The North American Post
Takami Page 6
[Editor’s Note]: All names are rendered in the English First, Middle, Last name order.
Off to Japan Airlines After Much Deliberation
Mr. Kanō, who had been a reporter for Seattle’s Japanese-language newspaper The North American Times (Hokubei Jiji), returned to what was then The North American Post (Hokubei Hōchi) when peace had been restored after WWII. However, binbōdō (the way of poverty) hadn’t changed. I continue the interview of his wife, Mrs. Masu Kanō.
“We were poor even after the war.”
“I don’t exactly remember how much reporters were paid after WWII. We couldn’t live on my husband’s salary alone, so I took a teaching job at the Seattle Buddhist Church kindergarten for $30 a month. I think we were only making about $100 a month with my income, along with my husband’s from The North American Post. We had two children, a boy and a girl, and the cost of their education put us in a tough situation financially. In 1960, Japan Airlines expanded their business to the U.S. and offered him a position as a public relations representative, but my husband had a hard time deciding whether he should take it or not.”
“It was a local position, right?”
“Yes. It wasn’t much money, but he was very attached to his job as a reporter. He had a hard time deciding whether he should abandon the path of a reporter that he had chosen for a better salaried PR position with Japan Airlines. He kept coming to me for advice asking, ‘What should I do? What should I do?’ I guess he didn’t want to leave the newspaper job he preferred to being able to eat. He was at a complete loss, but you do what you have do. He took the job with Japan Airlines in the end.”
“He must have been torn. Even so, he stayed on as a consultant for The North American Post. In the fall of 1974, when North and South American Japanese mass media gathered together and held the Overseas Japanese Newspaper Organization General Assembly in Tokyo, he also participated as a representative of The North American Post. I saw him working at Japan Airlines, but I guess he couldn’t stay away from the newspaper.”
“He retired from Japan Airlines, and then worked for JTB Seattle assisting tourists while writing articles for The North American Post. I think it’s safe to say he lived for the newspaper.”
One time, he was driving me in his car, it was a mid-size American car, but he said to me, “Mr. Ito, this car is dangerous. For some reason the door opens with a bang. It’s dangerous.” According to him, he was glad to have bought a car, but it appeared to be defective. Sometimes the door opened with a bang. Time and again he had taken it to be fixed, but it was apparently beyond repair. I guess he could have had it replaced it if it were a new car, but it looked like he had bought a shoddy, secondhand car. Thinking that it was just like him to be riding around in a car with a door that opens with a bang made me start laughing. I’d never ridden in a car like that in all my life.
I often used terms such as “poor reporter” and “the way of poverty” to describe the daily lives of the reporters Mr. Hibiya and Mr. Kanō, but I believe the caliber of poverty was very different between Japan and America. What I mean by that is, for people who are working, even though they may be living in poverty there’s a firm base of support for the basic necessities in America. It’s a much brighter sort of poverty than in Japan. People aren’t pessimistic just because they’re poor. You could say it’s an indicator of the health of American society.
the happiness of health
sharpens the steps to glide
through morning winds