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Posted on Mar 15, 2006 in Front Page Features, War College

General MacArthur’s Tokyo HQ

By Mo Ludan

Situated on the 6th floor of Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance building in Tokyo, the office of General MacArthur remains preserved to this day, hidden away to all but a select few who know of its existence – visits strictly by appointment only.

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The Dai-ich building

It is said that MacArthur chose to house his Tokyo office on the sixth floor as it was higher even than the Imperial Palace. Whether or not this is true, the wood-panelled HQ is remarkably plain, nice, but is not terribly ornate. There are no crystal chandeliers, fancy floor lamps, or medieval tapestries befitting a reigning monarch, a shogun, or a Fortune 500 CEO. The room is no bigger, maybe even smaller, than a typical corner office of many of today’s self-absorbed senior executives. Except that the General’s office is not even in the corner but in mid-6th floor, overlooking the Imperial Garden – the same garden where Tokyo Rose promised he’d be publicly hanged after the war.

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Reception room adjoining MacArthur’s office

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The General’s worn-out leather chair and drawer-less desk

MacArthur’s office is between the reception area and his staff’s office. Dai-ichi management has carefully tried to preserve the original setting of the General’s office, including his desk, chair, picture frames, two original paintings by a little-known Boston painter, similar drapes, etc.

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The Reception area

The Dai-ichi corporate guide claims the Emperor had indeed visited the General’s HQ (the famous photograph of their first meeting took place at the U.S. embassy). Conveniently situated across the Emperor’s Palace grounds, the original 6-story, squat, non-descript Dai-ichi building survived the Tokyo fire bombing of WW2. A high-rise was added a couple of decades later.

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The General’s bust, donated years after he leftmac-009.jpg mac-006.jpg
Staff room adjoining MacArthur’s office and a montage of the General’s career

Due to new security arrangements stemming from disturbances in nearby Korea surrounding the General’s statue at Inchon, all visits are now by appointment. My visit was arranged through Mrs Kyoko Hamada, an executive of Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance and Mr. Yasuhiro Nojiri, a classmate and retired Marketing Director of Boston-based Milipore (Japan) Ltd.

109 Comments

  1. This brings back memories from the years 1947-48. I was in the U.S. Army, stationed in Tokyo, and my job as a clerk was in an office in the Dai Ichi building. Although I never was physically in General MacArthur’s office I did see him on several occasions as he entered or left the building. On one occasion I was returning to my my barracks on foot and was in the middle of the street when the General’s limo came by. I stood at attention and saluted as he went by. I’m not sure he even noticed me though. For a young 18 year old the year I spent in Tokyo was a memorable experience.

    • Did you happen to know a person in the Gen’s headquarters by the name of Jack Vainisi?

      • Did you know a Jim Keenan from Nebraska?

      • Jack Vainisi became the ground-breaking scouting coordinator for the Green Bay Packers and died very young in 1960.

      • Jack Vainisi became the ground-breaking scouting coordinator for the Green Bay Packers and died very young, in 1960, of complications of the rheumatic fever he suffered while in Japan.

  2. As Senior Purser with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines I visited MacArthurs office in the Dai-Ichi during my Tokyo lay-over somewhere in the 1980′s. At that time I was reading MacArthurs biography and I just asked one of KLM’s Tokyo bureau staff to fetch me an appointment, which I got some ten minutes later. Three Japanese gentlemen of the Dai-Ichi (who hardly spoke any English) took me to the sixth floor, opened some doors, and there it was. Very strange experience because it was, and still is, quite unknown!

    The desk on the photograph looks quite empty. I remember some of those famous “corn pipes” of MacArthur on the desk and a visitors book, with only 5 pages of names of visitors. Regards, Lodewijk.

  3. I am visiting Tokyo and hope to see the office. My dad was part of the detail that searched The Grand Hotel and made sure it was secure before McCarthur arrived. It would be exciting to be able to visit it 60+ years since Dad was there.

    • hope you got to see it – was a great visit when I had the chance!

      • I worked in the building, 3rd Floor as a Dept of Army Civilian File Clerk, G-2, G-3. My father was stationed there as Chief, Tokyo Army Hospital.
        I am visiting Tokyo this May.Do you know who to contact to arrange a visit on my upcoming Trip

      • @Ed Mills – I looked at some websites but could not find anything specific to scheduling something – even couldn’t find anything on Japanese pages. Sorry. You can always go and if time permits, walk inside and try to ask for an impromptu showing during the day…? Maybe a hotel concierge in that neighborhood (if you are staying there) can help out given I know they are exceptionally helpful. Good luck.

  4. I was soldier working at the close by Meiji bldg. I regularly walked past the Daichi bldg and saw the General coming and going in his limo in front of the bldg. This drew crowds of 100 to 200 people both Japanese citizens and soldiers from USA, Britain, Australia, India. This was the period between Nov 45 nd May47.
    It was a strange experience. People were starving and dying every day.

    • Might you have known a soldier stationed in Tokyo by the name of Jack Vainisi?

      • Sorry I don’t recognize the name Vainisi. Jack Thompson

  5. In April 1951 I was a lst Lt, Infantry assigned to be the Military Aide to Senator Warren G. Magnuson, State of Washington. I met him at the airport along with Bill Stern, Fargo,ND. He was visiting Japan in connection with maritime and other matters pertaining to the economie treaty that was to be signed being formulaated by the State Departament and United Nations.

    .

    I acccompanied the party to the General’s Office where he conferred with the General. He suggested to the Senator that he would loan him his private plane to visit the Korean battle field. The Senator agreed and a time was establised.

