Acknowledgment: Hisao Toyoda and Dr. K. Mizogami provided critical information for this project. Hisao Toyoda spent countless hours and many footstep pursuing the very faint trail of Mr. Kawabe. Dr. Mizogami generously provide information from a diary of Surgeon C. Ushida, Mr. Shimo Kawabe's guardian. I greatly appreciate their kindness and their help.
In 2012, while researching the Schuddemagen family for my University of Texas Physics Department History web site, I was fortunate to receive the cooperation of Shudde Bryson Fath and Gerry and Janelle Shudde, both direct relatives of Conrad Shuddemagen, an early physics department graduate. Shudde kindly made available family picture albums containing photos belonging to her mother, Lily Shuddemagen Bryson, the sister of Conrad. These albums were a treasure trove of turn of the last century University of Texas history. Lily had a real eye for photography as well as being one of the first of two women to receive an athletic letter at UT. Please note that some in the Shuddemagen family changed their name to Shudde following WWI.
In looking through the albums, my attention was immediately drawn to a series of photos taken along the Sabinal River at the family ranch. Prominent in many of these was a very smartly dressed and distinguished Japanese man. He was participating in many of the activities on the ranch—hunting, fishing, hiking, tennis, etc. Shudde told me he was a friend of Lily's who would visit with the family. His name was T. Shimo Kawabe. The family lore was he had a brother at Vanderbilt and he became a prominent Japanese general who was present on the USS Missouri at the formal surrender signing ceremony with General MacArthur. The importance of these photos, if the story were true, was quite obvious.
I immediately set to work learning as much as possible about Mr. Kawabe. My first task was to find him in Cactus, the yearbook of the University of Texas. He appeared in the 1907 edition as can be seen in the photo above. He is listed as a Junior Engineer, in fact he is listed as the treasurer of the organization for the Spring term, indicating that he had more that a passing command of English. Searching through earlier yearbooks, I was unable to find a Japanese name or picture, leading me to conclude that Mr. Kawabe was the first Japanese student at the University of Texas. However fortunately I encounter at the Dolph Brisco Center for American History Jim Nicara student from my class in the 1980s. He has become an accomplished historian, publishing many articles in The Alcalde, the alumni magazine for the University of Texas. Jim also writes an excellent blog called UTHistoryCorner.com . Jim told me there was an earlier student, Motozo Akazawa. who enrolled in 1902 and graduated in 1905. Following graduation, Mr. Azakawa, enrolled in Vanderbilt School of Theology. He became a bishop in the Methodist Church of Japan. I was never able to find a brothr of Kawabe at Vanderbilt and can only assume the family story related to Mr. Azakawa, who may have been a close friend. Kawabe listest his religious preference as Methodist Episcopal, the same as Mr. Akazawa. Mr. Akawawa's journey to Texas was twisted one which I will chronicle later. There remains some concern on my part that the photos of the Schuddemagens with Kawabe, could in reality be Mr. Akazaw, given his very formal dress along the river. Facial features and family stores, however, suggest he is Kawabe. A much earlier photo of Kawabe from the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History shows him wearing glasses. Suprisingly he has no glasses in any of the Shuddemagen ranch photos.
My next task was to seek his University of Texas student records. I thought, since he was surely deceased, this would be easy; not so. The University is, and quite rightly so, sensitive to the abuse of student records and imposes careful review of requests. The Open Records Act provides access to records of deceased students. Eventually with the cooperation of the Vice-President and Custodian of Records, Kevin P. Hegarty, and his assistant, Margo Iwanski, I obtained Mr. Kawabe's transcript.
The information in the transcript was quite limited. It revealed his full name, "Toshikiro Shimo Kawabe", and his birthdate, "June 25, 1879." The document includes two local addresses for him. In 1905, he was at 2001 Whitis Avenue and in 1906, he was at 2302 Guadalupe Street. The Whitis Avenue address must have been a dorm or a large boarding house as University publications show many students with that address during this period. The Guadalupe Street address is across from today's tower. The transcript contained grades for 1905–06 and 1906–07. His academic performance for the second year fell to a poor level, maybe resulting in his departure from UT. Under the entry for parents or guardian, he listed C. Ushida and gave as his address, what appeared to be "Gunibu, 12 Shidan, Kokura, Japan." He listed his prepartory school as "University of Japan". The Register's catalogue for the U. of Texas for 1907 list Toshihiro Shimo-Kawabe as admitted "On Individual Approval" He is listed as in his junior year in mathematics, chemistry and physics.
