Nichijo: The Testimony of John Provoo 

I am John Oliver, author/editor of this little known true story of the war in the Pacific.

    I lived on Hawaii's "Big Island" from about 1974 through 1986. This book is about an old Buddhist Priest I picked up hitch-hiking on a country road in the Puna district. He turned out to be a genuine historical figure.

    Here's his story: In 1940, he was a young American Buddhist studying at an ancient monastery in Japan. He was being urged by the U.S. Embassy to return home, as war seemed inevitable. Facing the draft in 1941, he enlisted in the US Army in San Francisco, and was soon stationed in the Philippines. Within six months of the December 7, 1941 outbreak of war, he was captured along with thousands of others on the island fortress of Corregidor, in the mouth of Manila Bay.

    In the early months after capture, the Japanese used him as an interpreter, a role that created suspicion in the minds of some that he had become a collaborator. After years of privations in POW camps in Taiwan, he was moved to Bunka Camp in downtown Tokyo, and forced to make propaganda broadcasts with others, including Iva Toguri, from Radio Tokyo, until the end of the war.

    In the post war years, he was continually harassed by the FBI throughout a second Army enlistment. In 1949, he was discharged, taken immediately into federal custody and charged with treason for events on Corregidor and taking part in POW radio broadcasts. His trial was foreshadowed by the conviction of Iva Toguri, cast by the government as the non-existent "Tokyo Rose". His convictions on several charges were overturned on appeal to the US Supreme Court due to the prosecution's dirty tricks.

    This book is his personal narrative of the events that led up to his prosecution and his final return to the training for the Buddhist priesthood. In the late 1960's, as a Bishop of the Nichiren sect, he moved to the Oahu and finally the Big Island where he lived until his death in 2001. Many people knew him but never heard the details of his backstory.

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Copyright ©2015 John Oliver