Discover Nikkei

Emperor as a living god

When I went to Japan, I heard that the emperor was revered as a living god. And a living god, my goodness. He's no different from an ordinary person. And, but my relatives, you know, they warned me. Says, "Don't ever say that, because the special police or the military police are going to come and pick you up." And not only that, it's not myself, it's the full family, and the thing will be in trouble. They wouldn't be able to get good jobs, they wouldn't be able to do business. So, "keep it under your hat," which I did. I didn't want anything to happen to my sisters or my mother, any of my brothers. So I kept it all on my thing, but you know, all this, to me, from a person that went to thing and had, grew up in Mission, in Canada, that seemed to be a lot of hogwash, but I just kept that to myself.


Date: October 29, 2005

Location: Toronto, Canada

Interviewer: Norm Ibuki

Contributed by: Sedai, the Japanese Canadian Legacy Project, Japanese Canadian Cultural Center

Interviewee Bio

William "Bill" Tasaburo Hashizume was born on June 22, 1922 at Mission, British Columbia where he spent his early years. In 1939, after his father passed away, Bill's mother took Bill and his two younger sisters to Osaka, Japan for schooling. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Bill and his family were stranded in Japan. Hashizume resumed his studies and graduated from Kobe Technical College in 1944. Facing conscription, he enlisted in the Japanese Imperial Navy soon after and served as an Officer until demobilization in 1945.

After the war, Hashizume joined the U.S. military police in Japan, serving as an interpreter. As the Canadian government imposed a ban until the early 1950s on the return of Canadian citizens of Japanese descent who had been stranded in Japan after Pearl Harbor and those who had been repatriated to Japan in the late 1940s, Bill was not able to return to Canada. In 1952, Bill's Canadian citizenship was reinstated by the Canadian government and he returned to Toronto, Canada to join his sisters.

Hashizume became a full-fledged Canadian engineer at the age of 55. He was employed at the Ontario Department of Highways as an engineer and retired at 65. He has also researched and written a book on Japanese Canadian history of Mission, British Columbia. He currently leads an active and healthy life in Toronto, Canada. (August 23, 2006)


Feelings upon listening to the imperial rescript (Japanese)

(1928 - 2008) Drafted into both the Japanese Imperial Army and the U.S. Army.


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