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Laid off for being Canadian

I applied for U.S. government service as a... at army pay. U.S. army pay, which was considerably, far better than what I was making at the oil company. At the oil company, probably I was making about fifteen thousand a year -- a month. Whereas for, with the American thing, I was making oh, probably I was making about a hundred thousand a month. Japanese yen, yeah, or equivalent in dollars. So I worked there for about a year and a half, and then after the peace treaty, after the peace treaty, I was laid off because according to the peace treaty with, between Japan and the States, the only people that can work for the American army were U.S. citizens, not Canadian. So I got laid off, and a year after I got laid off, I worked as an interpreter for a Japanese company trying to land contracts with, contracts for the U.S. army. The work I was doing while I was with the U.S. army as their civilian employee was procurement of supplies for the Korean War.


interpreters linguists United States Army

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)

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Robert T. Fujioka

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Masato Ninomiya
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