MIS Interpreters

1944 MIS class; courtesy of Ted Yenarinat, National WWII Museum

Throughout the war, more than 6,000 Japanese Americans would serve in the MIS as translators and interrogators—often at great risk—for 130 units across the Pacific.  After the war the MIS Nisei were tapped for critical assignments during the occupation of Japan.

The Military Intelligence Service (MIS) consisted mainly of Nisei men, for further information on the Japanese-Americans who served, I have a series on them, that can be located HERE>

Nisei interpreters worked closely with American and Japanese officials to recover the war-torn nation and restore a peacetime government. They also worked as translators during war crimes trials held in Japan, China, the Philippines, French Indochina and the East Indies.

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One of the most valuable contributions of the Nisei in the MIS was the translation of the captured documents referred to as the “Z Plan,” which outlined the Japanese plans for counterattack in the Southwest Pacific in 1944.

By the war’s end Nisei linguists had translated an astounding 20.5 million pages of documents. Without a doubt, the intelligence gathered by MIS interpreters shortened the war and saved lives. The work that many Japanese Americans performed with the MIS extended beyond World War II into the Cold War years, including occupation duty. Nisei often served as a bridge between occupation authorities and civilians. This service often continued through the Korean War and into the Vietnam era.

During war crimes trials in the Pacific, Nisei translators and interpreters monitored translations, both English and Japanese, performed by Japanese interpreters. They listened for accuracy and possible corrections, ensuring a correct translation for the court records.

Nisei Women’s Army Corps, Ft. Snelling

The postwar contribution of the MIS included women; Nisei volunteers with the Women’s Army Corps [WAC] were trained in translation of military documents for occupation duty. Until the early 1970s many of the contributions of the MIS were classified, and the stories and service of Nisei linguists went unrecognized.

The first recognition of MIS veterans came with the Presidential Unit Citation awarded in 2000 by President George W. Bush. In 2010, MIS veterans received the Congressional Gold Medal along with the other Japanese American veterans of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the 100th Infantry Battalion.

Koso Kanemoto in Japan

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Fellow blogger, Koji Kanemoto speaks of his father’s, Koso Kanemoto’s, MIS duty in his posts….

“There’s No Toilet Paper in the Jungle of Burma”

WWII Military Intelligence Today

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Gerald Anderson – Coffee Springs, AL; US Air Force, Vietnam

Charles Bringe – Melrose, MN; US Navy, WWII, gunner / Korea

William Cook – Covelo, CA; US Army, Korea, Lt.

Gertrude Drummond – Glen Cove, NY; Civilian, WWII, Grumman Aircraft

Juan Jaurigue – Tucson, AZ; USMC, WWII, PTO, 3 Purple Hearts, Bronze Star

Wilbur F. Kohlmorgan (101) – Montrose, IA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 34th ‘Red Bull’ Division

Pauline Lagarde – New Orleans, LA; Civilian, WWII, Pentagon

Chester ‘Glen’ Norton – Mt. Eerie, IL; US Navy, WWII, gunner

Irving A. Troob – Providence, RI; US Army, WWII, Middle East & CBI, Technician, 96th Signal Battalion

Lionel Woods (100) – Alexandra, NZ; Royal Navy, WWII, # MX70124

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on November 19, 2020, in Post WWII, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 87 Comments.

  1. We hear so much about internment of Japanese Americans, but never about their military service during the war and their important role as interpretors. The sheer numbers are astonishing!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. It’ fascinating to learn about the MIS interpretors, and it is good to hear that they are finally being recognized for the important role they played.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. 20.5 million pages of documents is indeed astounding! I’m so glad the service of these people was recognized formally by President Bush.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Fascinating, GP. I learn so much from you.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Concise information and love the pics & memes.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I am glad they were finally recognized for their service, GP. Thank you again for the history lesson.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. These translators were very valuable assets behind the scenes

    Liked by 2 people

  9. When I first looked at your title, I had to laugh. I read it as “Mis-interpreters” rather than as “Military Intelligence Service Interpreters.” Perhaps our current state of affairs led to my misinterpretation. What’s clear is that these men were dedicated to their task of providing clear and accurate accounts, and they served honorably. I knew nothing about them, and enjoyed the post tremendously.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Excellent history, G. One more thing I have learned from you and Koji. –Curt

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Another important part of the war effort finally recognised for its efforts, about time too.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Not related but want you to see a post of interest to you — Silk WWII Escape Map

    Nov 20, 2020 09:00 am | Yvette Hoitink is at http://www.dutchgenealogy.nl

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Sergeant Kubo with the little child is a beautiful photograph. I wonder what happened to them both?

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Het zijn dus niet alleen soldaten die belangrijk waren in de oorlog maar ook burgers die konden vertalen en zo ook levens redden .Gelukkig hebben ze nadien de herkenning gekregen die ze verdienden

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Love the toons. Good question, where did that helmet come from? Then I think of the sad part, hopefully not from a fallen soldier.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. I’m glad they were recognized. I never knew anything about these people. Their contribution must have been so important.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Fab post, glad they got their recognition in the end.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Maybe you know this story , GP. Immediately after Pearl Harbor a sailor in the brig claimed that he spoke fluent Japanese . The military was so desperate for interpreters that this man was promoted and sent on training lectures . The trouble of course was that he was faking it and it was only discovered months later when the true Japanese speakers were recruited and exposed this guy as a fake.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Wow. Dr. Bill Oba, an old college prof of mine served in the Army. But he went to Europe and unless I miss my guess, me might have been at the liberation of Dachau (trying to confirm that). If true, two of my mentors crossed paths/

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Super post, GP. Thanks for recognizing Nisei.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. It doesn’t get much more patriotic than that. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. They did some great work during that war, and at a time when many Japanese Americans remained interned in camps at home. Glad to hear they won that long-awited recognition.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Glad to know they were finally recognized for their contribution.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. I wonder why it took so long to honour those who made such a great contribution and helped to win the war against Japan. Very interesting post, GP!

    Liked by 3 people

    • For one thing, Peter, their positions were highly top secret, which they took to heart and would refuse to speak about it to anyone. Their modesty was also a factor, plus people in Congress who did not know their history, had no idea of all they accomplished.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Great addition to your Nisei series. We treat many our minorities and/or immigrants with disdain, yet they consistently answer this county’s call. The Niseis, the Code-Talkers, the Hispanics, and the Blacks all prove that our prejudices are just plain wrong in many cases. Nice job, GP.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. Translating for war crimes trials must have been difficult emotionally for the Nisei.

    Liked by 4 people

  27. Great post! I am surprised that it took so long to recognize their services.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. How very interesting and I’m glad their contribution was eventually recognized

    Liked by 4 people

  29. Your posts are always interesting and very informative. I so enjoy reading them!

    Liked by 5 people

  30. So glad they eventually were recognised. A very important role!

    Liked by 4 people

  1. Pingback: MIS Interpreters — Pacific Paratrooper | Ups Downs Family History

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