John and Marion Allison
John R. Allison
John “Jack” Russell Allison was born and raised in Peterborough Ontario, Canada. At the age of 18 he lost his father to pneumonia, and started work right out of high school to support his mother and younger sister. In 1933, in the midst of the Great Depression, he immigrated with his family to Evanston Illinois, where he landed a job as a courier at a local bank. His facility with numbers, and evening coursework at Northwestern University enabled him to rise to the position of internal auditor. After a few years he took the job of establishing accounting systems at the printing firm of R.R. Donnelley and Sons.
After World War II began, Jack enlisted in the army. Following Basic Training, he received training in anti-aircraft weaponry, then was sent to Officer Candidate School and graduated as a second lieutenant. In August of 1945 he found himself on board a troop ship headed for the final invasion of Japan. As fate would have it, however, the war abruptly ended and instead of being part of the invasion force, Jack became part of the American Occupation under General Douglas MacArthur.
While in the Occupation Jack became a major player in the process of rebuilding the Japanese economy. As head of the Liquidation Branch of the Economic and Scientific Section, he helped break up the zaibatsus - huge family-owned conglomerates that controlled most economic activity in Japan. He then joined the Banking and Finance Section where he participated in the effort to stabilize the economy, which was being ravaged by inflation. He was eventually promoted to the position of Director of Finance, in which he was responsible for supervision of the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry and the Central Bank of Japan.
Back in the US, Jack’s experience in world finance enabled him to land executive positions in a series of multi-national corporations over the next 23 years: Treasurer, Norton International; Vice President and Controller-International, Richardson Merrill; President and CEO, Pepsico Service Industries; Senior Vice President-Treasurer, Raytheon. In 1973, at the age of 60, Jack chose to strike out on his own as a Management Consultant. Continuing well into his 70’s, Jack provided financial advice to companies at all stages of development in such areas as acquisition, merger, divestiture, and Chapter 11 reorganization.
Marion S. Allison
Marion Stuart Sellers was born and raised in Lexington Missouri where her father was the Superintendent at Wentworth Military Academy. When she was thirteen the family moved to Evanston Illinois where her father became the Superintendent at Morgan Park Military Academy. After earning a degree at Northwestern University, Marion met Jack Allison, and two were married in 1942. Separated by the war, the two were re-united when Marion joined Jack in Japan with their 3-year-old daughter. In Japan, Marion immersed herself in the culture by studying the Japanese language, visiting museums, learning crafts, and teaching English to friends and acquaintances among the Japanese. She brought two children into the world while in Japan, then two more after the family was repatriated in 1951. Marion’s legacy is having raised five children and maintaining a household while providing Jack the freedom to travel in the service of multi-national corporations and climb the corporate ladder.
Memoirs of an American Family in Occupied Japan
by John and Marion Allison
This is a unique account by two Americans of their experiences in the vastly different culture of post-war Japan, during an exhilarating time of renewal, with insights into the economic reconstruction of Japan, and the common bonds of humanity that transcended the cultural divide.
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