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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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