To the question, "What degree did you received, he makes an entry then crosses it out and wrote under it, an entry I can't decipher. He states that all his expenses are provided by a "some mining company in Japan." This may provide an answer to the question, why he had chosen Texas? It could be that the company was aware of University's Engineering School. Whether his guardian was involved with that decision is not known. Mr. Kawabe was 26 years old when he enrolled, older than most students, suggesting that he had worked at the mining company before arriving in Texas. Under the entry asking for church information, he listed "M. E. Church" which would be the Methodist Episcopal Church.
My next step was to see if I could find immigration records showing his entry into the United States. This, however, was unsuccessful. I found three candidates as can be seen in the table below, however all entries occurred after he had enrolled in UT and the birthdates didn't match. This was a disappointment.
There is a T. Kawabi arriving from Honolulu at San Francisco
|Arrival Date:||3 Jul 1906|
|Port of Arrival:||San Francisco, California|
|Port of Departure:||Honolulu, Hawaii|
There is an S. Kawabi arriving in Honolulu from Yokohama, Japan. His initial city of departure was Kobe, Japan. Birth date is 8 years later than UT records indicate.
|Birth Year:||abt 1886|
|Port of Departure:||Yokohama, Japan|
|Port of Arrival:||Honolulu, Hawaii|
|Arrival Date:||19 Dec 1906|
Another listing: He is listed as a laborer. Birthdate not too far off.
|Departure Place:||Yokohama, Japan|
|Arrival Date:||Mar 1907|
|Arrival Place:||Tacoma, Washington|
Finally, I pursued the family story that he had a brother at Vanderbilt. Again this was a dead end, Vanderbilt yearbooks had no Kawabe. There was a Jiroku Kawabe that earned a PhD at Yale in 1904, he had attended Doshisha University.
At this point I appeared to be at the end of my search, however I decided to make one more effort. My wife and I have a great and long-term friend in Japan. His name is Hisao Toyoda. We were his host family in the 1960s during his studies for a masters in civil engineering at the University of Texas. Hisao had helped me with my research on relatives who were imprisoned in Japan during WWII. I contacted him and he generously agreed to help with the project. I provided him the information described above and he went to work systematically and in earnest.
An important question was the guardian: Toyoda wrote, "The information 'Address of guardian of C. Uchida' turned out to be 'Gun-i-bu, 12 Shidan, Kokura'. C. Uchida appears to be, Surgeon C. Uchida c/o Army Surgeon Dept., Imperial Army 12th Division, Kokura, Fukuoka Pref. if we accept the advice of Kita-Kyushu City Office. From February 1904, this Division participated in Russo-Japanese War 1904–05 in which they fought a series of land battles with Russia in the northern part of China (Manchuria) including the Battle of Mukden. 'Surgeon Uchida' was frequently referred to in the battle field dairy of Surgeon Mizogami, Uchida’s junior colleague. It is a well known historical event that the most violent battles both at sea and on land were fought for siege of the Port Arthur at the tip of Liaodong Peninsula which was the stronghold base of Russia’s Far East Squadron. At that time, they had been waiting for Russia’s Baltic Fleet to join for the Japan Sea Naval Battle.
"By the way, this dairy was published by his grandson, Mr. K. Mizokami, in 2004, who is now in the process of going through the original documents for confirmation of the details of Surgeon Uchida (it takes 1-2 weeks). Mr. K. Mizokami, opthalmologist in Sumoto City, Hyogo Pref., is a very kind person so I will let you know if he finds any related formation."
An interesting sidelight that needs investigating, it is the appearance in 1902 in South Texas of Sadatsuchi Uchida (1865–1942), Consul-General of Japan to explore the possibilty of establshing a Japanese rice farming colony, which did happen. He was born in Kokura, Fukuoka Prefecture. Whether this Uchida was related to the Kawabes is yet to be determined. Comments from Mr. Toyoda, "We visited the home of the diplomat, SadatsuchiUchidaand, and received a booklet containing the planning, design and reconstruction of the Uchida’s home. I found some information on the donator, S. Uchida’s grand daughter’s family and a brief resume of his diplomatic carrier (by the way his assignment in NY is found to be 1896.9-1906.7). Of course, no information was given to us on their current residence address etc from the city officials in charge." Mr. Toyoda has determined that he is not the elder brother of S. Kawabe.
