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52 INTERPRETING THE TOKYO WAR CRIMES TRIAL PROFILES OF THE LINGUISTS Given the fact that multiple languages were used by the court participants, the Tokyo Trial could not have been conducted without the work of the interpreters. However, despite the critical role they played in the proceedings, the backgrounds of these linguists, with the exception of David Akira Itami, have remained largely unknown. This chapter focuses on the personal profiles of the main linguists who worked at the Tokyo Trial, in the hope of shedding light on political, social and cultural conditions in Japan and the United States before, during and after the Second World War. (The personal backgrounds of these linguists are also referred to in Chapters 4 and 5.) The Interpreters As previously mentioned, only a handful of the twenty-seven interpreters between Japanese and English recorded in the CHAPTER 3 3. PROFILES OF THE LINGUISTS 53 transcripts worked regularly throughout the trial. According to Tomie Watanabe (1998, 10–11), the interpreters who worked most frequently were the following: Toshiro Henry Shimanouchi 419 sessions Masakazu Eric Shimada 323 sessions Takashi Oka 289 sessions Tomio Mori 216 sessions Masahito Iwamoto 170 sessions Makoto Taji 160 sessions Naoshi George Shimanouchi 61 sessions Hideo Masutani 69 sessions Hideki Masaki 55 sessions Jun Tsuchiya 52 sessions Masao Yamanaka 42 sessions More than half of the twenty-seven interpreters were associated with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The rest were Japanese nationals who had grown up in bilingual households and/or with bilingual schooling. Toshiro Henry Shimanouchi, who interpreted in the greatest number of sessions, was born in Saga, Japan, in 1909 and moved with his family to California in 1912. He grew up in the Japanese communities of San Francisco, Oakland, Livingston, Fresno, and Los Angeles. Until his death in an internment camp, his father was the publisher of the Nichibei Shimbun, a Japanese language newspaper, and a well-respected leader in the Japanese American community. After graduating from Occidental College in 1931, Toshiro Shimanouchi could not find work in California because he had not been able to obtain U.S. citizenship, so he moved back to Japan in 1933. After working as a newspaper reporter, he joined the Society for International Cultural Relations, an organization affiliated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as a bilingual staff member. From November 1937 to April 1938, Shimanouchi toured the United States, focusing on the Japanese American community on the west coast, as a lecturer on behalf of the Foreign 54 INTERPRETING THE TOKYO WAR CRIMES TRIAL Affairs Association of Japan, a semi-official organization with close ties to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He undertook this mission in order “to stem the tide of adverse publicity Japan was suffering at the hands of the American press” (Ichioka 2006, 41–42), and defended Japan’s activities in Asia. Shimanouchi became an official of the Ministry during the war and in 1951 acted as an interpreter for Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida at the San Francisco Peace Conference, which negotiated the formal ending of hostilities between Japan and the United States, and the withdrawal of the occupation forces.Shimanouchi had a distinguished career with the Ministry,becomingConsulGeneralinLosAngelesandAmbassador to Norway. After retiring he became a senior adviser to the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (now the Japan Business Federation). His younger brother, Naoshi George Shimanouchi, also worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while his son Ken (with whom the author exchanged e-mails about Toshiro in 2007) is currently the Japanese Ambassador to Brazil. Masakazu Eric Shimada was born in 1912 to a Japanese mother and a German father who was a railway engineer hired by the Japanese government. His father returned to Germany when Shimada was three. He was educated in Japanese schools, but as a child had a lot of exposure to various languages spoken by foreigners in Japan. He studied English writing at a university preparatory school and learned spoken English from a U.S. missionary. While studying in the Faculty of Economics at Keio University in Tokyo, Shimada started working for HAVAS,the French news agency that has since become Agence France Presse (AFP). He also studied French at the Athénée Français in Tokyo and learned to write articles in French through on-the-job training. He was drafted into the Army in 1943,when Japan was already losing ground in the war, but he was placed in the...


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