A recent addition to our Japanese American Veterans Collection, the William T. Hiraoka Papers are an expansive assemblage of documents, publications, photographs and artifacts belonging to Mr. Hiraoka and donated to our archive by his daughter, Nancy, in the summer of 2012. Mr. Hiraoka was born in Waikiki in 1917, graduated from the University of Hawaii in 1939 with a degree in Business and Economics, and was drafted into the United States Army on November 14, 1941. As a member of the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC), he worked as an investigator on the internal security of Hawaii, and in 1942 was sent as a Special Agent-In-Charge to Australia. In 1944, Mr. Hiraoka attended Officer Candidate School (OCS) and was sent to Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea, and later to Leyte Island in the Philippines; he then rotated Japan in 1945 as part of the occupation force after the empire’s surrender. During the Allied Occupation of Japan, Mr. Hiraoka was the only Nisei-American to be present at the arrest of General Hideki Tojo, former Prime Minister of Japan who was directly responsible for the bombing of Pearl Harbor. When the Korean War broke out, Mr. Hiraoka worked as a civil administration officer with the U.S. Civil Administration on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa. He returned to Hawaii where he continued to serve in the Army Reserves until his retirement in 1962 as a Lieutenant Colonel. Upon his return from Okinawa, Mr. Hiraoka began his professional career in the insurance business, where he later became the president of Island Insurance in 1968, and ultimately president of National Mortgage Finance Company in 1978.
Mr. Hiraoka married Ruth Nakamoto in 1946, and the couple adopted two children, John and Nancy. William T. Hiraoka died on October 27, 2006 at the age of 89.
The Hiraoka Papers encompasses Mr. Hiraoka’s military and professional life. Highlights of the collection include his personal correspondence during WWII, photographs of his training and travels while in the military, military publications from the War, and artifacts that Mr. Hiraoka collected at his various duty locations.
To learn more about the William T. Hiraoka Papers, view its finding at http://libweb.hawaii.edu/libdept/archives/mss/aja/hiraoka.htm.