Toyoda wrote about Kawabe schooling, "As for his schooling, Shimo Kawabe wrote “The University of Japan” which is not in existence. At that time we had a quasi-university by the name of “Nihon college for legal matters” which was in the process of securing the formal status for the college. Then we had a limited number of science and engineering institutions, mostly national ones, which required the strict entrance requirements of 6/5/3, the last one was solely for the basic training in science over three years. It seems to me he could not satisfy the entrance requirements for engineering study here. I asked a survey on him to the administrative office of the Law School of 'Nihon University' but they could not trace him back in their list of the graduates.
Toyoda wrote further, "More details: Surgeon Chin-ichi Uchida was listed in Army’s Personnel Directory 1904 as an Army Surgeon (1st class) assigned to field hospitals which he left at the end of Sept., 1904. According to the data found in Diplomatic Record Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he was dispatched to China (Great Qing) as a medical and health advisor of City of Yinghoe, Liaonig Provice between Dec., 1906 and Dec., 1911. His domicile was found in MD Registration Directory, 1909 in Kumamoto City, Japan. One hospital and a clinic are operated under the same name 'Uchida' there but they were found to be unrelated persons. If the descendants are not in medical services, it is extremely difficult to locate them unless their first names become clear."
"It’s a pity that I cannot reach to the descendants of T. Shimo Kawabe but one thing is clear that his guardian, Surgeon C. Uchida, was a responsible person if we look over his records left in our archives. Please give my best regards to the descendants of the host family in Austin who requested you to investigate on the Shimo Kawabe. I would like to convey to you that Dr. Mizokami have been rendered various advices to me, especially on medical aspects on Surgeon Uchida."
Hisao next investigated the claim that Mr. Kawabe was the General Kawabe that was present on the USS Missouri. In addition to the Shuddemagen family story, the following article appeared in the Marshall, Texas newspaper in 1945 in which to Texas alumni make a similar claim.
Mr. Toyoda wrote of this story, "Today I visited Diplomatic Record Office of Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo and found the copy of original letter to notify the attendants for the ceremony on board of the Missouri in 1945. The plenipotentiaries were then Foreign Minister M. Shigemitsu representing the civil sectors and General Y. Umezu representing the armed forces who were accompanied by the nine official attendants designated in the Ministry letter. Although General (lieutenant) T. Kawabe had played an important role in the preparation stage by going to Manila as the head representative, he did not attend the ceremony (my previous mail message was based on false information.).
"As for Torashiro Kawabe:
"I listed his earlier career which could not be found in his CV (neither in Japanese one nor its translated version such as Wikipedia). In Overseas Assignment, I showed his experiences out of Japan in accordance with his remarks by himself. The details are coming from his Diary and Memoirs. It seems that his presence in USA in the years around 1906-07 is not feasible.'
Torashiro KAWABE (1890-1960) Education: Born 9/25/1890 in Toyama Pref.* (primary school 6+2 senior years) 1905.5–1908.7, Army's regional preparatory school in Nagoya, a by-pass school in place of the formal middle school 1908.9–1910.5 Army's central preparatory school 1910.12–1912.5 Army Academy 1912.12 Sub-lieutenant (field artillery) 1921 Army Stall College (ongoing CV in Wikipedia).
Overseas Assignments: All were in Europe and Russia and in 1920s and 1930s.
"It is well known that he had a brother, General S. Kawabe who was four years older than him. Although the details of his military schooling are not open, he was listed as a graduate of the Army Academy in May, 1907. He was also trained as a German expert and stationed as a military attache in both Switzerland (1918-21) and Berlin (1929-32). It is also difficult to imagine that he stayed in US at the beginning of the last century. Both brothers are younger than Shimo Kawabe.'
"By the way, the librarian in the record office said that they have the passport issue record in 1906 (in micro-film). If the details of T. Kawabe’s entry to Honolulu, there might be some possibility that the further information on him could be found. The librarian needs the issuance month (we can reckon backward from his entry to Hawaii) and office (which of 47 prefectures ?)."
