Letter from Kenji Okuda to Eleanor Ring dated September 20, 1944

Letter from Kenji Okuda to Eleanor Ring dated September 20, 1944. Ring Family Papers, Acc. 4241, Box 1, folder 13. University of Washington Libraries: Manuscripts, Special Collections, University Archives.

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Sept. 20, 1944

Dear Eleanor,

Taking a few moments rest, I shall try to pen a letter to you — don’t be too surprised or shocked! At the present time I’m resting comfortably on a couch in Prairie du Soc, Wisconsin, some 40 miles north of Madison, the home of the U of W, ready to start off again this afternoon to speak at a little town some 15 miles away and then off tonight for Chicago, St. Louis, Tulsa, Oklahoma, around to the Nashville F.O.R. conference and then to camp, Denver, Heart Mountain, and finally back to college on Nov. 1 or thereabouts.

Traveling isn’t at all bad, but stopping here and there for a day or two makes it impossible to see if I am of any constructive value. I’ve enjoyed the work so far — particularly the first two months of it working with high school young people and leading classes in law relations and post-war problems.

How are you making out? Has your job now taken you firmly in hand? And what of the affairs of the heart? It is too easy to procrastinate — to lose contact with each other in this fast moving world of ours. And how are others of mutual acquaintance making out? Did Betty Brau land a job in the region that she wanted to?

After I get back to college Nov. 1, I suspect that I had better start looking around for something to the down to next spring with a sheepskin in hand, if the Dean permits. I’d like to do graduate work, but on the other hand I feel that I ought to get away from the idyllic contemplation of college life into the robustness of a city such as New York. Have you any suggestions to offer?

I had hoped to meet Floyd Schmoe in Chicago, but we missed each other by a day. Perhaps I’ll be able to visit with him somewhere before he ambles back westward to the Pacific Coast again. That’s one of the things I perennially look forward to — to meet up again with some friends accidentally or otherwise.

In the last month I’ve been through Cleveland, Toledo. Detroit, Kalamazoo, Chicago, Oshkosh and other smaller and less well-known communities working with Nisei leaders and local F.O.R. groups. One of the most stifling things is to find a small gathering of oldsters willing to talk with doomsday but strangely unwilling to get up from their chairs. How can we get a little less talk and a little more action? Your solution, please.

Bill Makino, as you may know, is now in the U.S. Army stationed at Camp Snelling in Minnesota studying the Japanese language. Tally Shimanoka is back in camp for the summer — is probably on her way back to Berea College by this time. When I was in Philly I just heard about Josh, but he seems to be working as a draftsman with his draft classification as yet pending. I also had a very short opportunity to visit with Tom Bodine — this during the notable Philadelphia Transit Strike of not so many moons ago.

I ran into Stella Yorozu in Chicago at a gathering near the University, but I didn’t have an opportunity to inquire about Fily — who, I recall, is probably up at Yale working.

With the end of the war approaching, there are ominous signs of the place ahead, or am I being overly pessimistic. Power politics, I fear, is going to loom larger, and should be very interesting if played in the Orient. Russia wanting a strong Japan as buffer against the U.S., we in turn wanting a strong Japan as buffer against Russia and China, probably resulting in the continued power of Japanese big business whose support is essential to any military endeavor.

I’ll have to be on my way in a few moments, so until again.


2929 Broadway
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