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Shigeru Takabayashi, 85, is a living witness of the convoluted history of the English language in Japan around the end of the Pacific War.

In spring and summer 1945, the last months of the war, Takabayashi studied English — an enemy tongue ostracized in wartime Japan — at a branch of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy in Hariojima, Nagasaki Prefecture, which is now part of the city of Sasebo.

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