Post War: Club 100

Author: Ben Tamashiro, D Company
Club 100 30th Anniversary Reunion, June 1972

Ben Tamashiro details the formation and early years of Club 100 and their presence in the community.

A great number of the men of the 100th returned to Hawaii in the Summer of 1945, through physical disability or demobilization. These hustlers organized an interim organization known as the Club One Puka Puka. Hideo Kajikawa, James Akamine, Hideo Sato, Kenichi Suehiro, Jiro Matsui, Tsuneo Morikawa and many others devoted a great deal of time and work to this interim organization which was to serve as the Hawaii base while the group awaited the return of the rest of the battalion home.

On August 15, 1946, in ceremonies connected with the Veterans Day Parade in Honolulu, the colors of the 100th Infantry Battalion was officially turned over to the Territory of Hawaii. With that, the war-time battalion was deactivated.

The combat phase of the 100th Infantry Battalion had ended. The “Purple Heart” battalion had made its mark in battles in Italy and France, half-way across the world from home. There were many who, immediately following the terrible days of December 7, 1941, doubted the patriotism of the Americans of Japanese Ancestry (AJAs); doubted that anything less than expatriation of all Japanese, aliens as well as citizens, would bring dire consequences upon the United States; doubted that loyalty for one’s country could be reducible to a “matter of the heart”. The men of the 100th had marched off to war backed by the faith of the few who had refused to give in to these doubters. They came home from the war having made believers of all those who thought that the AJAs were less than first-class citizens!

In December of 1945, the Club One Puka Puka was formally incorporated as the CLUB 100 under the laws of the Territory of Hawaii. The first elected officers of the new eleemosynary corporation were President: Mitsuyoshi Fukuda; Vice Presidents: Mitsuru Omori (At Large), Stanley Masumoto (Maui), Kazuma Hisanaga (Hawaii), Kazuto Yoshioka (Kauai), Katsumi Kometani (Oahu); Secretary: Edward Yoshimasu; Assistant Secretary: Warran Iwai; Treasurer: Hideo Kajikawa; Assistant Treasurer: Tadashi Ohta.

In one of the first actions taken by the Club 100, the following were elected Honorary Members: Colonel Kendall J. Fielder, General Mark W. Clark, Lieutenant-General Lucien Truscott, Major General Charles W. Ryder, Mr. John J. McCloy (Undersecretary of War in 1941), and Mr. Earl Finch.

A former Japanese language school property at 1444 Nuuanu Avenue was purchased in 1946 from the Hawaii Veterans War Memorial Association for $43,000. The first edition of the club organ “Puka Puka Parade” came off the press, Samuel Sakamoto editing this initial issue. Naoji Yamagata began his duties as Executive Secretary in August of 1946.

The year 1947 was highlighted by Chaplain Israel Yost’s visit to Hawaii to conduct the Club’s annual memorial services on the various islands. James Lovell took over the presidential reins from Mitsuyoshi Fukuda. The establishment of our blood bank and mutual loan fund laid the basis for a broadening mutual assistance program. Contributions by the membership to the Honolulu Community Chest Drive totalled [sic] $2,909.09.
Richard Mizuta was elected president of the corporation for the year 1948. The clubhouse at 1444 Nuuanu Avenue was sold to the Kuomintang Society for $70,000 and $5,000 from the net proceeds of the sale was contributed to the Hawaii Veterans War Memorial Association to be made available for scholarship to deserving students from the islands.
The annual convention which was held on the island of Maui saw a reorganization of the Club 100 structure. Among the provisions incorporated into the new by-laws were the abolishment of the Oahu Chapter and in its place the institution of chapter organizations along company lines; the reduction of operating dues from $24 to $8 a year; and, election of officers by mail ballot.

On September 1, 1948, the “DALTON VICTORY” entered Honolulu Harbor, bearing the remains of Hawaii’s war dead from overseas cemeteries. A huge turnout of 100th Battalion men, in uniform, participated in the homecoming ceremonies for the first KIAs to be returned to Hawaii.

Internment rites were subsequently held in the newly readied National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, and in county cemeteries on the various islands.

Appropriate plaques and floral wreaths were presented to the next of kin of the 100th Battalion decedents.
Also, in 1948, the Club 100 made its first donations to the ROTC departments of the University of Hawaii and local high so schools in the form of perpetual plaques to be awarded to the “best company” of the school units.
The 1949 term, with Sakae Takahashi at the helm, was financially beneficial to the club’s Capital Fund. The Misora Hibari and Kinoshita Circus Ventures added considerable funds to the Building Fund. Plans were laid to purchase land for a new clubhouse.

