John Fujio Aiso
MIS instructor, lawyer & judge (1909-1987)
Distinguished as a military leader, lawyer, and judge, John Aiso was the highest-ranking Nisei (Lt. Col.) to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II and the first Japanese American to serve in the California state judiciary and the United States Federal courts. Born in Burbank, California to Issei immigrants, he graduated from Brown University and Harvard Law School.
Aiso was drafted into the Army early in 1941 and served as chief instructor at the newly formed Military Intelligence Service Language School that trained over 6,000 translators to serve in the American military effort during World War II. The MIS linguists were credited with invaluable contributions to America's victory and for greatly shortening the war. After the war, Aiso resumed a law practice and in 1953 was appointed to the California state judiciary. He went on to become the first Nisei appointed to the federal appellate courts. Judge John Aiso died in 1987 at the age of 78.
For further reference:
- Tad Ichinokouchi (ed., assisted by Daniel Aiso), John Aiso and the M.I.S.: Japanese-American Soldiers in the Military Intelligence Service, World War II. Los Angeles: The Military Intelligence Service Club of Southern California, 1988.
- Veteran profile (Military Intelligence Service Research Center)
- James T. McIlwain, "Brown and the Yankee Samurai". Brown University Faculty Bulletin vol. XII, no. 2 (April 1999).