Further investigations are contained in the letter from Mr Toyoda, dated October 8, 2017. I quote:
I visited Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and with the help of the librarian in charge tried to reinvestigate the following:
1) Passport issuance from Microfilms:
Hyogo Pref. (Port of Kobe where the N. America ships started)
Kanagawa Pref. (Port of Yokohama, N. America ships departed )
Fukuoka Pref., possible pref. of his domicile
None of his names was found among the issued passports for April-Sept.
Together with the previous investigation of 4 years ago, it seems difficult to pursue this approach since the lists were not digitalized.
2) Student lists for overseas study
In case of the students under the governmental funds including ministerial grants, they have a detailed information but no specific data were found in case of study aboard by the private funds.
3) Nihon University (Univ. of Japan)
The office of college history was very helpful and they again checked the graduates of 1900-05 in vain (there are no records for the drop-outs).
He was 26 years old when he started the Fall semester in 1905 at UT. For the further survey, I need his carrier data for the preceding five years or so (I wonder what he wrote for " what degree" question of his academic record sheet before scribbling).
October 12, 2017
While searching for more about Mr. Kawabe, I found an entry on the Dolph Brisco Center for American History web site. The Center is located on the UT campus. After an interminable week I was able to get to the Center and and get access to the file which contained one picture of Mr. Kawabe. Mr. Toyoda comments that clothing is that of formal dress for men. There was also an address in the file: Mitsutomo, Yame, Chikugo, Japan. Mr. Toyoda reported that the family register from 19th century reports an address: 363, Tagata (village), Mitsutomo (town), Yame (county), Fukuoka Prefecture. This region used to be called Chikugo) and near to the old mining area. Recall that he states on his transcript that his expenses are being paid for by a mining company. Harue Toyoda, Hisao's wife, grew up less that 80 km from that area.
Using the address from the photo, Mr. Toyoda was able to find a relative, apparently a great granddaughter. She kindly provided some information. Toshihiro Uchida (nee 内田俊浩) married an heiress (September 2, 1903) but left the family by leaving a baby girl in Yame, maybe for going aboard, and never came back there. She said that all kind of ill stories about him were told by her ancestors down from the great grand-mother. At the time of his passport application for going aboard around in 1905, his family register was the one in Item 1 above. No information has been available on him after he left UT in 1907. When Mrs. S-K called me, she promised to help me further if necessary, but she requested me that items were to be minimized. Later on I wanted to reconfirm some data but no reply was made for my calls. Anyway, Mrs. S-Kawabe also requested me to focus our on-going survey on the Uchida’s side. Later I sent a brief letter in November and received her memo dated on Dec. 5. It turned out that their divorce was applied on Oct. 1, 1908 and accepted on Feb. 19, 1909 and notified to the original home town office (his place of birth/Setaka-machi/his registration seems to be returned to his parents’). It is not known whether the formalities for divorce were made by himself, ie whether he was in Japan or not at that time.
Mr. Kawabe was the 4th son of the Uchida, Samurai extraction. Mr. Toyoda comments, "The above facts have cleared many questions, such as not declaring his domicile (very unusual in this country), using instead the address of the Army regiment which turned out to be that of his senior brother, C. Uchida, Army Surgeon.ra
So far we have no record of his returning to Japan after UT.
More discoveries by Mr. Toyoda:
Further work by Mr. Toyoda. He arranged for an article to appear in the Japaneses newspaper, The Ariake Shimpo, in the area where the Uchida family lived. The page is here:
Mr. Toyoda provided a summary of the article dated April 6, 2018.:
On April 6, Mr. Toyoda had a call form Miyama City which was made by Mr. Osamu Hashimoto, a bona fide reader of The Ariake News and informed me of the following:
(20 cherry trees were donated to Hongo Village by one the relatives of the Uchida)
Here is a photo discovered at the Dolph Brisco Center for American History, Autin, Texas. Across the photo folder-mat containing the photo was written, T. Shimo Kawabe, Mitsutomo, Yame, Chikugo, Japan, presumably an address. The mat had a trademark on it also shown below:
Mr.Toyoda reports that this is the trademark of a famous photographer that operated in Tokyo until 1944.
T. Shimo Kawabe Photo and Document Album
Motozo Akazawa Photo and Document Album