Thomas Blakemore made many positive contributions to Japan during long career
Last in a two-part series
TOKYO — Thomas Blakemore left the GHQ in 1949. He took the Imperial University Law School Graduation test, entirely in Japanese, and, allowed to use romaji in lieu of kanji he could not remember, passed it, making him the only American — indeed, the only Westerner — ever to accomplish such a feat (It was an achievement that would not be matched for nearly another half-century). Then he opened up a law office in Kyobashi, essentially a desk in a burned out hutch in a makeshift building, which he shared with a foreign newspaper correspondent, and hung out his shingle to practice law.
There were two classes of foreign lawyer at the time in Japan, Class A & Class B. Class A attorneys were just like Japanese lawyers, which meant they could be retained by a Japanese client and argue in court before a judge. Class B lawyers could be retained by home country nationals if the dispute was covered by Japanese law, but a Class B lawyer was not really licensed to practice in Japan. He served as a kind of "Rump Bar."
Tom Blakemore was the only foreign lawyer in Japan in the Class A category. All other foreign lawyers were Class B. But Blakemore was reluctant to argue in a Japanese court.