    Later that week I drove the Senator and Mr. Stern to the quarters of General MacArthur for lunch with the General and Mrs. MacArthur. I returned to the Dai Ichi Building, the site of the Headquaraters, to finalize the details for the trip to Korea. In the midst of it all an aide brought in the news that President had relieved the General. When I picked up the Senator he indicated that the lunch was interrupted momentarily as an aide spoke briefly to MacArthur.

    We flew in the Bataan to Korea and visited the 2nd Infantry Division Headquarters and other units.

    It was a moment of history that remains a significant personal memory.

  6. I was a Staff Sgt on the staff in the Office of the Chief Of Counter Intelligence (OCCIO).located near the door on the first floor of the Dai Ichi Building for about a year (1945-46).
    We got that location because it contained the large main Safe of the Insurance Company. My job was controll of all documents.
    MacArthur passed our office daily, usually about 10AM and worked into the evening.
    When we sent anything to MacArthur’s Office that he saw, he wrote a small “Mac” in the upper right hand corner.
    News photos of the day will show me leaning against one of the columns outside when he came down to meet Eisenhower (then his new boss).
    Jim Bedell

    • Mr. Bedell,
      Do you recall who was chief (or head ) of Counterintelligence (CIC) during the time you were on duty at SCAP HQ?
      Would you recall having any contact with Capt. Victor I. Cook, Jr. (201 CIC)?
      Thank you.
      Roger Malbuisson

    • Might you have been in contact with a soldier in the hdqtrs. by the name of Jack Vainisi?

  7. An enjoyable virtual tour de force. The reception room shown here was the historic setting for MacArthur’s crucial meeting with the top brass from Washington to get approval for Inchon Landing, his brilliant plan for counter-attack to save the Republic of Korea from Communist North Korea.

    I read in history books that the General worked 7 hours a day and would routinely send his wife Jean and young son Arthur to represent him in social events. This was confirmed in my recent visit to one of Japan’s famous resort centers, where I saw a picture of Jean and Arthur, along with foreign dignitaries and members of the Japanese royalty. I believe the occasion was the re-opening of the center to the public.

    I also enjoyed Ludan’s two recent commentaries, both are on http://www.armchairgeneral.com, i.e.: Yokohama’s New Grand Hotel, where MacArthur first stayed in Japan, and Corregidor Virtual Tour.
    .

  8. Correction: 2nd paragraph of my comment

    Please change “7 hours a day” to “7 days a week.” Thank you.

    Teza Reyes

  9. An U.S. Army medic 1947-1949 (uncertain) claims to have discussed atomic research with an intelligence officer (perhaps G-2, SSU, CIS, OSS, etc.) in his office on the second floor of the Dai-ichi building. If you have any information about intelligence offices in the building at that time, please contact me at photografr7@yahoo.com

  10. I visited the Dai-Ichi headquarters bldg. of Gen. Douglas MacArthur in
    March 1951. Donlad Holmes IC Electrician was a high school
    classmate of mine. I was able to see the US Navy War Room with
    all the ships listed and where they were located. Donald told me to
    be in front of the Dai-Ichi Bldg. at 1700 and I would be able to see
    Gen. MacArthur leave the building. At 1700 out strode the Gen.
    carrying his corn cob pipe and he left in his staff car.
    For a 20 year old sailor from San Bernardino, CA this was really
    something to see.
    I served on the USS McKean DD 784 and we had participated
    in the Inchon invasion September 1950.
    USS McKean DD 784 1950-1953
    Richard Shaw
    Firecontrol Technician 3/C
    USN 1949-53
    Later Captain USAFR

  11. To Richard Shaw, I salute you for participating in probably one of the greatest military counter-attacks in history – the epochal Inchon Landing.

    Thanks to Ludan’s photo article, I am touched to see the room where the General successfully argued approval of his invasion plan to a skeptical JCS top brass, sent there by Truman to dissuade the General from carrying on his plan.

    Before Inchon, Korea was lost and peace in East Asia gravely at risk. After Inchon, Korea was saved and the entire North Korean forces were on the run. But Red China, which was “lost” earlier by the Truman administration, was allowed to send masses of armed “volunteers” across the Yalu River boundary virtually unimpeded.

    Had MacArthur and his succeeding field commanders been allowed to destroy the enemy’s supply lines and fight the war without one hand tied behind their backs, the final outcome would have been entirely different and Kim Il Sung and his prickly descendants would have been history.

    Contrary to conventional wisdom, the specter of a nuclear WW3, the linchpin of Truman’s containment policy, was actually an illusion. Evidence from Russia’s recently released government archives would show, vindicating MacArthur, that Stalin had no atomic arsenal (at the most 5 by the end of 1950) nor industrial capacity at the time. More important, the Soviets had no delivery system to reach continental U.S. cities to justify going into an all-out war with the U.S.

    In contrast, U.S. had close to 50 in its arsenal and the capacity to target USSR’s major cities, the empire’s WW2-crippled infrastructure, and all of Stalin’s favorite dachas — from the Baltic to the Pacific.

    In fact, such contingency plan, in fact there were two, was drawn up by the Pentagon in the 40′s but was later junked by Truman, who, strangely enough, had never used it even as a diplomatic chip.

  12. Durinng 46/47 I was an Honor Guard to Gen. MacArthur and had the duty to check the Generals office periodically during the night .his office was tied togethr by adjoining doors to an anti room for awaiting guests;amap room;file room and lastly the suite of offices for M.G.Paul J. Mueller his Chief Of Staff.The office was on the fifth floor of Dai Ichi building. The sixth floor was occupied by the Chief Signal Center for the FEC later changed to AFPAC.A special pass was necessary to enter the Signal Center — including General Officers. The guard post at MacArthurs office door was M-1 rifle with fixed bayonete.It was truly a pleasure and an honor to have served Gen. MacArthur.

