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1990 - "present"



It is important that we recall and document here in one place the great history of our school - high/middle/grade - for the benefit of everyone - especially those that follow.  Remember, we have new alumni joining each week, and will for years to come.   They know very little of what you and I experienced.  What you know as "routine" is "history" to everyone else, and we need to get it recorded - else it be lost forever.  Collectively the alumni are aware of the entire history of our wonderful past, but getting all that information in one place so each can learn and enjoy, requires everyone to input the 'bit's and 'pieces" they have in memory, or on memorabilia.  It requires making an effort, and we are asking everyone to help.  We need a common basis of understanding amongst us to start this project so what follows is OUR HISTORY AS WE KNOW IT (correct or incorrect).   Please review it closely and provide comments and additional facts that will help put the puzzle together.  We will publish all data fragments as they arrive and worry about editing them later.  Lets all just collect it first and plug it in here and see where it leads.   If anything is incorrect PLEASE tell us so it can be "fixed" - after so many years things do get a little fuzzy.   Lets do it today!!!!!







The schedule of events of the last few days of WW II indicate it ended 15 August 1945, with formal surrender on 2 Sep 1945 in Tokyo Bay.

When General Douglas MacArthur stepped off his aircraft on to Japanese soil at Atsugi Air Base (US Naval Air Station) on August 30th, 1945, he was the first trickle in what would become a wave of thousands of US and allied occupation troops, later followed by their families.  His herculean task was to dismantle the Imperial Japanese military-industrial establishment; impose a democratic polity with universal suffrage for all citizens; reform the educational system; institute a free market economy; repatriate hundreds of thousands of dispersed Japanese troops; execute a reparations plan; feed, clothe, house, and care for the health and welfare of the Japanese-and occupation force-populace; and, in general, transform Japanese society into one respectful and observant of democratic institutions.

To do all this required a large allied occupation force. General MacArthur, with headquarters based in Tokyo opposite the Imperial Palace grounds, wore three hats to carry out his responsibilities: Supreme Commander Allied Forces (SCAP), which covered Japan proper; Commander in Chief United States Far East Command (FEC), which included Japan, the Ryukyu Islands, and the Marianas/Bonin Islands; and Commander US Army Forces Far East (AFFE), with the same area of responsibility as FEC for Army forces (He would add Commander in Chief United Nations Command during the Korean War). Because of his broad responsibilities, Gen MacArthur ceded effective AFFE command authority to the Commander of the Eighth US Army.   With headquarters based in Yokohama, HQ AFFE/Eighth US Army was the US Army focal point for executing occupation policies and directives issued by FEC.   The US Navy and US Army Air Force (later US Air Force in 1947) had similar but much smaller headquarters for their forces.

Military and US civil service dependents did not begin arriving in steady numbers in Japan until August 1946 because of lack of quarters and the need to minimize logistics impacts on already strained resources needed to sustain the Japanese populace.   Early on, AFFE started contract construction of facilities and quarters to support US occupation forces and their families.   The flow of family members into the country was controlled based on the number of new and procurement demand (existing apartments, private homes procured for US forces use) quarters becoming available each month, and was restricted to dependents of officers, NCOs at or above the grade of E-5, and civil service civilians GS-12 and above.   Eligible families were authorized to arrive earlier than the construction rate allowed provided that they had contracted private rental quarters waiting.   The latter were often austere in amenities by US standards, lacking effective heating systems, plumbing, hot water, and reliable utilities.  The original concept established by SCAP and FEC was to build up to 20,000 quarters, then turn them over to the Japanese after the occupation to alleviate the Japanese housing shortage.   That concept was flawed as the houses were not suited to Japanese living because they consumed so much energy, space and valuable real estate. They were bulldozed almost as soon as they were later turned over to the Japanese, beginning with the Yamashita Park areas.

Finding land to build on in crowded Japan was no problem-"urban renewal" clearance projects--courtesy of the 20th Air Force--during the war (area bombing raids) left large swaths of rubble-filled terrain in the choicest areas of real estate in Japan’s major cities. Substantial buildings that did remain were commandeered for military facilities.   In Yokohama 45% of the built up urban area was leveled (9 square miles); almost all of the 2,598 tons of bombs dropped on Yokohama during the war were during a low- level area raid on May 29th, 1945.   During the war, Yokohama suffered the destruction of 100,070 buildings, 17,967 injured and 4,832 killed.   The pre-bombardment Yokohama population of 1,034,740 was down to 637,024 by the end of the war, a 38% decrease. 399,187 or 39% of the population was made homeless and 350,000 or 34% evacuated the city.   Yokohama was targeted because of its importance as the major port for the Kanto Plains region, transportation infrastructure, and industrial presence.

As a result of these factors, Eighth Army developed their support infrastructure and initial housing construction in the former downtown and water front choice real estate near the major port terminal facilities.   These were the Yamashita Park area, Isezaki-cho street, and the downtown expanse between the two, including the park area with Lou Gehrig Stadium. The Yamashita Park housing areas were new construction while most of the support facilities and occupation force offices were in procurement demand buildings.   The new housing was built on a crash basis by the Japanese.

