Building 640 at the Presidio in San Francisco

Building 640 at the Presidio in San Francisco
Information Source for the Military Intelligence Service Historic Learning Center

Friday, December 10, 2010

Students Share Their Experience at NJAHS: Asa’s Story

Asa Hanamoto was one of the "Yes-yes" internees that managed to find a way out of the Japanese internment camps. As a child in a farming family, Mr. Hanamoto was quite experienced with agricultural work. He was able to use these skills to his advantage, and volunteer as an agricultural worker during the internment. He succeeded in avoiding staying in the camps for quite a while, but was eventually forced to return. Here, he came into contact with the "No-no" group in the camps, and was forced to tread carefully in camp. However, it was at this point that he was drafted into the army.

Mr. Hanamoto's was drafted into the army as a regular soldier, but due to his background and knowledge of at least basic Japanese, he was recruited to join the military's MIS division, working as a translator and interpreter. He trained both as a soldier and as a translator, but by the time most of his training was finished, the war was practically over.

Since the war was already finished, Mr. Hanamoto was only required to go to a few places while in the military. First, he stayed in the Phillipines, then he moved to Japan, where the military was doing it's post-war occupation.

Mr. Hanamoto's stories were very detailed, as well as very informative. He had a very active life during the internment period, and his stories were very interesting to listen to and transcribe. He was able to continue his life to some degree instead of being stuck in the internment camps, and he had quite a few stories to tell because of it. It was an interesting experience to listen to him.

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