In April 2014, Irish Jordan contacted the Prange Collection about a Japanese comic book, Toranku Kozo by Kaneso Masutaro. that her grandmother, Lois Beno (1922 – 2016), had given to her. The Prange Collection staff soon learned that Beno had acquired the book while she was in Japan during the Occupation. Already the repository for 100 interviews with Americans who served in Allied Occupied Japan (see the Marlene J. Mayo Oral Histories), the Prange Collection staff was eager for Beno to be interviewed and to add the interview to the Prange holdings. Beno lived in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, however, and it was impractical for a staff member to interview her in-person. One of Beno’s daughters, Mary Ann Herston, agreed to conduct the interview with questions provided by the Manager of the Prange Collection. The interview took place on March 13, 2014 and was deposited in the Prange Collection soon thereafter.
Beno’s husband, who was in the U.S. Air Force but on loan to the Army, was assigned to the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) in Fukuoka Prefecture during the Occupation. Beno and their two children joined him in 1947. The family initially lived in Kurume and then moved to Fukuoka.
In addition to the interview, Ms. Beno donated 32 photographs taken in Japan during the Occupation, including family photographs and photographs that vividly depict the everyday lives of the Japanese, particularly in rural areas.
The Lois Beno Photographs and Oral History consist of:
- 32 photographs
- 15 pages of printed photographs and captions
- One recorded interview
- 3 pages of descriptions of Japanese customs written by Beno
The Lois Beno Photographs and Oral History are available for use onsite in the Prange Collection.