At the end of WW II two schools in the Yokohama/Tokyo area that existed before the war for "westerners" - St Joseph College (on the Bluff) and Meguro School (Tokyo) reopened in their original facilities.   The "westerners" and school staff were all interned in the "Gora" and "Hakone" area (west near Mt Fuji) during the war.   Both the Japanese and the occupation forces aided in the restoration of the schools and in providing food and necessities.   Thus, until the opening of Yokohama American School (YAS) in 1946 at the Bluff location, All US students in Japan attended St Joseph in Yokohama--and Meguro in Tokyo until the opening of Narimasu High School and the various elementary schools in the Tokyo area.   It wasn't until 1950 that St Joseph was returned to an all "boys" school status, with the reopening of the various Catholic "girls" schools.

Some minimal schooling was reportedly conducted by the two school staffs in the wartime internment areas.  Thus, St Joseph has a legitimate claim as the first "Yo-Hi", but probably mainly for private US citizens and a hand full of US military and civil service dependents. If any reader can shed light on St Joseph in that early post war era, let us know.  Whether any US military dependents graduated from St Joseph prior to the Yo-Hi class of 1947, or whether the Eighth US Army officially sent dependents to St Joe’s is not known. If so they can lay claim as the first "Yo-Hi" graduates.

In early 1946 the War Department proposed to SCAP that dependents of military personnel be permitted to come to Japan.  

Throughout the FEC, 42 elementary schools and 20 high schools were established - seven of which were on a correspondence basis due to small numbers.   FEC included SW Pacific island sites and small enclaves of US personnel throughout Japan.   Of the 20 high schools, about 12 were in the Kanto Plains area.   Efforts are being made to document the "colors", team names, mascots, "letters", etc., of each of the 20 high schools and can be located elsewhere on the web site.

In 1950, the school system employed 352 well-qualified teachers and was accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in the US.  The schools were conducted in such a manner as to serve as models for demonstration purposes to the Japanese as to curriculum, instruction, administration, extra-curricular activities, and other features of democratic institutions.  By 1950, the schools in Japan under the FEC served 14,800 military and civil service civilian families - 9,900 Army, 4,200 Air Force, and 700 Navy and British Commonwealth Occupation Force families..

On December 1, 1948, the Dependent Schools Division was established under the direction of the Deputy G-1 (Directorate of Personnel) for the combined staff of SCAP General HQ, SCAP, and FEC.   This organization was responsible for all plans, policy and operations of the FEC dependent schools.

1. Selected Data on the Occupation of Japan, GHQ SCAP and FEC, 1950.
2. The United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Report 56, June 1947
3. Japan in Pictures 1945-1951, Tokyo News Service, 1951
4. Yo-Hi Yearbooks, 1948, 1949
Research by Bob Bonn




Before W.W.II, the building used for the Yokohama American High School housed a Japanese Girl's Commercial College. The principal was Makoto Tadano. It was built in 1935. The facility was located on Tagatay Ridge on what was called Bluff Road (now Yamate-cho), above the "tunnel", just down the street (West) from St Joseph's College, overlooking Yokohama City.   It's location commonly referred to as the "Bluff".   

In September 1946 the Eighth Army took over the facility and created the Yokohama American School (YAS) with eighteen students and two teachers.   The principal was Major Sidel who remained as such until November, 1947.   In the Summer of 1947 it was renamed the Yokohama American High School [Y.A.H.S] but referred to as YO-HI.   It opened on 15 September 1947, and by the fall of that year, it enrolled 165 students and 10 teachers.   The school consisted of twelve classrooms in a three story stucco building which included a science lab, a kitchen, a sewing room, a gymnasium-auditorium and a library.   In June 1948 the first class of twenty-four students graduated - using "scrounged" U. S. Army parachute material for the "Caps and Gowns" - and the first yearbook was published.   

Simultaneously, with the establishment of the High School -- which also included students attending for some "grade school classes", and in September 1947 also, the Nasugbu Beach Elementary School facility (formerly a Japanese School) was opened.   It consisted of  kindergarten thru 8th grade.  It is believed that this school at Area 1 on the "beach" was named in honor of The Nasugbu Beach campaign which was the landing of American Forces (11th Airborne, etc ) on January 31, 1945 at Nasugbu in the province of Batangas, about 55 miles from Manila, Philippines.

Many of the names used by the U. S. Military forces who initially occupied Yokohama were named we believe in honor of the "battles" those units fought during W. W II.  For example: the 11 Division was one of the primary units in the Yokohama Area and they fought many "battles" in the Philippines.  Thus such names as "Tagatay", "Nasugbu" and many others were used to honor their comrades lost in those battles.

