Remembering the left-handed groom
TOKYO — Raymond Bushell, who prided himself on being the first American lawyer to hang out his shingle in Japan, was one of some 70 foreign lawyers given special permission to practice there by SCAP, with approval from the Japanese bar. Bushell had a lifelong love affair with Japan during which he made himself one of the world's foremost experts on Japan's treasured art form of netsuke and became one its greatest benefactors. Bushell’s attitudes were decidedly pro-Japanese and formed by an early series of events and uplifting experiences that ranked among the truly bizarre.
For example, when Bushell first arrived in Japan in early September 1945, as the young commander of a Merchant Marine sea-air rescue boat, he soon found himself in the middle of something called a "left-handed marriage."
A slender, bespectacled lawyer from New York, Bushell had had been put in charge of an army crew stationed in the Philippines and ordered to transport them to Japan. Caught on the tail end of a typhoon, he headed for Wakanoura in the Kii Peninsula and docked at a small fishing port called Shiotsu.
At first, there was not a soul to be seen. Bushell led a patrol that marched through the main street of town where everything was shut down, windows closed, windows shuttered, no movement whatsoever. Then one young boy slowly came out to look. Then another. Bushell's men doled out candy to the children and then some K rations and little by little, the adults started coming out.