone with your talent is interested in my ramblings is beyond humbling. I really hope this is ok with you – I nominated you for The Reality Blogger Award. You have wonderful stories to tell, and I wanted to do what I could to share them. Here’s the shortlink: http://wp.me/p1XDRR-6s.

  8. I find blogs about WWII fascinating. They all tell a different story about the same event. I enjoy reading all the different perspectives. It broadens my understanding of how this War affected families all over the world. I think telling our stories and family traditions helps bind us together. Thank you for checking out my blog and I look forward to future posts from you.

    1. Same here, jaggh53163. It appears we share the same approaches to WWII history. There is only one fact but many ways in which it was viewed…and documented. And yes, the fruit of all their sacrifices is our small world of today, isn’t it?

  9. I received your files and greatly appreciate them. Have saved to print out. That address is primarily my husband’s, so I try not to use it. Hope you understand. Thanks again.

  10. So happy I just found you again Mustang–totally forgot you were on WP. Haven’t been back to flickr for a while, but followed the link here again! Will catch up soon…

  11. You express so much love and respect in your writing about your family and dear friends. This year I am starting to invite guest bloggers and I would be honored if you would be my guest in May for Memorial Day – please email me at pattymb61@aol.com. Blessings – Patty

  12. Hi Sir,

    I found your post reblogged over at Colleen’s…I have relatives who fought in WW2 and I was curious about this post so I came wandering over to your blog. My family and I visited my grand-uncle’s grave on Good Friday, in preparation for a post I’m preparing for April 9, a special holiday here, similar to your Memorial Day.

    I just wanted to say that this was written with such respect and “humanity” in it – I really admired it. Thank you for sharing this.

    Warm regards from the Philippines,

    1. Wow, thank you so much, Mary. I am so very honored. The war seems for long ago for many, but just yesterday for the few that remain. I know a couple of men in the Philippines via the internet who specialize in that era plus my father’s younger brother was killed on Leyte as part of the Japanese Army in 1945. This was sad in that my uncle was an American citizen, being born in Seattle, WA.

      I look forward to visiting your blog as well and thank you again for your warm comment.

      1. You are very much welcome and the honour is mine, I believe. Are those men in the Philippines on your blogroll or anywhere on your site? I would be interested in reading them, if they are.

        Mine is a personal blog, eclectic in content, not focused on the wars but it’s a family blog as well. Hence the post I am working on for next week’s holiday. I’m not sure if it (my blog) will suit your tastes and I certainly am not putting any pressure to follow, or like anything if it doesn’t appeal to you.

        That said, I wish you a happy weekend.

  13. Sorry Sir, I thought I was still on the Easter Sunday post…that was what I was referring to.

  14. Koji-san … *smiles* ….I first want to thank you for visiting and commenting on my blogs and pages.

    Then I wish to apologize for taking so long to get back to you. Bad Katie…bad bad.

    And … I think I will poke around your blog for a bit too if you do not mind. (Though I know I have stopped by before too 🙂 )

      1. *yells out really, REALLY loud then*

        LIES. LIES. ALL LIES I SAY It was not me. I didn’t say that. I was framed. My account was hacked. Lies I say. Nasty lies! heh.

  15. Koji-san,

    I believe on this coming remembrance, tis those such as you that is to be remembered. Your American holiday … that you too took on a new country as yours… *gentle smile* … tis for those that came before you…those that come after you … you yourself…that people honor.

    I just wanted to send a note.

    Katie O.

  16. 🙂 There’s nothing wrong with becoming Japanese American Irish~ I’ll take the credit for that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😉 Irish Katie, that means WE have to work on the Japanese part!!

  17. Koji-san ….

    I have loved this singer….do you know what she sings of? I think…tis not Japanese….but…Okinawan??? What is she singing if you know? Tis …mesmerizing.

    If tis a dialect you do not know ..then I apologize….but, I have found I LOVE…I LOVE this artist.

    1. Irish Katie-san, you are indeed correct. She is an Okinawan folk singer. She is also playing the sham risen, a very old instrument that hasn’t changed much in hundreds of years. Because of the dialect and lyrical innuendos, I am unable to translate much except to say I believe it’s a song about a baby sitter and the future (of the baby?).

