Blog Archives

Current News – Japanese Librarian

TOKYO — Thousands of newspapers dating back to 1945, countless clippings of old stories and half a million priceless photographs fill a room that Norio Muroi has tended for the past 42 years.

Stars and Stripes’ library in Tokyo preserves the stories and heroics of countless service members from World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars alongside records of newsworthy events on American bases in the Far East over the past 75 years.

A tailor’s son from Otawara in Tochigi prefecture, Muroi in 1977 was studying economics at Hosei University in Tokyo when he started as a Stars and Stripes copyboy, he recalled during a recent tour of the library at Hardy Barracks, the newspaper’s Pacific headquarters in the Japanese capital.

“It was rare to see American people so much in those days and to have an opportunity to talk with native speakers,” he said of his first days on the job, when he was eager to practice the English he’d learned at school.

Just steps from the nightlife hub of Roppongi, Hardy Barracks was a hive of activity. Dozens of U.S. military and civilian staff and 180 Japanese worked to publish hundreds of thousands of newspapers each day for service members on the main islands of Japan, Okinawa, Korea and other parts of the Pacific such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan and Guam.

It was an era before online news or Google searches, when printed newspapers provided a vital link to home for troops stationed overseas.

“We were like tennis ball boys,” Muroi said of the copyboys, who spent mornings rushing about the newsroom carrying story drafts and messages to editors. The youngsters burned plenty of calories and looked forward to a free Coke from the sports editor at the end of each shift, he recalled.

In 1979, he started full time in the library. Known today as the Toshi Cooper Library, it holds at least 250,000 clippings that are stored in envelopes and filed so they can be searched by subject, such as notable figures, military units and campaigns.

But Muroi didn’t spend his entire career among the archives. Some of his most memorable experiences involved serving as an interpreter for journalists in the field.

In February 1982, he and the other librarians acting as temporary linguists joined reporters rushing to a fire at the Hotel New Japan that, ultimately, claimed 32 lives not far from the Sanno Hotel, a U.S. military property.

The following day, Muroi was back in the field as an interpreter after a Japan Air Lines pilot intentionally crashed a DC-8 airliner at Haneda Airport, killing 24 people, he said.

Two of the most memorable stars he met on the job were folk musician John Denver and baseball Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio, Muroi said, proudly showing off photographs of his 1992 encounter with Joltin’ Joe. He met the Yankee legend while helping a sports reporter cover the U.S.-Japan baseball series at the now-demolished Korakuen Stadium.

The library that he’s handing off to his successor, Akiko Takamizawa, is a recently renovated, state-of-the-art facility that features constant temperature and humidity control.

It stores hundreds of large, red volumes that contain original Stars and Stripes newspapers sorted by month all the way back to 1945, and countless clippings and old photographs preserved in hundreds of white boxes on metal racks.

The library has about 500,000 photographs taken by Stars and Stripes staff or sourced from news agencies or U.S. military service branches over the years, Muroi said.

He opened a box of photographs and found black-and-white prints of images taken during the Vietnam War by Gary Cooper, an enlisted Stars and Stripes reporter who eventually married the library’s namesake, longtime librarian Toshi Cooper.

One of those photos shows a wounded soldier getting aid from a couple of buddies on the battlefield. The print, like hundreds of thousands of others in the library, is coded to allow librarians to track negatives stored at the Stars and Stripes Europe library in Kaiserslautern, Germany. The libraries are gradually digitizing those negatives for posterity.

The library isn’t just a valuable resource for working journalists. Muroi’s work also involves tracking down old stories and photographs for veterans or those whose friends or relatives have appeared in Stars and Stripes over the years.

Muroi said he’s had plenty of useful advice over the years from Toshi Cooper, who served as librarian from 1948 to 1971. Now chairwoman emeritus of the Stars and Stripes Association, which organizes reunions of former employees, Cooper described Muroi as the ideal newspaper librarian.

“He has everything it takes to be the perfect research librarian,” she said. “He is studious, calm and steady, curious, patient, selfless, a good listener, devoted and above all that, he loves Stars and Stripes.”

Preserving Stars and Stripes’ archives and other documents in the building is important, Muroi added.  “No matter how digital technology expands in the future the original is coming from here,” he said.

Muroi plans to stay in Tokyo after retirement and spend time hiking with his wife, Yoshiko. The couple’s first trip will be to a Japanese hot spring, he said.

Condensed from an article by:

robson.seth@stripes.com

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

#############################################################################################

Military Humor – 

“Stars and Stripes? Never heard of it!”

“Excuse me, you’re standing in my shaving water.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#############################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

June Chorn – Boise, ID; Civilian, jeep repair @ Gowen Field

Jack Clift (100) – Decatur, GA; US Army, WWII, PTO, Captain, 11th Airborne Division, Silver Star, Bronze Star

Daniel Fraunfelter – Falmouth, MA; US Navy, WWII, radioman

Frederick Hall – Whitefish Bay, WI; USMC, Korea & Vietnam

Claude Hensley – Asheville, NC; US Army, Vietnam, 82nd Airborne Division

Wilford K. Hussey Jr. – Hilo, HI; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co. K/3/31/7th Infantry Division, KIA (North Korea)

Robert W. Marshall – Portsmouth, VA; US Army, Major 11th Airborne Division

Hugh Palmer – Lakewood, OH; US Army, WWII, PTO, 25th Infantry, Medical Unit

Gerald Thummel – Tipton, KS; US Navy, Korea & Vietnam, Ret. (27 y.)

George Wallace (100) – St. Paul, MN; US Navy, WWII
##########################################################################################################################################################################################

National Dog Day(s)

OUR MILITARY WORKING DOGS

'Scoop' - Stars & Stripes mascot in Korea Sept. 1950

‘Scoop’ – Stars & Stripes mascot in Korea Sept. 1950

Whether battle-trained or just loyal, man’s best friend has been photographed following troops into battle since the Civil War. And just like the changes in tactics through the years, the relationship between servicemembers and canine companions has evolved through training, on the battlefield, and how they’re used back home.

With wagging tales and slobbering kisses, dogs now help assimilate servicemembers to life away after returning home — something Stars and Stripes has documented several times in the twilight of the United States’ most recent conflicts.

Smedley Butler - USMC, San Diego facing his Drill Sgt.

Smedley Butler – USMC, San Diego facing his Drill Sgt.

In celebration of National Dog Day, here’s a look back at the dogs that have greeted, helped and stayed by their best friends during the most trying times.

 tibbetts.meredith@stripes.com
For a video about working dog, trained by veterans – for veterans______
************

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

################################################################################

Military Dog Humor – eb41315790d1b4cd9f364661285535e5

dog-humor

 

 

DvilDog1

###############################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Albert Boverio – San Jose, CA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 95th Field Artillery Battalion

Chester Carter – NY & NC; US Army, WWII, ETOBaby on tombstone.jpg Those left behind.

Milton Frederick – W> AUS; RA Army, WWII

Desmond Knauf – Rotorua, NZ; RNZ Navy #NZ3354, WWII

Henry Lee – Wichita, KS; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Frank Peterson Jr. – Stevensville, MD; USMC, Korea & Vietnam [1st Black Marine pilot]

Matthew Roland – Lexington, KY; US Air Force, Afghanistan, 21/23 Special Tactics Squadron, Captain

Forest Sibley – Pensacola, FL; US Air Force, Afghanistan, Special Operations, SSgt.

William Owen Young – Burma & CAN; Royal Bombay Sappers & Miners, WWII, 411 Parachute Squadron

Frank Zimmerman Jr. – Gresham, OR; US Army, WWII, PTO, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

################################################################################

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: