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					                                The US Navy Japanese/Oriental Language School Archival Project
                                                         The Interpreter
                                     Archives, University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries
 Number 55                        Remember September 11, 2001                                                                   October 15, 2002

                                                                                 .Return        of Swords
          Our Mission                 the good natured Harvard/Yale                                                   and then the question arose on
                                      rivalry at that time and place:                                                 how to keep them from being
  In the Spring of 2000, the             “At Yale, they don‟t have               Before the end of WWII, Captain      destroyed. The young Japanese
  Archives continued the origi-       entrance exams, they have try-             Harold Willens USMCR [JLS            said he would search the
  nal efforts of Captain Roger        outs.”                                     1945] was dispatched to a            warehouse if he was given
  Pineau and William Hudson,             And to Ned Coffin, a popular            staging area in Guam as part of a    permission and when he found
  and the Archives first at-          member of the Yale contingient:            possible American invasion           the swords he would give them
  tempts in 1992, to gather the       “Hey Ned, say something in                 force. However, the War ended        to Willens, whom he had come
  papers, letters, photographs,       „Yale‟.”                                   in August 1945, and after a few      to respect and Willens would
  and records of graduates of                                       Jack Craig   weeks he was sent along with a       keep them and guard them
  the US Navy Japanese/                                               USMCR      large Marine contingient to          privately. Going in with several
  Oriental Language School,                                          JLS 1944                                         guards, miraculously the young
                                                                                 Kumamoto City in Japan where
  University of Colorado at           [Ed. Note: Yeah, well, we felt the         he spent about a year as part of     man found these four of five
  Boulder, 1942-1946. We              same way at the University of Idaho        the Marine group administering       swords along with identifying
  assemble these papers in            toward Boise State University.             that area.                           inscriptions in the hilts of the
  recognition of the contribu-        DMH]
                                                                                     To avoid any violence, the       swords,      establishing    their
                                                  _______________
  tions made by JLS/OLS                                                          American command decided to          authenticity and gave them to
  instructors and graduates to                                                                                        Willens to keep forever. Willens,
  the War effort in the Pacific
                                            Book Review                          have the Japanese surrender
                                                                                                                      in turn, had them shipped to his
                                                                                 weapons of any kind to the
  and the Cold War, to the             Anton Myrer, The Last                     Marine Corps authority. These        home      in     Santa    Monica,
  creation of East Asian                    Convertible                          weapons would be stored in a         California. As the story goes, the
  language programs across                                                       large central warehouse. This        old man‟s neurosis disappeared
  the country, and to the             I submit the following review to                                                and he was “saved.”
                                                                                 included among other types of
  development of Japanese-            you because this book is about                                                      As an old friend of Willens, I
                                                                                 weapons, large numbers of
  American      cultural   rec-       your generation of educated                                                     visited his home often, saw the
                                                                                 Samurai swords that had been
  onciliation programs after          elite, in this case, Harvard „44.                                               swords, but never heard the
                                                                                 passed        down        through
  World War II.                       They were one of the classes that                                               complete story until recently.
                                                                                 generations.
                                      had to interrupt their education                                                Some fifteen or twenty years
                                                                                     One day a young Japanese
  Harvard v. Yale                     to go to war. I feel you would
                                      enjoy this novel if you have not
                                                                                 from Tokyo came down to              later Willens was invited along
                                                                                 Kumamoto and asked to speak to       with his family to visit China – a
Bull Dog! Bull Dog!                   read the book before.                                                           notable honor. Willens did some
                                                                                 the Japanese Language Officer
Bow, wow, wow.                           Anton Myrer, was made                                                        creative     and     magnanimous
Harvard! Harvard!                                                                named Harold Willens. In those
                                      famous by his military cult novel                                               thinking about what agreat
Grr, Grr, growl!                                                                 days traveling anywhere was an
                                      Once an Eagle and his grim                                                      gesture it would be to return the
                                                                                 arduous task.
I read with delight Harry             discussion of comrades rent by                                                  swords to their rightful owners in
                                                                                     He explained that his father
Muheim‟s account of Professor         the realities in the Pacific in The                                             Japan. Before leaving for Japan,
                                                                                 was an old man living in
Wolle‟s description of the JLS        Big War.                                                                        he got in touch with the Mayor
                                                                                 Kumamoto        and    that     he
students as “snooty Easterners”           The book is actually an                                                     of Kumamoto City to get his
                                                                                 worshipped him. But he said his
and his hope that Harry would         explanation by the             main                                             help in tracing the whereabouts
                                                                                 father was dying out of remorse
infiltrate the group planning a       character to his godson. Like any                                               of the son. This was done.
