Kazuo Ernest Yamane, an Army linguist during World War II whose research helped uncover caches of enemy weapons during the U.S. occupation of Japan, died April 28 in Honolulu. He was 93.
After the war, Yamane returned to Hawaii to operate a family business, U. Yamane Ltd., which developed Kalihi Bowl, Kalihi Shopping Center, Knight’s Inn Restaurant, Windward Bowl, Leeward Bowl and Pearl City Shopping Center.
He was born in Honolulu. After World War II began, he volunteered as a Japanese-American linguist in the Military Intelligence Service for the 100th Infantry Battalion.
While with the Pacific Military Intelligence Research Section and assigned to Camp Ritchie (now Camp David) in Maryland in 1944, Yamane discovered a thick book that contained reports of the national inventory of the Japanese arsenal. Listed was every type of weapon the Japanese army used, their storage locations, places of manufacture as well as ammunition depots.
With that knowledge, U.S. occupation forces were able to find and disable the weaponry. Yamane’s discovery was cited when he received the Legion of Merit in 1997.
"If I wasn’t loyal to the U.S., I could have thrown the secret book away at that time, and no one would have known," he said in a 1993 interview with the Hawaii Herald.
Yamane was one of three men assigned to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s headquarters in Europe to confiscate documents at the Japanese Embassy in Berlin.
He is survived by children Deane, Joyce, Dwight and Steven; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. A private ceremony was held at Nuuanu Memorial Park.