|Maka Kanehawa, 1931|
The passport belonged to Maka Kanehawa, and she lived in Okinawa Prefecture in Japan. She was married to Mr. Kogi Kanehawa, and her occupation was in agriculture. Presumably, she was a farmer. Her height was 155 centimeters, or about 5' 1." On July 13, 1931, Maka Kanehawa got permission from the Japanese government and the Argentine consulate in Kobe, Japan to travel to Argentina. She arrived in Argentina on September 4, 1931, and visited the Japanese consulate in Buenos Aires on September 7, 1931. That seems to be all the passport reveals.
My colleague, Mr. Patton, adds the following historical note and his educated guess about the passport:
Because of the U. S. Congress restricting immigration from Asia in the 1920's and the world wide depression in the early 1930's, there was emigration from Japan to South America (mostly to Brazil and Peru) in the early 1930's. Being that [Maka Kanehawa] was a farmer, going to Argentina might have been somehow related to this emigration wave from Japan. Since the U. S. has had a large military presence in Okinawa since the end of WWII, my guess is that a passport like this could have easily ended up in the hands of your uncle if he was stationed in Okinawa during or after the war. Perhaps Ms. Kanehawa died in the battle for Okinawa?
With the identity and place of residence of the passport owner revealed, I took another look at my uncle's scrapbook and military records. According to his discharge certificate, Nolan A. Lane was part of the 9th Naval Construction Battalion from October 22, 1943, until his honorable discharge on November 27, 1945. The 9th USN Construction Battalion arrived in Okinawa, Japan, on June 26, 1945, and remained there until the end of the war. According to Naval History and Heritage, while in Okinawa, the 9th constructed a four lane coral-surface highway, a compound for the 17th USN Construction Regiment, internal roads, shops for aircraft repairs, a 1600 foot quay wall, and a marine railway. They also operated a coral pit and rock crusher.
|Photo of sign in Okinawa, Japan, from the|
WWII scrapbook of Nolan A. Lane
"9th Naval Construction Battalion Historical Information," Naval History and Heritage, pages 1-5
Laura Lacey, "Battle of Okinawa," Military History Online, April 13, 2003.