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Japanese Shipyard Workers at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard in 1942???

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Reading the excellent book I Boat Captain a 1976 book on the Japanese Navy Submarines in WWII, in it at one point it states that the USS Yorktown CV 5 after it was hit at the Coral Sea and returned to Pearl to be repaired before Midway, that among the workers working on it were I Quote (Many of them sons and grandsons of men born in Japan). Was this true? Japanese Americans were allowed to work at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard after the war started, and on a Capital Ship?

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In general, no they were not.  Immediately after the Pearl Harbor attack, Niisei shipyard workers had their ID badges confiscated and they were dismissed from their positions at Pearl Harbor.  Those who were Americans  born and educated in Hawaii were transferred to other military construction contract projects (building military housing, barracks, roads, depots, etc.) but were denied work at secure installations (Pearl Harbor, Hickam, Red Hill, the P.H. Shipyard, etc.)

 

Even prior to the attack, persons of Japanese descent (Issei & Nisei) were in a different category as identified by their government issued ID badges.

 

Identification badges with photographs were issued to all government workers and civilians contracted to work for the government as a “security measure”.  Japanese American co-workers were given black-rimmed badges with the word “Restricted” on it, while everyone else was given white badges.

 

Having a black badge meant some work areas, such as underground tunnels and ammunition depots, were off-limits to Japanese Americans. Although American born Nisei worked primarily on building wooden barracks, they were occasionally assigned work near the restricted areas. In those instances an armed guard was stationed nearby to monitor their movements.

 

Allan Beekman, a former Central Identification Bureau employee, shed some light on the martial law government’s badge system. Beekman analyzed and evaluated the personal histories of prospective and current government workers. He said that in 1942, there were four classes of identification badges:

 

• “Number One” was for non-Japanese with no serious criminal record;

 

• “Number Two” was for non-Japanese with criminal records;

 

• “Number Three” — the black-rimmed badges — were for those of Japanese ancestry with U.S. or dual citizenship with no criminal record; and

 

• “Number Four” were for kibei, or American- or foreign-born Japanese who were educated in Japan. In theory, those assigned “Number Four” badges were not eligible for government-related work and were likely to be interned.

 

The four classes of badges seemed to create some semblance of order and structure during that period of martial law. In reality, however, says Beekman, the badges were designed to segregate those of Japanese descent. For instance, children who were part-Japanese were required to wear the black-rimmed “Number Three” badge if they worked for the government, while those wearing “Number One” badges could not be differentiated from the “Number Two” badges for non-Japanese with criminal records.

 

 

 

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Thanks Salvage, so we can take it this statement in the book is quite inaccurate, given that the Yorktown CV 5 was a vessel, that the Navy was fortunate enough not to have been sent to the bottom at Coral Sea, and that it's repair and quick return to service was of the utmost importance. That was my feeling given that even before the attack, they were viewed with suspicion, like famous moving and shuffling of aircraft at Hickam, Wheeler, Bellows, for fear of sabotage etc.

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Interesting.  I wonder if that classification system was maintained throughout the war.


Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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On 7/28/2020 at 7:53 PM, patches said:

Reading the excellent book I Boat Captain a 1976 book on the Japanese Navy Submarines in WWII, in it at one point it states that the USS Yorktown CV 5 after it was hit at the Coral Sea and returned to Pearl to be repaired before Midway, that among the workers working on it were I Quote (Many of them sons and grandsons of men born in Japan). Was this true? Japanese Americans were allowed to work at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard after the war started, and on a Capital Ship?

 

A lot of Anglo Americans come to Hawaii and mistake many of the residents for "Japanese".  (I saw it myself even in the 1990's.) The island population is a mixture of native Hawaiian, Chinese, Filipino, Samoan as well as Japanese.  The author may have just made a faulty assumption when looking at the workforce.


Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

donation2017.gif

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif


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This book is a combined Autobiography and a Historical account, The Author is Zenji Orita, a Submarine Officer who survived the war, joining the Navy via their Naval Academy in 1929 and in the 50s joined the new Japanese Navy retiring altogether in 1963. Book is co written by a Joseph Harrington, WWII U.S. Naval Officer and Naval History Author. It's very detailed, details on the attacks on actions off China in the 30s, Pearl, Midway, Diego Suarez in the Indian Ocean, Ceylon, The Suez Canal missions etc, the attacks on the Pacific West Coast of the U.S., in short the whole WWII Japanese naval effort on the surface and below is covered.

 

Orita never having been to Hawaii before the war, and obviously not after  Dec 7th, so what I,m gathering was either mistaken in what he heard in this regard during he war, like some kind of scuttlebutt, or after the war maybe hearing this, or it could be Mr Harrington's error, and something in the vein gwb eluded to.

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