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Allen H. Meyer

Chicago, 1944

Following infantry training at Camp Roberts and Fort McClellan, and graduation from Japanese language classes at the University of Michigan and Fort Snelling in 1945, Meyer was posted to the Allied Translator and Interpreter Section (ATIS) billeted at the NYK building in Tokyo. His job initially was to supervise the translating of Japanese newspaper and periodical articles by a team of Japanese nationals. He then moved on to preparing daily summaries of the translations, and on occasion found himself assigned to other tasks not directly related to translating.

Meyer was thus involved as interpreter/interrogator working to repatriate Japanese from the continent, Europe and Southeast Asia at the ports of Uraga, Hano, Hakodate, and Maizuru. He was also sent from Tokyo to join election surveillance patrols in Rumoi Prefecture, Hokkaido, and was dispatched on periodic assignments by ATIS to cover such trouble spots as labor, the black market, and farmers. He even served on one occasion as interpreter for Gen. Charles Willoughby, General MacArthur's chief of intelligence, accompanying him to a diplomatic function. Meyer also helped at the 1946 Passover Seder in interpreting Hebrew to English to Japanese, and back. During his years in Japan, he was able to indulge himself in not infrequent R&R visits, whether needed or not, to such scenic or vacation sites as Miyanoshita, Gora Hot Springs, Karuizawa, and Amanohashidate. He returned to his home in Chicago in September 1947.

Born in 1925, Meyer received his BA from Harvard in 1948 (Class of '46), and his JD from Northwestern University in 1951. He has been in the general practice of law in Chicago. He married Suzanne Novak in 1952 and the couple have three adult children and four grandchildren. They have been on pleasure trips to Japan in 1973,1984, and 1994, and have attended MIS reunions at Gardena (1982), San Francisco (1991), Minneapolis (1992), Washington, DC (1993), Newport (1993), and, hopefully, Seattle (1995). He presented a paper recounting his experience with repatriation during the Occupation at the MacArthur Memorial Symposium, Norfolk, Virginia (1991).

Meyer has been active locally in the successful national Redress movement of Japanese Americans to right the wrong of their wartime evacuation and internment. A member of the Japanese American Veterans Association, he has also served as commander of American Legion Chicago Nisei Post #1183.