Imprisoned Apart: The World War II Correspondence of An Issei Couple

By Louis Fiset | Go to book overview

TWO Listening to the Sound of Shoes

The time has come For my arrest This dark rainy night. I calm myself and listen To the sound of the shoes. -- Sojin Takei1

Matsushita HAD LONG AGO abandoned his plan to return to Japan to teach English language and literature. Because there was no actual need now to enroll at the University of Washington, he sought other employment. The job market for kaisha, or "corporation," workers, however, had shrunk by the autumn of 1940 as a result of increasingly strained relations between the United States and Japan. Finding the equivalent of the job he had left was impossible. Instead, in October the Seattle Japanese Chamber of Commerce hired him to compile trade statistics for the benefit of the American public. The chamber of commerce, a loose association of Seattle businesses, aimed at maintaining positive trade relations with Japan. Although well qualified for this line of work, Matsushita held a rather lowly status within the organization, in both responsibilities and salary ($150 per month), and the job, with its emphasis on statistics, must have been dulling to his creative leanings.

Unknown to Matsushita and other chamber of commerce employees throughout the country, statistics of another kind were quietly being collected by the FBI and the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) in preparation for a possible Pacific war. As early as 1932, mainland U.S. resident Japanese with suspected close ties to Japan, or whose high regard for her culture was publicly known, came under surveillance as potential saboteurs. 2 Included were members of scores of Japanese clubs and organizations in the U.S.

-27-

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Imprisoned Apart: The World War II Correspondence of An Issei Couple
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Part One - The American Experience 1
  • One - Establishing Roots 3
  • Two Listening to the Sound of Shoes 27
  • Three - Incarceration 39
  • Four - Stone Fever 53
  • Five - Fields Under Snow 81
  • Part Two - Wartime Correspondence 99
  • Six - Censored 101
  • Seven - The Letters 113
  • Notes 269
  • Appendix - Tables 285
  • Bibliography 287
  • Photo Credits 293
  • Index 295
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