      1. Nods … I was reading some of the comments…but could not figure out much…so… a baby sitter? It sounds a bit sad too … I have listened to several of her songs now…I always find it a wonder that I like listening to all kinds of music in the world, and it does not matter if I understand the actual words. I love music from many of the African nations, Japanese music nod nods, and even Spanish songs.

        Anyway, thank you … for all the nice things you have been saying of late. 🙂

      2. Thank me?!?! No, no, lassie (See, you’re rubbing off on me!). It is I who thanks you for all the smiles you have brought into my life.

        And you are right… Music is universal indeed… I wish I could understand Okinawan dialect but I don’t. 😦

        I’m thinking of you each day. Really. 🙂

        Koji D. Kanemoto Sent from my Nexus 10

  18. I am sending this to my friend Junko. She lives near me in The Holler, but is from Toykyo, and her family is there. I am also sending it to my son, who speaks Japanese haltingly and traveled through Japan with his sister, and to my mother who lived for a while in a Buddhist Monastery in Japan. I posted about both my mother and Junko previously.
    Your blog is precious and important.
    Thank you!

    1. Thank you for sharing it with your family members! There is a two-parter, “A Mother’s Anguished Solitude”; it tells of my dad’s favorite brother, also born in Seattle, and my grandma. Now, I am going to look for your family’s stories. 🙂

  19. Hi,
    I love your blog and I have nominated you and your blog, for the Liebster Award!
    Please know that participation in purely optional, no hard feelings or on my end! I do not expect any action to be taken, or for you to generate a post [unless you wish to pass on the award nominations].
    You can pick up your badge and information/rules on how to pass on the award from this link : http://aromasandflavours.com/2014/03/25/award-acceptance-liebster-award/

  20. you may be interested in another heartwarming story of a Japanese family in WWII Steveston BC ( my sister lives there). The daughter made a beautiful film called “Obachan’s Garden.” you can find it on the net I’m sure. My own dad who has since passed away was friends with a Japanese boy whose family sent him to Japan to fight for the emporer. “Do not cry my friend, we each have a destiny that has been set out for us ” Thank you for sharing your story.

      1. thank you! It was a few years back. I should have said that the quote “Do not cry” was apparently the words of my father’s friend as he said goodbye. My father never saw him again as his friend died in the conflict. He had left prior to war being declared when he was about 17 I believe. So many compelling stories. I wish I had written them all down. I know why you find it so interesting.

      2. It is heartbreaking to realize too late, isn’t it? Their life lessons are lost, never to be learned from. You share the same reactions as did I.

    1. Likewise here, Linda… I’m not a writer and sometimes they are just too long so thanks for taking a peek. I don’t even know if my own relatives will take the time to read it! 🙂

  21. I do not want to sound like all your other readers – but on this one I am going with the crowd – I like your blog too! Glad to be a follower.

    also, dude – you get a gold star for the Mustang Gravatar – tasty my friend!

    and I used to drive a 1960’s one to my first job – also, my brother had a maroon 1967 that he had to push to get started – but it had a paint job that was impeccable – and well, love your gravatar. O_o

      1. well the one I drive to my job was called a yellow- but it was kind of light green to me. It had a stick shift and at the time I did not appreciate the gem of a car I was in. I just was glad that my cousins were so generous to me…. and later I see that it was extra cool.

        and your link – yup – that was the color – what a gem.
        oh – and this is corny – but I am thinking of that song with “cruising…. in my 5.0…” only cause Vanilla Ice now has a cool HGTV show and they play it at the start of it – = also, always loved the “A-1-A – beach front avenue”

        have a great day – and glad to have crossed blog roads with ya…

      2. de nada – and I actually made a whole page to bookmark on my blog as a way to celebrate 2014… so thx for being my blog bug this past year Koj!

