Harry K. Fukuhara
|Harry K. Fukuhara|
January 1, 1920|
|Died||April 8, 2015
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Unit||33rd Infantry Division|
|Commands held||Military Governor of the Yaeyama Islands Group|
|Awards||Legion of Merit
Fukuhara was born in Seattle, Washington in 1920. His father died in 1933, and his mother took the family back to native Japan before the War. In 1938, following graduation from high-school in Japan, Harry returned to the United States.
After enlisting in the Army from the Gila River internment camp in 1942, Fukuhara served in the Army in the Pacific as a linguist with the 33rd Infantry Division. He served in the New Guinea and Philippine campaigns, earning a battlefield commission. Toward the end of the war he was part of the force preparing to invade Kyushu, Japan. Unknown to him, as he was preparing for the assault of Japan, he had a brother who was drafted in the Japanese Army who was preparing Kyushu's defense. Following the conclusion of the War he was sent to Japanese prisoner camps where he had to tell them of the bombing and the emperor's surrender. About a month following the surrender of Japan during the beginning of the occupation he secured authorization to look for his mother and three brothers in Hiroshima. He eventually found them, suffering from the effects of radiation from the bomb, and after trying to get his older brother into an American military hospital, he succumbed to radiation poisoning, but his mother and two younger brothers survived.
Following World War II, Fukuhara temporarily returned to the United States before he returned with the Army to serve in the US Army's occupation and reconstruction of Japan. His understanding of the language, culture, and tireless efforts were instrumental in developing post World War II United States - Japanese relations. He ended his distinguished career in uniform in 1971 as the military governor of the Yaeyama Islands Group in the Ryukyu Islands. Several of his military decorations include the Legion of Merit, and the Bronze Star.
Following his military career, Fukuhara served in Federal service, again retiring in 1991. Among many decorations and citations, he earned the Distinguished Federal Civilian Service Medal by the President of the United States. He was inducted in into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame in 1988 and made a Distinguished Member. He resided in San Jose, California and attended the MI Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies when able.
- "MIS Research Center Veteran Profiles: Harry Fukuhara". 2003. Retrieved 2008-07-22.
- "MIS Veteran Harry Fukuhara Dies at 95; Served in Pacific War, Occupation of Japan", Rafu Shimpo, May 8, 2015
- Stom, Caroline Aoyagi (2006-04-21). "Friends of Presidio 640 launch an ambitious campaign to preserve and develop an interpretive center at the original MIS language school". Archived from the original on 2008-11-27. Retrieved 2008-07-22.
- "Harry K. Fukuhara: 1920 - 2015". 2015.
- Lucke, Jeaneete (1991, January–February) "The Harry Fukuhara Story". INSCOM Journal
- Shioya, Tara (1995, September) "Officer's Family Divided by War and Circumstance". Army Counter Intelligence Corp. Veterans, Inc. Newsletter.
- Hess, Bill. ( 1993, July 11). "Fukuhara Brothers Reminisce About WWII". Sierra Vista Herald/Bisbee Review, pp. A1, A7.