“The message that Japan was at the mercy of the occupier was reinforced in a thousand ways, subtle and manifest. While the average US soldier did not fit the rapacious image of wartime Japanese propagandists, Occupation personnel lived and frequently behaved like neo-colonial overlords. SCAP commandeered every large building that had not burned down to house thousands of civilians and requisitioned vast tracts of prime real estate to quarter several hundred thousand troops in the Tokyo-Yokohama area alone.
“The Stars and Stripes were hoisted over Tokyo (display of the Rising Sun – the ‘meatball’ – was banned), and the downtown area, ‘Little America’, was transformed into a US enclave. Leading officers took up residence in the stately Imperial Hotel … Field officers were assigned to the less prestigious Dai-Ichi Hotel in Shinbashi. Department of the Army civilians were billeted in more distant quarters, such as the Kanda Kaikan (the former YMCA) or the Yuraku Hotel. Entire buildings were refurbished as officer’s clubs, replete with slot machines and gambling parlours installed at Occupation expense.”
– Allied Occupation of Japan, by Eiji Takemae, 2003