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TAN Nobuyoshi interview, 23 January 2011, Part One

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After graduating from university, I didn't try to find employment with a company. I chose to work as a civil servant. I the civil service, there were various organizations like the National Aeronautical Laboratory. However, as I had wanted to have a defense-related job I got a position with the Technical Research and Development Institute of the Japan Defense Agency. It had five different research institutes. The first institute was mainly engaged in developing ships and fire ammunitions. The second did research on food and clothes...and the third specialized in aircrafts. The fourth involved developing ground vehicles. The fifth researched sonars, submarines, and naval vessels, all of which were loaded on aircrafts. Among those different fields, I chose to study fire ammunitions. I was especially involved in developing the Type 74 and Type 90 battle tanks and the self-propelled 155 mm and 105 mm howitzers. I was always engaged in reading English technical literature. Since retiring, I've continued researching technical literature, including materials from the US Department of Defense, the Defense Agency of the European Union, and NATO.... As a researcher in charge of getting military and technical information, I've been translating such materials for the twelve years since I retired from the Japan Defense Agency. I was born on August 15, 1938 in Kochi Prefecture. After that, our family moved every 2 years, from Kochi to Osaka, and then to Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture. Then we moved to Kamiosaki, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo at the end of March 1944. We moved every 2 years because my father was a public prosecutor. At that time, there was an administrative rule that public prosecutors had to move every 2 years. When we moved to Tokyo, I noticed a remarkable difference between Tokyo and Maebashi. In Tokyo, virtually every house had a water tank for fire fighting in front of it. Also, in those days, every household would make an air-raid shelter in its garden. ... I saw such differences between the two cities. and I thought, "Everything is so different from the way it was in Maebashi." -- Did your family have an air-raid shelter too? -- Yes. We lived in my mother's family's house, and they'd already built a shelter. When there was an air raid, we'd shelter ourselves from the air attacks there. There was a house nearby with no garden. That family had ripped out their tatami mats and dug a shelter under the floor. When I saw that, I remember thinking, "They'll never be able to escape if their shelter is IN their house..." I thought my family's shelter was pretty standard at the time, but a wealthy family lived in our neighborhood. To my surprise, their air raid shelter had been built with concrete and bricks. I was so envious of that family's magnificent shelter. Regarding daily life in those days, you have to remember that there were serious food shortages. For kids, it was an age in which there was virtually no snacks. Due to the severe food situation, I also seldom saw dogs or cats. Also, women were forbidden from getting permanents. They all had their hair tied up in a knot. And all of them wore Japanese-style women's pantaloons called "monpe" because there was an order that banned the wearing of skirts. Adult men wore what was referred to as "the citizen's uniform." While they were out, men also wore military caps. The cap was a part of the citizen's uniform.

Video Details

Duration: 6 minutes and 4 seconds
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Genre: None
Views: 288
Posted by: japanairraids on Jan 30, 2011

TAN Nobuyoshi, former civilian researcher with the Japanese Ministry of Defense, discusses his experience of the WWII air raids.

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