                                                                                 and worries and fear that his
musical review to guide it in a       historian, he makes a short story                                               Willens sent the swords to his
                                                                                 surrendered Samarai swords
“non-snooty direction.”               long. The Last Convertible is                                                   hotel in Tokyo to hold for his
                                                                                 would be destroyed, and asked it
    This called to mind my first      actually a 1940 Packard which                                                   arrival. He contacted the son and
                                                                                 there was any way the swords
impressions of the student body       appears at a dorm at Harvard,                                                   apprised him when he would be
                                                                                 could be saved. They had been in
when I arrived in Boulder in          driven by a French sophisticate                                                 in Tokyo on return from China to
                                                                                 the family for a hundred years
January 1943: there were more         veteran, that beguiles and unites                                               give back the treasured swords.
                                                                                 and the old man was very
Ivy Leaguers than you can find        the disparate frosh dorm-mates                                                      To Willens‟ amazement and
                                                                                 attached to them. Willens
among officers of Wall Street         and becomes central to their                                                    delight there was a TV crew at
                                                                                 developed a respect for the
investment banks and partners in      “honeyed” pre-War youth at                                                      the airport on his return from to
                                                                                 young man‟s efforts and his
high-powered New York law             Harvard. Benny Goodman, big                                                     Tokyo. The representatives of
                                                                                 desire to save the swords for his
firms. Moreover, from the             games, whiskey flasks, girls                                                    the large Japanese TV company
                                                                                 dying father. He promised he
number of singers performing for      from surrounding schools and                                                    told him they would pick him up
                                                                                 would take up the matter with his
social events, I was sure that at     excursions in that beautiful                                                    the next day –a Saturday
                                                                                 CO. Willens then spoke to his
least half of the Yale Glee Club      convertible define a carefree                                                   morning – to televise the
                                                                                 CO, who agreed that the swords
was in residence. Both Yale and       time before decisions. They                                                     returning of the swords.
                                                                                 should be protected and not
Harvard seemed to have a              finish school, some in the                                                          At the Saturday morning
                                                                                 destroyed.
greater representation – or           married quanset huts. However,                                                  ceremony, witnessed by a large
                                                                                     Willens explained in his next
visibility, perhaps – than other      war and choices caught up with                                                  TV audience, Willens handed
                                                                                 interview with the young man
colleges and universities. I recall   them and take their casualties,                                                 over the swords to the son who
                                                                                 that first it would be a
bon mots by Jack Bronston, a          leaving divisions in the group of                                               never dreamt he would get them
                                                                                 tremendous effort just to find the
Harvard graduate, that reflected      curiously bound classmates.                                                     back. What a great example of
                                                  _______________                swords in that huge warehouse
generosity and faith on the part      Stroke. He was 84.Weil “gave        first stores in the country to           JLS/OLS Plaque
of the Japanese and the               his whole life to Fashion Bar,”     develop specialty divisions.               To be Hung
American Willens and what a           said his friend John Levy, whose        Weil helped Fashion Bar
                                                                                                                   On Veterans Day
symbolic accolade for the trust       father Jack Levy, and aunt          expand to more than 50 stores in
between two peoples.                  Hannah Levy started Fashion         Colorado. It was his idea to        The Veterans Lounge in the
                                      Bar in 1936. Weil, a distant        come up with niche stores that      newly renovated University
                    William Newman                                                                            Memorial Center has finally
                           JLS 1943   cousin of the Levys, was visiting   became enormously popular.
           _______________            Denver when Jack Levy invited       After the Levys retired, Weil       been completed. Taking up ¾ of
                                      him to join. So he did.             became president of Fashion         the reception area, one wall
    Fashion Bar Exec                     “It was a labor of love for      Bar.       Following       Weil‟s   holds plaques to the CU fallen of
    William Weil Dies                 him,” John Levy said. “He was       retirement, Fashion Bar was sold    WWI, WWII, Vietnam and
                                      absolutely essential in every       to Specialty Realtors in 1992.      Korea. The center of the room
William     Weil,    who      was                                                                             holds the bell of the USS
                                      aspect, the one who took the            Weil entered the US Navy
instrumental in developing the                                                                                Colorado. I have arranged for
                                      business from a store-by-store      Japanese Language School in
Fashion Bar Chain of retail                                                                                   Navy ROTC Cadets to hang the
                                      growth to a real horizontal         April, 1943.
stores in Colorado, died May 24,                                                                              plaque at 11 AM on the 11th of
                                      growth where we were one of the                Denver Post & Archives
2002 after an accident during a                                                      _______________
                                                                                                              November. Program TBA.
                                                                                                                         _______________