| Days of Infamy |
POD: March, 1941;
Relevant POD: December 7, 1941
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
|Date of Birth:||c. 1914|
|Occupation:||School-teacher, briefly a gardener and a comfort woman|
|Spouse:||Fletch Armitage (estranged)|
Jane Armitage (b. c. 1914) was a school teacher from Columbus, Ohio. She married United States Army officer Fletcher "Fletch" Armitage, and moved with him to Wahiawa, Hawaii. Early in 1941, frustrated with Fletch's devotion to duty at her expense and his excessive drinking, Jane kicked him out of the apartment she shared with Fletch and began the process of filing for divorce.
When the Japanese army invaded Wahiawa late in 1941, Jane decided to stay, fearing that she might be targeted by Japanese pilots if she was part of a refugee column. However, she quickly regretted that decision when she learned the terms of occupation put in place by Major Hirabayashi. Jane also quickly learned how serious the Japanese were about those terms, when Mr. Murphy, the principal of the elementary school where Jane taught, was caught with a hidden radio, and executed.
Anticipating food shortages, the Japanese dragooned Jane into becoming a gardener. Jane proved successful at growing turnips and potatoes, and was able to eke out a living for herself.
In 1943, Yosh Nakayama, a Japanese citizen living in Hawaii before the war employed as a translator for Major Hirabayashi, approached Jane and suggested that she might leave Wahiawa. Jane was suspicious, and steadfastly refused. The next day, Jane was one of several women rounded up by the Japanese military and taken to a hotel. She was informed that she would become a "comfort girl" for the sexual pleasure of Japanese soldiers - which Jane realized that this was what Nakayama was trying to warn her. Jane was taken to a room and raped repeatedly. (She was fed far better than she had been during the occupation.)
Jane became numbed by the repeated rapes, but never gave up hope of escaping. When the United States launched their invasion to retake Hawaii in 1943, a volley from US 105mm guns hit the building where she was held. Most of the guards were killed. She and several other women took the opportunity to escape, overcoming Annabelle Chung, the madam appointed by the Japanese to run the house.
After the U.S. subdued the Japanese later in the year, the citizens of Wahiawa exacted revenge against various collaborators by making them run a gauntlet and subjecting them to beatings. Jane helped beat Annabelle Chung to death. She was not the prime instrument of death, however, and had a mostly intact conscience.
Fletch Armitage, who'd been a POW for the duration of the occupation, visited Jane in their apartment. He convinced her to give their marriage another chance, and that she was not to blame for having been a repeated rape victim. She made it clear to Fletch that they had a lot of work to do.