8th Army Military Government WWII Letter Japan Army of Occupation

This letter was written, November 15, 1945, by a Lt. who was with the 8th Army Military Government Section, as part of the Occupation Army in Japan. From the letter......

    Dear Mother and Daddy, There hasn't been much excitement for the past few days. Working at the bank consists mainly of being present, answering questions, and trying to look official. Our bank is located in a small temporary office at the present, and as soon as we can move to a regular bank building I am going to spend my spare time studying.
     It has been rainy today and yesterday. The army says Tokyo-Yokohamas climate corresponds to that of Seattle, Wash. This hasn't said anything yet at Wash. is as foreign to you as is Japan, at least it is for me. About the best comparison I can offer is Kentucky, which again doesn't help you any. It snows here in January and February. I asked one of the Jap workers the other day how cold it go. He said 10 degrees below zero. Well, this kind of got me, so after sleeping over it, I asked another the next day, and he came out with the same answer. I guess he noticed how distressed I was, for after a record, he said, "zero centigrade." This makes it about 15 degrees above, I guess, Fla. style.
    We had a very interesting experience last Sat. afternoon I haven't mentioned yet. The Tokyo Chamber of Commerce Bldg is right next to the American Club, so last Sat. one of the workers came over to see us and said they had a little choral group formed among the chamber of commerce workers and would like to entertain us that evening after work. Well, they came over, about 8 of them: a pianist, who since we didn't have a piano, had to play an accordion, 6 men singers, and a woman. They came in bowing and serafing, and wanted to know what we would like for them to sing. We said, "help yourself," so after a big conference, they asked if it would be alright to sing a German song. We said, "OK," so they did. This was followed by "Moonlight on the Colorado," several Japanese folksongs, and "Schubert's Serenade." We then asked them to sing a march. This precipitated another big conference with produced the question whether it could be a Japanese one, and if so, could it be the "National March." We agreed, so they sung that. After that, the time limit we had set was about up, so they finished with "Dixie", which they insisted that we all sing. They really were good, and their voices were as good as any I have heard, except they lacked volume.
  The Japanese Govt. has done a very bad job of managing the country, and isn't working very hard now to get things ready for this winter. Prices for foodstuffs really have inflated. Twenty-one ounces of sugar cost 800 yen. Before the war, a university graduate received 75 yen a month, so you can see how prices have gone. None of the banks, government, etc. buildings have had any heat since 1942, because all radiation, boilers, etc. were removed at that time for scrap iron. All bark on windows etc. are wood; all chains iron rails around parks, buildings, etc. have been removed. Quite a few little things such as door knobs and latches, hinges etc. are made of wood- very good job too. As the bank workers say, Japan was really on her last leg.
    As you can, the boss doesn't believe in "non-fraternization," so the civilians are pretty big buddies with the Americans. The "upper crust" of Tokyo even bring their charming daughters over to the company grade officer's club for dances, not once a week but every night. No, I haven't danced with any yet, and don't intend to, they still don't look white enough.
    Well, I guess that is about all, however, I could write forever. I hope you all are interested in all this. Take care of yourselves. I hope you had a good Thanksgiving and Pal had lots of love. 

Lots of Love,


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