Jon Crispin's Notebook

Robert L Crispin

Posted in History, Occupation of Japan, US Navy, World War II, Yokohama by joncrispin on 14/08/2015

My dad, seen here in the middle, died 8 years ago today.  I have always meant to write a long post about him, but the time never seems quite right.  He was a really interesting guy.  As he was about to be drafted into the Army, he heard about a US Navy Japanese language program at the University of Colorado.  He applied, got accepted, and learned to read, write, and speak fluent Japanese in less than 18 months.  He came out as a naval officer and spent the rest of the war translating intelligence intercepts.  He was on a ship next to the USS Missouri when MacArthur accepted the Japanese surrender on 2 September 1945.

This photograph (a 4×5 contact print) has been on the wall of my studio for a really long time.  I am sure at some point I turned it over, but the date on the back never registered with me.

Yesterday, I was looking at it and realized that he arrived in Yokohama just 2 days after the surrender.  And very soon after that, these 3 guys were the first Americans to arrive on the island of Hokkaido to begin the occupation.  I remember him saying that they didn’t know how they would be received, but that the Japanese were very welcoming and seemed to be greatly relieved that the war was over.

Click here and here for a couple of links about that time.  It seems almost surreal to me to have such a direct connection to something that happened almost 70 years ago, and seems so far removed from my own experiences.

One Response

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  1. marketing4introverts said, on 14/08/2015 at 10:18 am

    I have been working on the memories my Dad wrote down of his WWII experiences – hoping to have the final done by Christmas. Fortunately, my grandmother saved all his letters, he took “a mess” of pictures at the end of the war, and he wrote what he remembered above and beyond the letters. Since that whole generation was reluctant to talk about the war, I grew up feeling like it was ages ago when really I was born 7 years after the end of the war. Amazing that your Dad could be fluent in Japanese, PLUS the writing, in such a short time. Thanks for sharing! Dhyan


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