    • His normal wokking day was: arrive at the office at 10:00- 10:30; back to the American Embassy his living quarters; about 2:30 for lunch;to the office again 4:30;end of days work at 8:30–seven days a week.He was not aparticular social man.His main form of relaxation was watching movies., which he did seven days a week– then dinner around 10:00.One of the “perks’”of being an Honor Guard was the fact that the first 35 men to sign the roster could see the moviis as well.He sat in an over-stuffed chair in thecenter of three;his wife Jean to his right; Maj. Story’his pilot to his left. the first thing he did was to light a cigar..We enjoyed going to the movies at the “Big House’ as we were able to get first run films.,ahead of every one else.

      • During your time in Japan, did you ever encounter a soldier by the name of Jack Vainisi? He played for the HQ football team and was said to have spent time throwing the football around with the Gen’s son.

  13. My grandfather was Col Frank Castagneto and worked in the building while MacArthur was there. Although the stories I have are second hand (he passed away 30yrs ago) from my grandmother, I believe he spent a lot of time there while my grandmother was there raising the children. I visited Tokyo 2yrs ago for work but was able Togo see formally Washington Heights to see where my family was during that time. After returning, I learned that they were actually at Grant heights (bless my grandma’s hearts) while my papa worked at Dai-ichi. Luckily, I’m going back in a month for work and want to go see Grant Heights and the bldg my papa worked at. Any info on getting appointments would be so appreciated. I’m hoping to show my granny now & then photos. Thx!!!

    • I do not remember your fathers name but i was stationed at and lived at grants heights housing detachment in 1952

      • Both my parents were there from 1947-1951. Clifford Callahan was military personnel in Communications and my mother, Diane, worked as a civil servant in General McArther’s headquarters. They lived in quonset huts nearby – not sure where. Is there any chance you recall either one of them or could suggest how I would find out about personnel working there during that time period? Thank you!

    • You will not find any buildings from that time left in what was once Grant Heights–where I was a high school student back in the sixties. Today it has been converted into a large park and housing area called Hikarigaoka, easily accessible from Shinjuku on the Oedo Line.

  14. In 1947 I was a 7 year old kid who along with my mother joined my father who was assigned to the 8th Army Stockade. We stayed in Tokyo until 1951 because of the Korean War. We lived in Grant Heights and quite often I and some friends would be in Tokyo and was able to see General McArthur leave the Dai-Ichi building. What was interesting to me was the Japanese people bowed to him when he exited. A great experience being there and still fondlyl remember Tokyo even to this day.

  15. I was stationed in Tokyo from Dec 1951 – Mar 1954. As a young man I loved this old city. I was able to re-visit Tokyo in 1960 while on R&R from Korea. Spent a total of 36 years in the Amry (12 active and 24 years full-time NG). The Dai-Ichi building alway “stood-out”…The Ernie Pyle Theater was a fun place to visit, great live shows.
    http://www.essaysbyfox.org

    • Oh yes, the Ernie Pyle theater was a favorite. It had a cafeteria there also. I hear that they turned it over to the Japanese and it burned down. Pity.

      I admire the Japanse people and loved the 4 years I spent there.

      • My father was a Lt Col in the Intelligence and stationed in Japan from 1950 – 52. A very close friend of my parents was a staff secretary to Gen. Macarthur – not sure for how many years. Do you recall a lady in her early 40′s named Catherine Schiessel who worked in that office for Macarthur? She gave my parents some of the items given to her from Macarthur (legend has it) and we’d like some way to verify her contribution while there. If you do not know of her, would you know of a department in the Army we could contact to verify her employment?

    • I also was stationed in Tokyo between 1951to 1954 I remember erniy pyle theater and palace. Everyone says the I was in the finance building. The Japanese called the building ogrocho. Building. If that is the right spelling. The building had a guards outside. And the honor guard were stationed in the building. Tokyo was the best duty since I have served close to30 years in the army.

      • I too was stationed in the “Finance Building” in 1952. I was asg to Hq Co, Hq and Svc Bn, GHQ FEQ, 8232AU, APO 500.

        The Japanese term for the building you call Finance is O Kurasho. O is an honorific term only and Kurasho means Finance.

        If you have a computer, download Google World and search for O Kurasho Tokyo Japan. You can see it at ground level as it now stands.

        Cpl Charles Stewart, Jr.

  16. I was stationed in Tokyo (GHQ) from Dec 1951-Mar 1954. Met my wife there, she was in the Womens Army Corps (WAC). Married Apr 53. Got a chance to see Tokyo agian in 1960 (R&R from Korea).
    Loved this old city and the Japanese people. Spent 36 years in the Army. I am now a young 78.

  17. i was stationed in tokyo japan in 1951 to 1954. i liked it so much i stayed longer. i was int he the finance buliding. the army had the entire building. i slept thers and also worked there as a cook. after a little while iwas purt in one of the billeting japanese occupied by the army. my job there was to be charge of the kitchen. while i was there i was at two other hotels. iremember guard co. and the honor guard. never had any trouble with the japanese during my tour. i loved japan. i learnewd the language while i was stationed tyhere. sorry about the typing i am 83 and i have a hard rtime remembering. i had one problem with the army during my tour. i missed a dental appointment and lost two striped. a colonel gave my article 15. i was off wrok and signed out till the next day for work at 1000 am. my appointment was at 8 am. i did not think that this was fair. anyway i stayed afor 30 years and retired as a master sgt.

    m

  18. I was in the infantry and stationed in various parts of Japan from September 1945 to August 1946. A fellow GI and I went into
    the Dai-itchi building and saw MacArthur’s offices. I didn’t see any security of any sort including guards. We freely roamed
    the building ending up on the roof. As we looked down from the roof MacArthur and a couple of other people exited the building
    directly below us. A group of Japanese were standing a short way from his path to his staff car. They bowed deeply as he passed.
    He entered his car and all the traffic lights down the road turned green as he proceeded on his way. It was impressive. The people loved MacArthur. They expected rape and pillage and instead got a liberal Constitution and women’s liberation.