Sakae Takahashi was reelected president in 1950. Japanese Diet member Frank T. Matsumoto, Mr. Lawrence Kunihisa, Misora Hibari and Haruhisa Kawada were awarded Honorary Memberships.

Gift parcels were made and sent by club members to GI’s from Hawaii engaged in the Korean Conflict. A canvass of business firms in Honolulu for the American Red Cross annual campaign was undertaken as a civic project.
The officers for the 1951-52 term were: President: Warren Iwai; First Vice President: Ben G. Takayesu; Second Vice Presdent: Dr. Richard T. Kainuma; Secretary: Yutaka Suzuki; Treasurer: Wilfred S. Shobu; Harold Tamashiro; (HQ Co); Shinya Namiki (Co A); William M. Komoda (Co B); Saburo Ishitani (Co C); Kazuo Yoshioka (Co B); Masaichi Goto (Medics); Harry Nishimura (Rural); George Inouye (Hawaii Chapter); Hakaru Ogawa (Maui Chapter); Allan M. Ohata (Outgoing President, a role he assumed when incumbent Sakae Takahashi resigned).

The new clubhouse was dedicated in 1952, constructed at a cost of $58,350 by Contractor D. K. Nagata. So the effort which had begun in 1942, with company clerks collecting two dollars from each member at each pay-day, had come to fruition. An era, of sorts, had come to a close with the dedication of the newly built clubhouse.
At this dedication, the club members chose the theme: “FOR CONTINUING SERVICE” as their Club Motto. The quiet tenor of this theme contrasted sharply with the declaratory wartime motto: “REMEMBER PEARL  HARBOR”; the swing in emphasis from the declaratory to the temperate reflecting a desire on the part of the members not to bask forever in the glow of their wartime accomplishments but to contribute their share to improving the quality of life in their  community.

With the passing of this first decade, the members of the Club 100 settled down to doing the things that go on in any community. They raised their families; they participated in community affairs; they began to exert an influence in the political life of the state. Insofar as clubhouse activities were concerned, they took on a multitude of projects to keep themselves busy, or lend a helping hand to others.

Activities included the establishment of a blood bank; the creation of a mutual assistance loan fund to assist members in financial need; giving assistance in the form of labor and supply of materials to members needing help in re-establishing themselves when caught in the unfortunate circumstances of fires and floods and other disasters; participating in the periodic reunion celebrations; donating sums of money to the 1959 typhoon victims of central Japan; to the 25th Infantry Division “Wolfhounds” Orphanage in Japan; to the Kuakini Hospital Building Fund; and to other community projects over the years. The most recent action in this vein was the donation to 12 child welfare agencies of almost $10,000 — this money drived from sponsorship of the “Ayumi-no-hako” benefit show which starred performers from Japan.

Members formed their own golf, softball, fishing and bowling clubs. Other activities included the establishment of a “Green Thumb” club, a bonsai club, dancing, photography, and even a try at forming a choral group.

The major annual events are the installation of officers in February, the Parents’ Day Celebration in April, Easter parties also in April, the Anniversary Luau in June, the Memorial Services which are held on the Sunday closest to September 29, and Christmas parties. Up to a few years ago, the club also held annual conventions, alternating the convention sites between Honolulu and the neighbor islands. But this practice was discontinued when it was determined that the resolution of club problems no longer required statewide considerations.

In 1962, 160 members of the club made a tour of Japan. One of the highlights of the tour was a meeting with Crown Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko at Togu Palace in Tokyo. General Mark Clark was a visitor to the islands in July of that year.

These are but fragmentary notes of some of the things that have happened over the years within the Club 100. It is not the intent of this brief article to chronicle, by date or in detail, the events that occurred; first, because research is required, and, secondly, more basic is the fact that records are not readily available at the clubhouse to facilitate such research. In this respect, and this is being said in “hindsight”, one of the failings of the club is that it did not provide for the establishment of a system for collecting records and providing a repository for same. This should be a matter of concern to the Board of Directors of the club. They should immediately establish some kind of grant to undertake the writing of a detailed post-war history of the club. Such a publication would neatly compliment the book: “Ambassadors in Arms,” written by University of Hawaii professor, Thomas D. Murphy, and published in 1954.
“Ambassadors in Arms” is a chronicle of the 100th Infantry Battalion as a unit. What is needed is a post-war record of the achievements of individuals. One of the initial objectives of this article was to carry a record of members who had made their mark in the post-war period. But we discovered that attempting such a task in an article as brief as this would do injustice to those who could not be included within the narrow confines of this article. Therefore, such a task would have to wait another occasion.

