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Japanese American Military Experience Database

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Kaoru "Kay" Inouye

Birth date
Place of birth
Los Gatos CA, U.S.A.
1944-6-1, Denver CO
Enlistment type
Service branch
Service type
Unit type
Units served
MISLS C-7 (Graduated Snelling, Dec. 1944)
NCO of 167th Lang Det, X Corp (Kure)
Deactivated 167th Lang Det, Kyoto
Joined 163rd Lang Det, I Corp, Kyoto
Served NCO of Lang Training unit, Kyoto.
Military specialty
Military Intelligence
Translator and interpreter, NCO
Other Countries: Philippines; Japan
Zama, Japan
Unit responsibility
167th Lang Det., X Corp, Kure (Hiroshima ken).
Personal responsibility
NCO of 167th Lang Det. X Corp, Kure
Awards, medals, citations (individual or unit)
Member of MIS & VFW 9902.
Living conditions
Manila: Santa Anita Race Track, lived in tent; showered during monsoon storm; food: too much beef; entertainment was visiting the POW compound adjacent to tent for discussion and seeing their entertainment.
Tokyo: NYK Bldg for several days; spent most of time searching for my brother and uncle.
Kure: Lived in a bombed out NCO Bldg with no glass windows; regular army meals; watching GI movie and visiting my relatives in Hiroshima city. One of early members to visit the bombed out city of Hiroshima.
Kyoto: I Corp Headquarter bldg, formerly a museum in Heian Jingu; went dancing at Gion Geisha dance hall for entertainment. Sight seeing during time off. Visited Kyoto University to do some brush up in science.
Most vivid memory of military experience
Scary: Sgt of Guard duty of ATIS during rain at night at Manila pier 2 days before departure to secure ship and food. My duty was to check all the holds of Kaiser freighter, twice during the night carrying a loaded carbine and flash light. Orders were to kill anyone unauthorized in area. One filipino was killed that night trying to steal food. Our headquarter was under a tarp covering food in view of the ship. Maintained liaison with adjacent guard unit from GHQ watching another freighter. Night ended with no major problems.

Riot in Kure: Awakened at midnight by G-2 Colonel's aide to report in front of billet in 10 minutes to be picked up by the Colonel with my carbine. Picked up by Colonel, secured ammunition from guard on duty around headquarters and drove to scene of riot. The riot was between the Japanese Naval personnel in uniform and Korean workers. Japanese police and military personnel rounded up all the persons involved - many of whom were battered and injured. The Colonel ordered curfew and reprimanded the Koreans for creating the riot. Lang Det personnel assisted in controlling the riot. I was protecting the Colonel while I had one of my men doing the interpreting. What a scary night in a burnt out city!

Missed most whilst in the military
Home life.
Most important thing, personally, to come from military experience?
Military service gave me the opportunity to serve the country. I refused a field commission of 2nd Lieutenant since I had the opportunity to become a civilian and be employed in technical investigation work.

I obtained my discharge in Japan and became a civilian technical investigator for 5250 Tech Intell Detach, G-2, GHQ, Tokyo, Japan to broaden my intellectual knowledge in the field of chemistry and engineering. During 4 years, I visited most of the 'Imperial' Universities, major industrial firms, and large research laboratories to investigate their war time activities and research projects towards the war efforts. I met many distinguish scientists and researchers and learned many things that gave me a boost in future life.

I was a graduate of University of California, 1938 with a degree in Chemistry and graduate work in micro-chemistry until my leave of absence in 1939. I was drafted into US Army and accepted by a Navy Board because of my technical background. Half way through basic at Camp Blanding, I was again drafted to MIS to study Japanese. I graduated MIS as S/Sgt, a potential team leader.

At Heart Mountain Relocation Center, I was called by the Project Director to be informed that some organization on the outside was requesting my assistance. Project Director could not disclose the source since it was classified and I was already drafted into the US Army.

At basic training, I was called by the Regiment Hdqr and Division Hdqr stating that someone was trying to get you out of the Army. The Army was trying get me to be an Officer Candidate for Chemical Warfare or Quartermaster Corp. However, MIS drafted me to study Japanese.

At MIS I was again called in and learned that MIS had a higher priority and could not release. At X Corp, Kure, I was again called in to be notified that an organization was wanting me but still did not disclose the organization since it was classified. I still wondered who was trying to get me out of the Army. I told them to forget the offer since the war was over and I would be returning to civilian life.
Upon my return to the United States in 1950, I visited my Professor at Universtiy of California at Berkeley in regards to my future plans. When I walked into his office, he said 'Where in the hell were you?' I then realized that his organization at the Manhattan Project was trying to get me out of the Army as the story unfolded. If they had gotten hold of me, I would not be living today because of radiation poisoning.

My civilian life was more interesting as a Research Chemist in an Aerospace Industry for 20 years and then 10 years as Research Chemist in environmental laboratory.

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