    • Hello, Harris! My brother was an 18-year old Corporal in the occupation force in 1945-46, and was in charge of the commissioned officer’s swimming pool at MacArthur Headquarters. Do you know where that swimming pool was located? As a child I’d address letters to him, and it seemed to me the address was the Dai-ichi building. He also used to contribute articles to Stars and Stripes and to our hometown newspaper describing the building. And our local radio station would broadcast some of the recordings he’d send describing his observations of Tokyo. I distinctly remember one broadcast in which he told of what seemed to him to be “miles and miles” of corridors in the Dai-ichi building. Would appreciate learning if you came across a swimming pool in your trek thru the building. On the roof, perhaps?? Thanks!

      • Barbara, do you recall your brother writing or talking about the performances of THE MIKADO at the Ernie Pyle Theatre? They were spectacular, even covered in LIFE magazine and supposedly in STARS AND STRIPES. But I can’t get full access to the latter’s archives to verify. My Japanese mother, who is now 84, performed alongside the American singers in this opera. It was the first time it was performed in Japan, having been previously banned for poking fun at the Emporer. She cherishes that experience and has fond memories of the American artists she worked with. It would be wonderful to find another reference to that spectacle. We have managed to get the LIFE magazine issue featuring many photos of the show. We would welcome any information you might have. Thanks so much!

  19. I was in Tokyo in the summer of 1947 on the All Japan Army Track Team, Stationed full time in Kobe. Some days after training for track, we would go in to the Dai Ichi bldg to watch Gen. MacArthur leave for lunch. ( he would announce the time he would leave in the Stars and Stripes to assure a crowd— ego?)
    I still have the negative!

    • Hi Romulo, would you like me to send you a digital copy of a really good picture of MacArthur coming out of this office building?. If so, e-mail me and we’ll get it off to you. Thanks, Shell

      • Just reading thru these wonderful memories and the photo you have would be nice to have. My post was just outside of Mac’ office on the 6th floor.

        713 Baywood Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660 Thank you! Syd

      • I was assigned to the communication center at the Dai Ichi Building in 1950 for 3 months . I was then transferred to the 507th Sig Svc Co. and we went in to
        Inchon on Sept. 16. Like everyone says I saw the General go home for lunch every day and later return to his headquarters. I believe if Truman had left MacArtur in charge there would be only one Korea today.

  20. I was stationed in Tokyo from July, 1947 to Feb, 1948. I was assigned to Co. “A”, Staff Battalon Hq. as Pay Roll Clerk. I was housed in the Finance Bldg. and the first night there was one to remember for me. Because of crowded conditions, I had to sleep on a cot in a hall way. That was OK until I woke up in the middle of the night to find my cot vibrating and moving right across the hall. I was told the next morning that we had a “mild” earth quake. During my time there, I got to know all of the Co. Clerks in the Pay Roll Hq. The Pay Roll Clerk for the Honor Guard could write a book. I have a lot of fond memories, one of which was seeing Mrs. MacArther at the Chapel every Sunday morning. Never did see the General. The Enlisted Man’s Club was another great memory. We were told it had the longest lacquer top bar in Tokyo and the Officers wanted it for there own. However, Mrs. MacArther was on our side and it remained an EM Club. Sgt. Jimmy Kniss was our Co. Clerk and was a good buddy. Lost track of him as well as a lot of others. There were some I stayed in contact with like: Paul Tegeler, Walt Thorgate, and Dennis Van Dyke.
    Like to hear from more.

    • Hi Donald – thank you for sharing the memories and an even bigger THANKS! for your service!!!

    • Memories I was stationed in the finance building in 1951. You are right that they were crowded. When we came to Japan. They put in a hotel. Until they had enough room. In the finane building.. They called the unit I was in little west point because the first sergeant was airborne they called him jumpy and the company commander was graded from west point.. They had some tough inspections. One of the inspection. Was called a white glove inspection early Sunday morning. But are greatest adventure was my trip shimbashi. Remember

    • Dear Mr. Ullestad: Might you have known a soldier by the name of Jack Vainisi who worked in the Gen’s headquarters?

    • Any chance you remember a Jim Keenan from Nebraska?

    • During your time in Japan, did you ever encounter a soldier by the name of Jack Vainisi? He played for the HQ football team.

  21. FYI for anyone who’s in Tokyo in July. This was in the Yomiuri newspaper yesterday:

    MacArthur’s office to be opened to public
    The Yomiuri Shimbun

    Dai-Ichi Life Insurance Co. will open to the public the office of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander for Allied Powers during the Occupation of Japan, which has been preserved in its original building in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.

    The office, which contains a table and chairs, including the chair McArthur used, will be opened from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. July 17 through 22. Admission is limited to 200 people each day on a first-come, first-served basis.

    The Dai-Ichi Life head office was occupied by the GHQ of the Allied Powers in September 1945.

    The office is known as the place where the GHQ draft of the Japanese Constitution was written.

    (Jun. 29, 2012)

  22. It was quite enjoyable for me to read these comments
    . about Tokyo and MacArthur. In the fall of 1946 I was
    standing near the front entrance to the DaiIchi building, camera in hand, hoping to see Mac as he came to work.
    I did not realize he would use the door behind me. I felt that photographing him at that distance would be impertinent, and so I
    stepped aside, held the camera behind me, and saluted. He returned that salute,
    and then I realized I was the only GI in his view, so I had received a
    PERSONAL salute from the General

  23. In 1954 my father sent for my mother, my younger brother and myself to be shipped from California to Tokyo. We had a house in Washington Heights and I recall my father who was a Lt. Col in the USAF worked in the Meji building. At four years old, I can still recall many events during our two years in Tokyo. Gatas, komonos in the streets, sushi made by our two maids. Trips to Kamakura and the Budda. I also recall a zoo in down town Tokyo that was on the top of a building. Still have photos of that.

