Korean War Legacy Project

Robert Kodama

Bio

Robert Kodama was born in 1929 in Hawaii to parents of Japanese descent. He joined the United Staes military before the Korean War started and remembers where he was when the North Koreans invaded South Korea. He shares a memory of finding his lost assistant in the apple orchards need Taegu. He recalls the unfortunate scene he found at a Prisoner of War Camp and the harsh winters they encountered. He spent roughly eleven months in Korea and believes that the war was a “good thing” because it set him on a successful path regarding school and his career.

Video Clips

A Change of Plans

Robert Kodama shares he was stationed in Japan before the war broke out. He adds that his bother, coincidentally, was also stationed in the area and was supposed to come pick him up. He explains that while he was in the mess hall, he received unfortunate news that North Korea invaded South Korea, and his plans quickly changed.

Tags: Prior knowledge of Korea

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04hsuKfVTH8&start=762&end=950

Finding His Assistant in the Apple Orchard

Feeling hopefulness that they would not find any survivors, Robert Kodama and his company went back to their base near Taegu. However, he eventually saw someone moving in the bushes of the apple orchards- it turned out to be his former assistant! This man ran towards him and explained that everyone had scattered when they got overrun and he ended up going the wrong direction. To survive, the assistant had to drink rice paddy water and had limited food for 10 days.

Tags: Front lines,Living conditions

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04hsuKfVTH8&start=1672&end=1771

An Unfortunate Surprise at the Prisoner of War Camp

Robert Kodama describes what it was like moving with a company of tanks, having to stop about every thirty miles to refuel. During one of the stops near Taejon, they saw what they thought was an abandoned Prisoner of War Camp. Robert Kodama describes the terrible scene when they went into the camp- a scene that would give him nightmares.

Tags: Fear,Physical destruction

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04hsuKfVTH8&start=2219&end=2383