Fumi Taniyama was born in 1918 in Honolulu, the second oldest of seven children. His parents were immigrants from Hiroshima, Japan. His mother worked at the Hawaiian Pineapple Cannery while his father worked as a laborer. Taniyama attended McKinley High School for only one year. As the oldest son, he had to leave school to help support his family.
While serving in the army his only thoughts were that they had to prove their loyalty, no matter the consequence. Taniyama returned to Hawaii after recuperating at many army hospitals from a serious leg injury.
With the help of Leslie Deacon who was secretary at Castle & Cook, one of the largest companies in Hawaii, he got a job at the company and worked there for many years. Taniyama later found employment with the purchasing department of the State Department of Education, working there until he retired.
Mr. Deacon befriended many of the Nisei war veterans. He helped numerous 100th Battalion veterans find jobs upon their return to Hawaii and was among the first three men who were made honorary members of Club 100 in 1944. In appreciation for his friendship and help, at least 12 first born sons of veterans were named Leslie, including Taniyama’s first born son who goes by Les.
According to Les, almost until his father died he – along with other appreciative 100th veterans who were fortunate recipients of Deacon’s generosity – met annually at M’s Ranch House in Aina Haina for Deacon’s birthday. As a tradition, all the 100th veterans’ first born sons (ALL named Leslie) would gather around the seated patriarch for picture taking.