  24. Hello, I have a picture of my father presenting Mrs MacArthur an orchid flower. Not sure of the date. He worked directly for Gen MacArthur, just not sure how. My older sister has pictures of Gens staff car and pictures or my mother, sister and father in and or leaning on it. Also trying to figure out what unit was staffing the Generals headquarters. thanks.

  25. I was stationed in Tokyo Japan from 1951to 1954. The reason why the army sent me to Japan was because my last name begins with a w. After we finished basic training at for Dix new jersey the army sent us to an advance school. When we finish with all our truing the solders with the last names between s to z went to Japan and the rest of the troops went to Korea. When we arrived in Japan there wasn’t any housing so they put us in a hotel for a few days. They picked us up and brought us to the finance building in tokyo. There I stayed for a couple of years. Then they set me up in two other hotels until I left Japan in 1954. I believe it was my best duty after serving 30 years in the army. I was a young man at that time I fell in love many times. I remember the ginza, earnie Pyle theater and many more wonderful places. It was the best duty durning my 30 years in the army. I remerging home on the ship we were on the deck and heard someone in a boat following the ship. There was a girl crying and yelling why yo no tell me yo leave me.. I felt real bad that day I left Japan. I went back again many years after that bu she was gone.

  26. Hi all – was just in NYC and visited the NY Historical Society where by chance, after doing my research, passed a recess that was displaying the ACTUAL surrender document that the US had signed by the Japanese and other countries. It was incredibly impressive to see it, with Gen. MacArthur’s signature along with Nimitz’s and many others.

  27. I was in Tokyo from 1949 until 1953 and was assigned to the AG section in the Dia Ichi Building, Gen McArthur’s headquarters. When the Korean war started I was taken off my regular job in the Mail and Records section and made a messinger to offices within the building. I saw the back of Gen McArthur sometimes when I delivered papers to the War Room. He, along with other officers would be looking at a huge map of Korea. I visited Gen McArthur’s office in the Dia Ichi when I was on a trip to Japan in 1993.

  28. Please change my email address to “ploden@comcast.net”.

  29. Hi Paul, Both my parents were there from 1947-1951. My father, Clifford Callahan worked in Communications as a Staff Sargent, I believe, and my mother, Diane, was a civil servant working in Gen. McArther’s headquarters. I wondered if you recall either one of them? They were in their early thirties at the time and lived in nearby quonset huts. Also, if you know of any resources where I could find out more about the personnel working there during that time period. Thank you!

    • Sorry, Kathleen I didn’t know your parents. I think the only quonset hut housing in Tokyo was Palace Heights around the moat from the Imperial Palace. The PX had a drive-in there where we used to go to get hamburgers and chili. I don’t know of any place where you can contact personnel who was in Tokyo back then.

  30. Just found this site. Surprised at all the contacts and memories. I was in the 71st Signal Bn. from 10/46 thru 3/48. Worked in the Dai Ichi building and lived in the San Shin building a few blocks away.
    I was frequently in General MacArthurs office, and at least once got to sit at his desk. Was a 17 year old Private, or PFC, at most, and that was a real thrill.
    Was part of group situated on second roof of Dai Ichi and we did all the office intercommnication for GHQ. The General had no phone in his office, just a button for a buzzer wired to his Aide. Our once daily check of the buzzer got us into his office, under supervison. Two Phillipino Master Sargents one time gave me the opportunity to sit in the chair- and absolutely touch nothing else.
    Lot of memories from that time, and flabbergasted when I see pictures of Toyky today.

    • Dear Mr. Thonpson: Might you have known a soldier by the name of Jack Vainisi?

    • Mr. Thonpson
      Just wondering if you recognized my Dad’s name. P.A. DuBose(Boots) He worked as a clerk in a medical outfit and lived and worked right down the street from you from 1946 through 1949.

  31. Hello Jack, Surprised to find this. I was there during this time. Lived and worked at the San Shen bld. Staff Sgt. David Webb. My office was on the 8th floor with the special service office. I worked with Sgt Borja
    and have kept in contact with him for many years but have lost him now.

    I would like to hear from you and see if we can remember very much of the place.

    Please email me at, dwebb3324@gmail.com

  32. My grandfather, COL Andy D. Yates, was on Gen MacArthur’s staff, in Japan. Would anyone remember him?

  33. In 1946, my mother was one of the Japanese dancers who performed in the first-ever production in Japan of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Mikado” at the Ernie Pyle theatre. The opera had previously been banned as it mocked the Japanese Emporer. She worked side-by-side with many Americans and had a wonderful time. She also saw MacArthur coming and going from the Dai-Ichi Bldg with his corn pipe in mouth. She fell in love with an Army Sergeant (who was the PX Manager at Camp Omiya after being transferred from Camp Drake) whom she met in a Catholic church in Kichijoji, Tokyo. My father was with the First Cavalry. They moved to America in 1952. She has recently seen the movie “Emporer” 3 times for the memories it brings back–some bad, many good.

  34. Does anyone remember the name of that great beer that we drank at a bar on the ginza. I do remember the green eggs we use to eat in the mess hall. I have two pictures a two guards one Japanese and the other an aericanand myself standing in front of the finance building. The other picture was a few friends from the mess hall drinking beer on the ginza. There use to be 13 mess halls in Japanes hotels that housed soldiers. One of the hotels was in gotonda. That hotel was for half Japanese and American.