  22. Dear Koji,
    I read the entire blog on your family’s WWII history a while back and just came across it again today. It is absolutely fascinating, which is what prompted me to leave this message. Thank you for taking the time to write it and your willingness to share your family’s history.
    War history has always been an interest of mine, especially the Pacific Theater of WWII. However, your blog somewhat touches home for me. I am a fourth generation Marine (grandfather – WWI; uncle – WWII (Pacific Theater); father – Korea; me – nothing noteworthy). I enlisted in the early 1980’s at 17 and my first permanent duty station was Iwakuni, Japan – not far from Hiroshima. I had a Japanese girlfriend while I was stationed at Iwakuni, whose parents were a live during WWII. Although her family tolerated me, I think they were less than thrilled that their daughter was dating a [white] American (e.g., her family actually had to move because their neighbors found out that their daughter was dating an American). I think this was the general sentiment about the Japanese as a whole at the time … tolerated the Americans, but were less than thrilled at their continued presence. Anyway, I tried discussing WWII with my girlfriend, but she made it clear that she had no interest in discussing the topic. This was understandable, but my interest was from a historical perspective, not to argue any given point. However, I knew enough that for the sake of the relationship, it was best not push the issue. We used to go to Hiroshima on the weekends and visited the Peace Memorial periodically. Again, asking her to translate information only provided in Japanese was somewhat of an irritant to her. Unfortunately, my uncle was not too open about discussing his WWII experiences either; he passed away a few years ago. I am now a professor of engineering, mainly focusing earthquake engineering. As a result, I often travel to Japan for collaborative research and have several close Japanese colleagues (Chuo University, University of Tokyo, and Tokyo Institute of Technology). I’ve ventured into topics related to WWII with them a few times, but with caution and mostly related to the Japanese educational system. Anyway, your blog particularly interesting because it provides a lot of personal insights about WWII from a very, very unique perspective … insights that are not readily shared by those who lived it. Thanks again.

    1. Wow. Thank you very much for leaving your thoughts, sir, and most of all, I thank you and your family’s dedication to our country.

      Yes, many who survived – on either side – the most cataclysmic and wretched violence in world history choose not to discuss it. Unfortunately, the true horror of war becomes dust unless a few write about it. Then again, one can only reiterate what was told them. Such remembrances become fogged with time, too.

      Your girlfriend’s parents reaction was typical. You are correct in that the majority merely tolerated us Americans. It wasn’t that much less severe even when Nisei’s were involved. When my Uncle Taro tracked down my mom’s family in Tokyo and took them C-rats, clothing and cigarettes, it is clear they did not publicize it although they were eternally grateful. NY granfather, however, shunned my Uncle’s generosity except when it came to Lucky Strikes; as my Uncle didn’t smoke, he had tons of cigarettes. Grandfather also declined to ride in the US servicemen only rail cars; he chose instead to ride with the rest of the Tokyo civilians.

      Even after my grandmother immigrated here, she called the “Caucasian” occupation forces invaders, long legs or long noses. ☺

      Pride and honorable actions ruled the day back then for the surviving Japanese.

      If you have further questions, please feel free to drop me a note.

      Thank you once again.

    2. ps My very good friend who left the Corps as a Colonel was also stationed in Iwakuni, I believe, and spent memorable years there. He is a historian who also blogs about the Marine Corps history – “Fix Bayonets” – here on WP.

    1. I apologize for this tardy reply and thank you for your kind comments. War is written as a country dictates; we are no different. Even within our United States, different accountings are published – school textbooks are one extreme, for example. In my kids’ textbooks, they leave the child questioning, “Was America wrong?” These textbooks are dominated by teaching the child there was prejudice and discrimination in our homefront and never really mention the heroism of our young men sent in harm’s way by failed world leadership.

  23. FYI –
    John Toland (Author) BUT NOT IN SHAME is the story of those dark, crucial months during which American armed forces as well as civilians fought to reverse the greatest series of military disasters in our history. See post “Of War and Remembrance”

    1. I’m trying not to be… but life is getting in the way! In addition to dad turning 98 last month, I am now engaged to aa wonderful, humble Vietnamese woman. Unfirtunately, we are now in a mad scramble as her mother – still in Vietnam – is near death. My fiance is to leave tonight on a midnight flight but not enough time to explain…

      1. I am very sorry for your future mother-in-law’s illness. But I am thrilled to hear of your engagement and that your father will be here to see you happy!!
        I wish you all the best and believe me I do understand about life getting in the way! Priorities!

  24. I ran across your blog through a link on the America’s Test Kitchen Facebook group. In case you haven’t heard about it, an online magazine about the Asian-American experience is soliciting submissions. Here is their website: http://riksha.com/

  25. Tomorrow’s post is Pearl related – 2 videos I’m putting out for readers’ opinions. I fully expect to lose some followers, but that’s just too bad! haha

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True stories about World War II – One war. Two Countries. One Family

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