The history of that Nasugbu building can be traced back to 1924, the year after the great Tokyo earthquake. That year the main building was constructed as a Japanese school but in 1939 was converted into a hospital for Japanese forces.   It perhaps is the building which housed American POW's during W.W.II - and was located between Area 1 and 2, adjacent to the Bowling Alley, Commissary, and the "Bill Chickering" Theater - South of the "Bluff" location and at the end of the "street car" tracks.   The building also was a Japanese School and was one of the few buildings left standing in Naka-Ku when World War II ended.   That area was later referred to as the HONMOKU BEACH area.   The school consisted of twenty-six class rooms, a library, art studio, music room and an auditorium and gymnasium. 

A year later (September 20, 1948) further growth brought the opening of a second elementary school, Negishi Heights, with 167 children - kindergarten thru 8th grade.    It was a modern two story building with sixteen classrooms, a music room, auditorium-gymnasium, two playgrounds and an athletic field. It continued to spiral upward and in 1952 the kindergarten moved into a separate building -- and the seventh and eighth grades became the Junior High Department.

In the summer of 1952, after the graduation of the Class of 52, the Yokohama American High School was closed at it's "Bluff" location and moved into the existing Nasugbu Beach Elementary School building on Nasugbu "Beach" - thus became the Yokohama American  High School at the "Beach" location.    The Yokohama American High School -- "Beach" -- then co-existed with the Elementary School in the same facility on the beach between what was known then as Area 1 and Area 2.  Subsequently, additional facilities were constructed on that property to permit reorganization, and the increase of students.  Eventually it consisted of 9 buildings and annexes which accommodated the elementary, junior and high school students.   

The original "Bluff" school building was returned to the Japanese in 1952/3 and demolished, making way for the construction of a new building on that site - called the Yokohama Girls Commercial School.

As the "occupation" era phased out during the late 50's the responsibility for the management of most U. S. controlled facilities in the Yokohama metro area changed from the U. S. Army to the U. S. Air Force and then the U. S. Navy in 1959-1960.   During this period many U. S. military controlled facilities were returned to the Japanese.  At the same time the U. S. Navy decided to change the name of the Yokohama American High School and the Negishi Heights Elementary School. 

The "re-naming" of the schools was accomplished by a board of senior naval officers (Captains), who evaluated and selected names submitted by faculty members.  Mr Jim Phillips, who was then principal of Nasugbu Beach Elementary School nominated to Superintendent Tony Cardinale the name Nile C Kinnick Jr.   Mrs. Primm, the Principal at Negishi Elementary, submitted the name for that school, Richard E. Byrd.

On 19 April 1960 the Yokohama American High School was renamed as the Nile C Kinnick Jr. Navy Dependents School.   It was named in honor of Nile C. Kinnick Jr, whose history is recorded elsewhere on this web site.   

On 5 April 1960 the Negishi Heights Elementary School was renamed Richard E Byrd Elementary School in honor of the famous naval hero, explorer and flier.

In 1964 the "School System" is known to have consisted of:  Yokosuka: The Sullivans School, grades 1-8; The Callaghan School, Nagai Dep Housing Area, grades 1-4.  Yokohama: The Byrd Elementary School, grades 1-6, The Nile C Kinnick Elementary School, grades 1-6, The Nile C Kinnick High School, grades 7-12.

In the 1971/72 School Year, after a decline in student attendance, class re-structuring and reassignments, the Nile C Kinnick High School moved from Yokohama to the Yokosuka Navy Base were it is located today.   The move from "hama" to "suka" took place in the Fall of 1971, with attendance at Yokosuka beginning after "Christmas Break".    After the move from "hama" to "suka" the "busing" situation that had existed for over 20 years now was reversed. Those families living in Yokohama had their children "bussed" to the Yokosuka school - and it still exists today - 50+ years later.   Ironic!  

The former High School building at Yokohama became the Nile C Kinnick Middle School facility.   The "middle" school remained at this location in Yokohama until June 1980, when it moved to Yokosuka.   

Shortly after, the former Yokohama based "middle" school building and the other US Military facilities adjacent to it (Area 1 and 2 housing, Commissary, PX, Bowling alley, Honmoku housing, etc) were returned to the Japanese Government.   They were demolished to permit the area to be expanded seaward, by dredging and filling the area with sand.   This entire area is now a huge Mall (department store complex) called MyCal Honmoku, and an industrial and shipping area.

It is believed that simultaneous with the Navy's re-naming of YOHI in 1960, Eighth Army established a High School at Camp Zama which impacted on the overall school system in the Kanto Plains area - which expanded an existing "middle / grade" school system already established which also was supporting, Sagamihara, YED, and Fuchinobe.   The Zama high school began operation in 1958 with the 1st class graduating in 1959. The Zama high school is still in operation in 1997.

YEARBOOK NAME - "KRIMSON K": During the middle 60's, probably 1964 or 1965, a contest was conducted to name the yearbook.  The winner would get a free yearbook.  It is not known what names were nominated, how the nominations were processed, or who submitted the winning name -- but it was the "Krimson K".


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Looking from Bluff to the Bay