    • I was in Japan 1948 -1949. Worked in Distribution (mail) early 1948 at the Dia ichi Bldg (MacArthur’s headquarters) Delivered mail to all offices in building and then delivered mail to other locations in Tokyo by jeep. In late Spring .I was put on detached service to the Air Corps (Tachikawa Air Base) and worked and lived at Koganei Golf Course seventeen miles from Tokyo. Needless to say I had a wonderful time.

    • I remember a beer (Asahi) and drank a few in Camp Drake.

      • I believe that was the best beer I ever tasted. Even better than german beer
        What year were you in Japan. I was there in the finance building two different hotels from 1951 to 1954. I love Japan it was my best duty durning my 30 years in the army

  35. Dis anyone of you work directly for the International Military Tribunal of the Far East, whose staff was on the 6th floor of Dai-Ichi building?

  36. I I Was in Philippines when war ended. Transferred to Tokyo on GHQ staff in 1945. Was assigned to Japanese repatriation, working on the 2nd floor of the Dia Ichi building. General MacArthur was in our office almost daily checking on how we were doing in getting the repatriation done. Our chief had taken a picture of The general one day, blew it up, printed at top of picture, “I Shall Return” and at bottom of picture printed “After Chow”, and then drew a pair of corn cob pipes below. It was sitting on his desk one day when the General walked in, and we all cringed, but he got a big kick out of it. Although many think otherwise, our entire office found him to be a thoughtful and caring person. My son is visiting Tokyo in September and plans on seeing where I was stationed.

  37. I came in to find out what floor of Daichi bulding Gen. Mac office is located. I found it is 6th floor and also many interesting stories about Gen. Mac and related stories. Thanks for the participants.(from Seoul Korea)

  38. I wrote two to three paragraphs concerning my Three years in Tokyo Japan in 51 to 54. I would like to tell you about the outfit I was in the finance building. Footlocker and wall locker inspections. That was a joke. They gave me a 30 day restriction for not having a extra pair of shoelaces. They use to call the outfit little west point. The captain was a graduate from west point and the first sargaent was airborne. Every item in your wall locker was s many inches apart with your. Name on the door. Your footlocker evevery item had to be folded a certain. Everyone had to have all the same color with a shaving stick . No one. Old use those toilet articles. You could not have any dirty clothes tied back on your bed. They were all white glove inspection. Saturday usuall were our inspecting days. If you had any gigs then they would come back Sunday morning around three o clock in the morning. The men in Korea during the fighting had a special name for the troops stationed injapan . It was gishe house queers. I enjoyed my duty in Japan even though it was hell trying to please everybody. At least we were creded with the Korean war because we were in the waters. By the way I did serve almost 30 years and was I vietnam. I guess they were so tough in that unit because they were trying to impress the general. Did it make a man out of me no.

  39. I was assigned to the AG’s Executive Office, GHQ, SCAP & FEC, APO #500 during 1947-48 in the Dai Ichi Building. Our office was located on the messinine floor. From the inside walkway we could look down on the first floor and observe General MacArthur’s arrivals and departures. He did arrive about 10 AM, left in mid afternoon, returned around 7 PM and often did not depart until 1 or 2 AM. Each office was required to have an Officer CQ and an EM on duty whenever Generl MacArthur was in the building.
    I was a Tech 4 and our office was responsible for publishing the GHQ Daily Bulletin along with other duties. Our daily duties included a trip to the Ernie Pyle theater to acquire the current movie shedules. We often visited the Ginza when fullfilling this duty.
    I, too was billeted at the Finance Building and often viewed the Honor Guard preparing and training in the inner court. I, also, when walking from the Dai Ichi Building to the Finance Building along the Imperial Palace moat had a solo salute to General MacArthur as he passed in his Cadillac limo. He did see me and did return the salute.
    A lastingmemory with all the others during my tour in Tokyo, Japan.

    • Dear Mr. Kuehni: Thank you for your service to our country. I am wondering if when you were in Gen. MacArthur’s h.q. you knew or had heard about another gentleman who worked there by the name of Jack Vainisi?

  40. Sorry Brian but I did not know Jack Vainisi. I’m 85 years old and don’t remember many names from that era anymore. Some names I do remember are C. Libera, Kretchmar, Judy, J. Constantine and Col. Levy. I believe Captain Juliani was the Co. Commander of Company A, Hdqts.& Service Group. Good luck with your quest. Norm

  41. IN A WAY, THE VIEW OF MARCARTHUR’S TOKYO OFFICE STILL SHINES 50 YEARS LATER: AS THE SON OF TWO ARMY OFFICERS… BOTH SADLY LONG GONE OF COURSE… LT.COL. WILLIAM J. SMITH 2ND, AND RN/NURSE 2ND LT MARGARET T. SMITH… GREAT TO HAVE THE PAST STILL WITH US.

    AS THE “SONS” OF THESE TWO SOLIDERS WE’RE UNABLE TO GO TOO MANY DAYS WITHOUT A “TOKYO” CONNECTION. NOW, AS A RETIRED TV NEWS REPORTER (BILL) AND LAPD POLICE OFFICER (BOB), TOKYO AND THE DAI ICHI BUILDING REMAIN PART OF OUR LIVES.

    IN THE IMMEDIATE YEARS AFTER JAPAN LOST THE WAR, DAD WAS ASSIGNED TO TOKYO AND PLANING FOR THE FUTURE. OF COURSE “THEN WAS THEN” AND “NOW IS NOW.” BUT WHEN WE’VE BOTH MADE “TOURIST RUNS” TO TOKYO OVER THE YEARS, IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE FOR EITHER OF US TO IGNORE THE LEGACY OF “OUR PARENTS” AND THE UNIFORMS THEY WORE.

