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Serving as a lawyer to Americans in Japan

There were many Americans working in Japan. We handled their personal affairs in Japan, whatever they are. But primarily licensing agreements, for example, we represented the Lockheed Aircraft. They were selling their planes to Japan. That type of contract. We represented Ford Motor Company so we did their work. And they had a plant in Yokohama from prewar days. That was reactivated and more and more agreements were made in Japan supplying parts and so forth. American Cyanamid built a factory. We helped them. There were many many other Fortune 500 companies that came to us because we were well known. We were the largest foreign law firm in Japan. Because of our New York office, we were well connected to the larger companies serving Japan. Not only selling their products but manufacturing their products in Japan.


lawyers

Date: May 29, 2006

Location: Hawai`i, US

Interviewer: Akemi Kikumura Yano

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

Interviewee Bio

Francis "FranK" Y. Sogi was born in Lanihau, Kona, on the Big Island of Hawai‘i in 1923, the youngest of five children born to Issei parents who farmed vegetables, bananas and coffee.

Francis began studies at the University of Hawai‘i (UH) in 1941 at 18 years old, and—as required--served in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) to prepare for military service. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, all R.O.T.C. students were inducted into the Hawai‘i Territorial Guard. However, he was soon discharged as being an “enemy alien,” and he returned to UH to continue his education. Men at UH with knowledge of the Japanese language were being recruited to join the United States Military Intelligence Service, so Francis volunteered and in 1944 was sent to Camp Savage and Fort Snelling, Minnesota, for training.

After serving in Japan, translating documents for the U.S. counterintelligence corps, he once again enrolled at UH in 1947. He completed his studies in 1949 and went on to Fordham Law School in New York City while his wife, Sarah, attended Columbia University. He passed the bar exam in December 1952 and was admitted to the New York state bar. In 1953, Frank was asked to serve at the Tokyo office of the law firm of Hunt, Hill and Betts and represented Fortune 500 companies doing license agreements, joint ventures and investments of all kinds. From 1959 - 1984 he was with Miller Montgomery Spalding & Sogi, and in 1984 he joined Kelley Drye & Warren until his retirement in 1993.

Because of their growing philanthropic interests, Francis and his wife Sarah created the Francis and Sarah Sogi Foundation, a charitable foundation that currently supports the work of several non-profit organizations.

He passed away on November 3, 2011(November 2011)

 

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