But one name that should not be forgotten is that of “Old Man” Turner, or Colonel Farrant L. Turner, the first commanding officer of the 100th Infantry Battalion. He guided us through our long training period, led us into the first months of combat, then have to leave us. He returned home to Hawaii, rose to become the Lieutenant Governor of the Territory of Hawaii. The “Old Man” died on Thursday, March 19, 1959.

This is a quote from a tribute to the “Old Man” by one of the boys whom he had led into battle: “On the northeast slopes of Punchbowl, where the trade winds first come rolling over the top to sweep across the grandeur of the Pacific National Memorial Cemetery, they buried THE OLD MAN today (Saturday). It was the kind of morning that Farrant Turner loved so well — the shine of the morning sun softened by the trade winds as they pushed the clouds across the brief perimeter of the Hawaiian landscape. It was a morning so different from that day in late September of 1943 when Farrant Turner led the 100th Infantry Battalion into its first day of battle near the little Italian town of Chiusano. The guiding principle in Farrant Turner’s life was his love for the people of Hawaii. Wherever they came from, whatever they stood for, the people came first. But there is such a thing as loving too much and too well, and if the Old Man had a fault, it was this matter of giving of his love and not having enough left over for himself. The man who gave so much to all of us has now come to rest and it is so befitting that he should be buried here on Puowaina — the Hill of Sacrifice — buried beside those others who also sacrificed their lives for the very principle that Farrant Turner so outstandingly lived and practiced through all his years.”

Which makes us hark back to December 7, 1941. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt called it “a day of infamy” but for the AJAs of the 100th Infantry Battalion, it was also a day that was to lead to a kind of glory quite unmatched in the combat annals of our country. Measured in terms of awards given, the 100th is deemed to be the most decorated combat unit of its size in the history of the United States Army. Awards include three Presidential Unit Citations, one Congressional Medal of Honor, over $1,700 Purple Hearts and more than 2,600 other individual awards.

But there was a price to pay — the price of death on the battlefield; the price of the maimed and the injured; the price of heart-breaks at home; the price of lost years. The men of the 100th had suffered through all this. What price glory? Yes, what is the price of faith and glory?

If there is any one single act which helped to convince Congress and the people of the United States that the Territory of Hawaii was deserving of statehood (which came on August 21, 1959), that one act was the combat record of the AJAs in World War II.

This record also helped to raise the stature of the Japanese people in Hawaii, and the continental United States, from the depths of distrust and suspicion, and a second-class citizenship complex, to the full and unquestioned partnership in the blessings of the Constitution of the United States of America.

Perhaps, this is the greater story of the AJAs, for if the slings of suspicion and distrust could be cast against the Japanese in one war, the same could happen again to another ethnic group in a future war. What is required in times of such national stress is a kind of faith and belief that regardless of whether mankind is distinguishable by race, color, creed or religion, each man has a rightful place in the sun — and let him be counted. But the testing of that belief may lead to some hard sacrifices on the battlefields of war, and in the minds of men.

Whether they realized it or not at that time, it is fundamentally the recognition of this concept which led the members of the 100th Infantry Battalion to incorporate themselves as the Club 100. Certainly, everyone recognized the need for extending into peacetime the common bond of comradeship born out of the crucible of war. But more so, the men of the 100 realized that their contributions to the passing history of their time was more than having served faithfully in the war effort.

They had reason to believe that they were part of the making of a bit of history which could have some effect upon the course of events in some future time.

But how to perpetuate this belief? Who IS there within the internal structure of the membership of the Club 100 to carry on the traditions of our time? Although we have yet to hear the voices of our own sons and daughters that they would like to assume this task, this is understandable. Because, for sure, each generation had its own sets of idealisms; each is concerned with the development of its own values. Therefore, we bear no illusions when our offsprings react negatively to our query, “Do you recall, when . . . .?”

This delemma [sic] is one that club members have talked about and grappled with for the past twenty-five years. But the time has come when talk must be overtaken by decisions. Memories fade, clubhouse crumble, men die. The average age of the Club 100 members today is 55. Most of us will be gone within the next two decades. What the members of the club are looking for is something of permanence that will survive beyond all of this. There is a large marble plaque installed in the lobby of the Club 100 clubhouse. On it are inscribed the names of 338 of our comrades who were killed in battles in World War II. The majority of these 338 are buried at Punchbowl, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. On the southern perimeter of this national cemetery, at its highest point, is a lookout from which one can view all of Honolulu and far into the horizon.

Perhaps, the place for this thing of permanence we are seeking is right here; right on the rim of Punchbowl — some kind of a memorial that we, the living, can place here at the highest point — to let the boys know that they who lie beneath the soil of Punchbowl have not died in vain. We Leave this thought with you as you gather to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the formation of the 100th Infantry Battalion.