    FORGET THESE UPPER CASE LETTERS… MY FAULT (BILL) AND WE DECIDED WE WERE STUCK WITH THE FONT FOR THE REST OF THE TIME. WE BOTH ARE SURE MOM AND DAD WOULD NOT BE BOTHERED.

    WE’VE BOTH (SEPARATELY) TOURED THE DAI ICHI BOULDING WHERE DAD SPENT TWO YEARS AS AN EXCURSION INTO THE PAST. WE KNOW EXACTLY WHICH DOOR AND WHICH WINDOW. SO TO ALL THOSE FAMILIES FROM THE WAR YEARS, BLESS YOU. WE STILL HAVE DAD’S UNIFORMS, HATS, INSIGIA ON SHELVES IN OUR HOME OFFICES AND LIVING AREAS… ALL REMEMBERING MOM AND DAD, OUR CONNECTION WITH WWII UNSHAKEN AFTER ALL THESE YEAR. THANK YOU. Bill & Bob Smith, Los Angeles, California.

  42. RE THE QUESTION ABOUT SWIMMING POOLS IN TOKYO..I billeted in the Finance Building from October 46 to October 47… I saw MacArthur frequently being driven past our building, and also several times near the Dai-Ichi Bldg. Somehow I had found a beautiful SWIMMING POOL, located
    near the main entrance of Yoyogi Park. I was told by a Japanese watchman
    that it was an OLYMPIC pool, but he did not know for which Olympics.
    I do not think it was an OFFICERS pool, for it was always EMPTY.
    I swam totally ALONE many times.
    Does anyone remember this pool ?

    • My mother remembers the Yoyogi Pool. She thinks a Japanese swimmer won a gold medal there some time after the war and that his name was Furuhashi. She never swam in that pool.

      • Sharon Bickler… thanks for excellent reply… I would love to correspond with your Mother ..my email is:
        billzet2@mac.com..
        I live near Boston.
        Perhaps we could exchange photographs of Tokyo 1946-47.
        I do NOT have any of the Yoyogi pool. Lots of the Finance building.

  43. For those asking about the performance of the Mikado at the Ernie Pyle theater, here is a reference: Samuel L. Leiter, “Performing the Emperor’s New Clothes: The Mikado, The Tale of Genji, and Lesé Majesté” in Samuel L. Leiter, ed. Rising from the Flames: The Rebirth of Theater in Occupied Japan (Rowman & Littlefield: London, 2009), 125-163; ibid. Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr., “Appendix C. A Note on Takarajuko,” 381-389.

    I would appreciate hearing from anyone who remembers this performance, which occurred while the Tokyo war crimes tribunal was underway. My understanding is that only US soldiers were allowed. Did they have any sense of how bizarre it was that the Mikado promises to make “the punishment fit the crime” when Emperor Hirohito himself was exempted from prosecution. I am writing a book on the Tokyo war crimes tribunal, so any memories of the Dai Ichi building or MacArthur and the city itself are most helpful. Jeanne Guillemin (MIT)

  44. My mother can give you full details of the performance. She can be seen in some if the photos published in LIFE magazine, September 9, 1946 issue. She has the program for the show as well. All Allied force members could attend, but the vast majority were American soldiers. All the non-Japanese performers were Americans.
    My mom also attended one of the war crimes trials as her good friend, Tamako Nakanishi, was an interpreter at the trial. She thinks the prosecutor or interrogator was a man in a suit named Keenan (she only heard his name and didn’t know how it was written, so I’m guessing this is what it was). Obviously it would be easier if you just spoke to my mom directly. She and my dad live with me. My dad also attended one if the performances–before he met my mom.

    • Sharon, you asked if my brother ever reported on the Mikado in his articles or broadcasts from Tokyo during his 1945-46 tour of duty. Sorry, that I don’t have the answer to that. But I can tell you that he did send some beautiful kimonos and accessories to my mother and to me, and when he returned home he told us of actresses he had seen on stage wearing such lovely costumes. He had been very involved in school with stage productions, and I can’t imagine that he would have missed seeing the Mikado. In fact, the first thing he did when he returned from Japan was to enroll in a dramatic school in Boston before eventually going on to law school.

      Your mother’s experience is fascinating, and I’m wondering if either of you has read Josephine D. Lee’s “The Japan of Pure Invention: Gilbert Sullivan’s the Mikado.” It’s an excellently documented work, and I was able to view on-line notes relating to Chapter 8, which provide citations to many newspaper articles and other sources relating to the production at the Ernie Pyle Theatre, including the 1946 LIFE article you mention. In fact, you’ve interested me so much that I’ve checked the WORLDCAT website for library locations and found that I can stroll a few blocks to the American University Library to view their copy, a project I’m very much looking forward to. Many thanks.

    • Sharon, the chief prosecutor was Joseph Berry Keenan. If your mother would like to watch a short video of him interrogating Koichi Kido, just enter the following Google search: “Joseph Keenan, Japanese War Crimes Trial” and you’ll find access to the video, as well as scads of other references to Keenan and the trials.

  45. Josephine D. Lee’s “The Japan of Pure Invention: Gilbert Sullivan’s the Mikado.” Sounds fascinating but I can’t find anything on this on the web. Do you know where I can find it? My mother was very excited to hear about it.

    Thank you so much for sharing your brother’s experiences. It does sound as if he’d seen one of the performances of the Mikado.

    She was also in other performances at the Ernie Pyle Theater with different American actors or just their dance troupe: “The Drunkard”, “Jungle Drums” and the Matsuri festival. The dance troupe also performed in base clubs, night clubs, the Russian Officers’ Club, and hotels, including the Imoerial Hotel. They performed as well at the 4th of July celebration at the Korakuen baseball field in 1946.

