Discover Nikkei

Devastation in Tokyo after World War II

The devastation, well, we both saw it -- we saw it both in Manila and in Japan, especially Tokyo, Yokohama, and Osaka, too. These are major cities that were devastated. And you see blocks and blocks of nothing but torn buildings, bricks, devastation very clearly. And I was amazed, we should have known better, but here, what was I, a twenty-year-old or whatever. We should have been more thoughtful, I guess. But I remember the first night we got into town, into Tokyo, my friend and I were, by the time the airplane found the airfield and we got into town, we were, one of the few buildings standing was the Morinaga Building, right next to Hibiya Park, Hibiya Koen, in the middle of Tokyo. So we go out in the streets, and we're hungry, so we see this policeman, and we says, Hey, is there any restaurant open around here? He just laughed at us. He said, "You bombed the heck out of us. We don't have food, let alone restaurants that are open." We should have known better. And it was really a sad situation for the Japanese.

Date: March 19, 2004

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Mitchell Maki

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum.

Interviewee Bio

Dr. Richard Hiromichi Kosaki (born September 14, 1924) was raised, educated, and has lived most of his life in Honolulu, Hawai`i. During World War II he served in the Military Intelligence Service, first as an instructor, then for several years in Japan as an interpreter during the Occupation. He graduated from the University of Hawai`i in 1948, then received his Masters and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.

Returning to the University of Hawai`i to teach political science, he embarked on a distinguished career there that included positions as Vice President for Community Colleges, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Chancellor of the West Oahu College, Acting Chancellor for the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa, and President of Tokai International University in Honolulu. Along the way, he helped found the East-West Center, and was the architect of the University of Hawai`i’s community college system. His favorite maxim is the cornerstone of his educational philosophy: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

Dr. Kosaki is married to Mildred (Doi) Kosaki. Their son Randall was born in 1962. (March 19, 2004)


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