Japan - Familiar Faces

General MacArthur Exiting the Dai Ichi Building

January 28, 1946: General MacArthur exits the Dai Ichi Building.

American Caesar

In Japan, Mahard's attempts to secure a discharge intensified. Mahard needed to figure out the logistics and the right time to present the matter to his military superiors. Mahard still hoped to be transferred to the Natural Resources section by the spring and thought they might be more sympathetic to his case than Mahard's colonel. Furthermore, the captains were doing their best to secure promotions for Mahard and his two friends. If nothing else, there was now something a bit exciting and tangible to look forward to as long as Mahard was stuck in the Army.

Larry, Ed, and Mahard still enjoyed going on the odd adventure here or there in their free time. Ed always seemed to be the one most anxious to be doing something. On a particularly rainy Sunday, Ed managed to convince the rest that they should try to make the best of the free day. They traveled to the city of Chichuba by train. Eventually the cold and the rain got the better of the group, and they decided it would be best to call it a day and head back to Tokyo. 

The day after the somewhat uneventful train trip, Mahard got to check quite a big to-do off his list. General Douglas MacArthur was the general in charge of operations in Japan. His headquarters were in the Dai Ichi Building in which the mess hall and free movie theatre that Mahard frequented were located. Mahard once delivered some hot beverages to the general's office and once unknowingly shared an elevator with the man himself, but had yet to see him in a situation where he was able to snap a photograph. But on January 28, 1946, Mahard finally got his chance. While walking by the Dai Ichi Building, Mahard noticed that MacArthur's Cadillac was waiting out in front with a large crowd gathered around who were waiting for the general to emerge. Mahard, with a decent spot to snap a photo and knowing if he walked away that would almost certainly be the moment MacArthur emerged from the building, waited for his chance. After just over an hour of waiting, MacArthur appeared, accompanied by a major. There was no great spectacle to the affair, MacArthur simply returned the MP's salutes, quickly surveyed the crowd, and hopped in his car. "So let it be known far and wide" Mahard wrote, "I've seen MacArthur! Yipee!"

John Taylor 1944 Adytum

John Taylor in the 1944 Adytum.

Mahard had noticed some newly painted murals in their hotel when they first arrived, but had refrained from sharing this with Marian because it had required further investigation to uncover the whole story. While admiring the murals, Mahard noticed the signature of "John Taylor" and was suddenly convinced that this was the same John Taylor who had taught art at Denison in 1943-1944. After Mahard described the John Taylor he knew to an employee and was told that his description matched the painter of the mural, he called around to other hotels trying to find his acquaintance. Eventually Mahard got lucky and left John Taylor a message. On their last day in Kyoto, John Taylor paid George and Mahard a visit, sharing the story of his work with a U.S.O. Campshow organization of artists. After bidding the artist goodbye, George and Mahard boarded the train. Sadly, there was no "Ah So, Stateside" this time. But Mahard was surely glad that George had been welcomed in as a roommate if he had not already thought so before.