    • Sharon, if your local library extends interlibrary loan services to their readers, they should be able to borrow the Lee book for you. If you’d like to check yourself to see what libraries in your area hold copies, just go to Google, and in the query box enter “WORLDCAT, the Japan of Pure Invention.” Then follow the instructions, and you’ll learn where the book is available. That’s what I did to learn that American University holds a copy. Without knowing the name of your town or city I wasn’t able to check for you. Perhaps by now you’ve guessed that I’m a librarian :).

      The way I found the references to the author’s notes was a bit too complicated to explain here, but I started just by entering the author and title in the Google query box. If you do that and have patience with the search, you’ll also be able find the info.

      I noted that Amazon has the book for sale, but you’d most likely want to see the book before deciding to buy a copy. Good luck!

  46. Did anyone ever go to the beautiful Cornucopia dance hall in the Sannoh Hotel near either the Ochanomizu and Suidobashi stations? My mother said it was very elegant with large ice columns (possibly serving as air conditioners?) with tree branches and flowers arranged and embedded within like gorgeous bonsai arrangements.

  47. I am the grandson of Edward Welle. He may have been referred to as Ed or Eddie. He was stationed in Japan as a photographer. I have his cameras and the bottom of a light meter reads Ernie Pyle Theater. Was the theater managed by GI’s? I would very much appreciate it if anyone recalls his name. joey@spaethinc.com

  48. I have wrote many stories concerning my time in Tokyo Japan I forgot to mentioned abut warrant officer yont who was an a aid to general MacArthur. H
    After the general passed away he was tbe aid to the generals wife. I met warrant officer durning my tenure as a enlisted aid instructor. My yont taught bartending at the school in Petersburg Virginia I knew him for two years off I went again to Korea where I was nco Of the commanding generals mess another 4 star general

    • Is that warrant officer you knew still alive? Did you know a soldier and armed services football player by the name of Jack Vainisi?

  49. Does anyone remember the young Japanese woman who was a night cashier at the snack bar in the Finance Building? She worked along side an older woman who always wore a kimono. The younger woman was transferred to the Dia Ichi snack bar when it was opened after the Korean War started.

  50. Paul Loden you mention a Snack bar in the Finance building

    I have NO memory of such a bar… is my memory THat bad ?
    I was billeted in the Finance Building from Oct 1946 thru September 1947.

  51. As I remember the snack bar was on the first floor of the Finance Bldg to the right as you came in the front of the building. I was in the Finance Bldg from 1949 until 1952.

    • I was billeted at the Finance Building during 1947-48. The snack bar, which we referred to as the building PX was located in the lower level far right hand corner facing the front of the building. I often watched Dick McGinley play poker there in the eveing.

      • Did you ever encounter a soldier by the name of Jack Vainisi? He played football in Japan 1946-47.

  52. Paul loden what outfit were connected during your time in the finance building. I think I remember the company I was with. I believe it was company e. the first sargeant was airborne and the company commander graduated from west point. I remember tbe day they changed the color of our boots from brown to black. Do you remember the boys who spit shine your shoes. I worked in the mess hall my time there was from 1951 to 1954 did ever go to shimbashi? Harold

  53. Tech Sgt and Bn Sgt Major, Admin Asst in GHQ Personnel Section, Finance Bldg, 1946-1948 (age 17-19), anyone remember Capt. Olcott and CWO Schroyer or any of 25 WAC Clerk-Typists who worked there, or is there ever going to be a reunion of GHQ, FEC, APO 500 and How Did We Get Here So Fast, YO!

  54. Sgt John P.R. Rose, and Paul Loden
    Think back to 1946- 1947 and the Army PX on the Ginza….
    Google tells me that it was in the “WAKO MAIN BUILDING”
    ( Tell Google Maps to show it to you)
    I remember the PX NEAR to that building, maybe a block away.
    I have a photograph…. if you send me an email

    • I suggested correspondents ROSE and LODEN could send me an email
      my address is
      Sometimes Armchair General edits my messages…

      • Let’s try again to fool the Website Censor…..
        For ROSE and LODEN, try
        billzet2 followed by @mac.com
        Could someone at Armchair General please explain why
        you do not want us to send email addresses ?
        What better way to establish contacts about the General’s Tokyo ?

  55. To protect yourself from spam.

    • Donald David…I anticipated an explanation involving my privacy….
      Understandable but unsatisfactory…
      In this age of intrusive Government, I see no reason to ask for Protection from SPAM.
      I get much already, a little more would hardly be noticeable.

  56. I was assigned to Company A, Staff Bn, Hq & Svc Group in the Finance Building. I worked in the AG Mail and Records in the Dia Ichi Building. I left Japan in April 1952 and returned in October 1952. At that time GHQ had been changed to Hq Far East Command and was at Pershing Heights. The WACO Building on the Ginza was also known as the Hattori Bldg and was a snack bar at one time. The Tokyo PX was farther north on the Ginza and was in the Matsuzaka-ya Department Store Bldg.

  57. I would like to discuss the fiancé building with Paul Logan. I entered the army in 1951 basic training and school at fort Dix new jersey. After my Training I had leave and probably was in the finance building around July 1951. I donot remember the company I was with. It could have been the company you were with. I was in mess hall. The company I was associated with had white glove inspections we use to train in some park. I left the finance utilizing I don’t remember the time I went to a hotel in gotanda. Then to another hotel. I ended up at grant housing detachment. I left Japan after. Serving three years. I only have two pictures one of the pictures showed all the cooks with sgt Clarke the mess sergeant drinking beer at some bar in Tokyo. I am 86 years old and my mindy is not that clear. I stayed in the army for thirty years I am a disabled veteran so I receive enough to live. Tokyo was my best duty while I was in the army

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