Mioko Kadota Memories during December 8, 1941 and 1945

(This is retyped by Kikuko Delp on August 5, 2019)


The fateful day of the Pearl Harbor attack came on the 8th of December, 1941. Our Pastor, Dr. Harry W. Myers was arrested and imprisoned in Kobe, later he was moved to the Sakai Prison. Mrs. Myers made a visit on Dr. Myers in Sakai, I accompanied her. His glasses and the Bible were taken away from him, but he told us those memorized verses were not touched. He told us to memorize any favorite verses, so they could be a great help to us always – at any moment whenever we are in need.


The English-speaking Congregation asked the German Pastor Liemar Hennig who had recently come from the Union Theological Seminary in New York, to help us in the afternoon after he had the service for the German-speaking Congregation in the morning. The German-speaking Congregation’s number was increased greatly, having the evacuees from Java, while ours was decreasing in numbers as many of the members have left Kobe when they felt something was in the air. Carl Hansen, the Danish engineer who came to Japan with only one year contract together with two others, but could not go home. So, Carl Hansen; Roy Smith until his repatriation in 1942; Mr. & Mrs. Masanosuke Taniguchi (Mrs. Taniguchi was Finish); Herbert Straus – German-Japanese young man; L. H. Bartholomew – Indian; old Obertik –American Internees were brought to Kobe from Guam and the Hyogokencho officials came to the church for the help as those Internees did not have any warm clothes. But is was difficult for us to provide things as the most of our members have already left Kobe, so we decided to take up the special offerings to help them with. The Government could issue the coupons to buy underwear and the most needed articles, but no money to offer. We collected some money and gave it to the Officials, although we had prisoners. The internees are civilians, they have nothing to do with the war, but the man was not satisfied with it. They could buy some most needed articles with our small gift until they have started to receive the allowance in June from the Red Cross through the Swiss Government.


The Internees called on us with some gift of money at the Christmas, 1942 which they have collected out of their small pocket money and their hand painted cards, asked us to use it for our benevolences.  Miss Kadota went to the Fukiai-kuyakusho, asking them to select 15-20 names (I’m sorry that I’ve forgotten exact number and the amount of money), officials is the Kuyakusho could not believe why the enemy nationals, specially those Internees to give us gift for our benevolence. I explained that it is our custom to help with needy and share the joy at the Christmas time, they wished to show us their appreciation to our help they received when they needed right after they were brought to Kobe in the cold winter from the warm Guam Island. Then, they said if it is such a precious gift, they will take the trouble and go through the list and will let me have the names and addresses who have lost their husband, father or son who was supporting the family. I mailed post cards to those people, telling them that we have a small gift for them, - I recall it was something like 5 yen each – please come to the Union Church with the card. In a meantime, I spoke about it to a German and the answer came back that they will never accept any gift no matter how hard up they were, IF it was from the enemy, that gave me the worry if any one would act like the German when they came with the card, but no one, not one person turned us down, instead they said ‘mottainai’ they were so touched after they’ve found that the gift was from the enemy nationals, specially from the internees and accepted it with the great appreciation with mixed feelings, some even with tears in their eyes and said that they will offer it onto their family shrine, then they will use it with the great carem ‘daiji ni’.


The following year on the Easter Sunday, I bought enough daffodils for each one in the Camp No.2 as I knew the numbers xxx were there. Mr. Hansen and I took them after we used them for our service, he waited outside and I went in alone, he thought it would be better for me to be alone, because it was the war time, we had to be very careful with many things which we never think of the now – in the peace time. A maid who came to the door told me that I had better go home as a lady who came just before me, had to go away in tears as her gift was not accepted. I told her to tell the Chief of Police who was having the dinner with the Internees and who doesn’t like to be disturbed during his meals, but he came to the door without any fuse and thanked me for the beautiful daffodils and for my visit, promised to give them to everyone after the dinner, it surprised the maid who was watching me between the sliding doors! I didn’t go as a private person, but from the Union Church. Two or three pieces of daffodils must have given then a little touch if the Easter. I don’t know what kind of dinner they had at the Camp No. 2 for the Easter.


Some one came with a Police from the Camp No. 1, asking us for the Christmas Tree decorations, so we did let them have ours. They have decorated the Tree nicely for the Party. Dr. Kaneko, Mrs. Kaneko, His nurse and I were invited to the Christmas dinner on the Christmas Day, 1942 to the Camp No. 1. The Chief of Police there was stationed in Manchuria before the war, and he had the knowledge somewhat how people celebrated the Christmas. He managed to get things for the dinner – the puddings, ice-cream, fruits, we all enjoyed the big feast, specially us, Japanese.