100th Infantry Battalion, B Company
Ray meets sisters Aki and Mary at a party in New York City.
He falls in love with Aki but mistakenly thinks Aki is named Mary. He sends letters to the wrong sister. Eventually, Ray realizes his mistake and resolves this case of mistaken identities.
Ray and Aki marry in July 1943; he leaves for the European front in August.
The newlyweds exchange a barrage of letters.
[Aki and I met in] a social place, they had all kinds of people that live in New York City. They had about this room that they all sat down, they had a party for us. Anyway, three of us, that was summertime, you know, we were dark, 'cause of the sun. We were the first ones to go to New York City and we stayed with Marshall Higa's sister. That's the reason they let us go. Only those guys with relatives. I don't have relatives but he could take somebody to go, so he asked Larry Amazaki and myself.
And then we went, the first time they seen Hawaii people go there. And one of the girls was so amazed. She said, "Are you Hawaiian?" I tell 'em, "No, I'm Japanese." She said, "Oh, you look so dark and you speak so funny." You know how we speak pidgin English. So I said, "Oh, I'm sorry."
So that's when - she and her sister was there. Mary is her sister and that's Aki. And the girl that I fell in love with was Aki. But I thought Aki was Mary and Mary was Aki. So I used to write letter all the time to the wrong person. (Laughs)
And when I completed my dog training, they gave us two weeks off. So three of us went to New York City and I went to visit her. And she was sitting - as soon as you enter the third floor, you walk, see. She was sitting by the door and her sister Mary was sick in bed. So she telling me, "Oh, Mary is sick" so I wanted to see Mary.
I said, "Oh, I'm sorry you're sick." But chee, when I talked to her, I said, "Hey, the face a little different." So when I came out, I saw her, "Oh, that's her." That's the one that's supposed to be my partner, you know. I said, "Chee."
And I had no idea. And still in my mind, I said, I wonder if I'm thinking right. Then I finally found out that Mary was Aki and Aki was Mary. (Chuckles) Crazy, yeah.
After that we went bowling. And then Mary stayed home by herself. And then I still didn't propose to her or anything like that. But when I went back to the camp, I started writing, writing. And her girlfriend was Matsuko Honma and so I always write to her what I should do. So I told Matsuko, "You think - is it all right if I marry her, ask her to marry me?" I guess she wen go ask her. And then she wrote back, she says, "I think it's a good time," she said, "I think it's all right."
So I wrote a letter if she want to get married. The reply was an affirmative.
So that's how it started. But those days, you have to get a doctor's certificate. In New York City, they have law that you don't have syphilis or something of the kind. So Dr. [Isaac] Kawasaki wrote a letter and then when I went down there, they had it all cleared already, so I could get married to her.
At that time, had a lot of B Company guys was on the furlough to see New York City. So we got no invitation, I just said, "Oh, Sam, come to my wedding, we're going to get married but come to Miyako Hotel." He said, "Oh, okay."
So I had about, oh, fifteen of them. No invitation, just come and then we just have a dinner there. All mostly Company B guys was there.
They all came. I still get the picture, all of us. Baker Chapter. Now, I look back at the picture, and say, oh boy, so many guys got killed in Italy. So I'm glad we had the picture taken of all the group that was there.
After that, I came back to camp and I asked for emergency furlough because I got married. So they gave me an emergency furlough for one week. I went, I came back.
First thing we know, we were stationed in Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. It's not too far from New York City, so I wanted to see her again. So I wrote a letter to her, where I'm going to be and all that. And then, I didn't tell anybody. Early in the morning, I sneak out from the camp and I walk across. I don't know where I'm going, big field like this. I walk, walk, walk. And then I saw one bus waiting over there. So I asked him, "Do you know - are you going to this" small little town, I forget the hotel name. She was there waiting for me because we corresponded what's going to happen.
So the bus said, "Yeah, we're going right there." So the bus took me, dropped me off, and then we stayed one night at the hotel, and she went back, and I went back.
And then I went overseas.
[Aki] and I got married 1943, July and then in August, we shipped overseas. So just like I was married only maybe about one month and then I went. So all we do is just write letter back and forth.
All these kind of letters, we go in combat, then we come rest. When we come rest, then the letters come to us. So sometimes you get four, five, stacked up. Especially hers, she used to write all the time. So I get lot of letters. They used to tease me, say, "Hey Raymond, your bundle, your bundle came." (Chuckles) That's her.
[We wrote the] same kind stuff, "Dear honey" and "love." All nothing interesting because we cannot write too much about the war because they censor it. So we only write about our feelings. It comes in a small letter. They call it V-mail, like this. Small letters like this. They take a picture of that I think because it's all black and white. And then they call it V-mail. I don't know how she wrote the letter but it all comes in the V-mail. Among myself, I think I have the most letters.
Ray Nosaka's interview reprinted courtesy of the Center for Oral History. Photographs courtesy of Ray Nosaka and U.S. Army Signal Corps.