Honoring Nisei World War II Veterans

Nisei VetsOn October 5, 2010, President Barack Obama signed legislation to grant the Congressional Gold Medal to the 100th Battalion, the 442nd, and the Military Intelligence Service. The law recognizes more than 6,000 Japanese-Americans born of immigrant parents who served the United States and fought in battles in Europe and Asia during World War II. About two-thirds of them were from Hawai‘i. Read the Honolulu Star-Advertiser article here.

Learn more about Hawai‘i’s famous “Go for Broke” soldiers of the 442nd and 100th with these popular titles from UH Press:

Unlikely LiberatorsUnlikely Liberators: The Men of the 100th and 442nd, by Masayo Umezawa Duus; translated by Peter Duus
“A fascinating and highly readable slice of history which should be told, and told repeatedly. If ever a group of Americans had been driven to the point of despair and rebellion, it was the Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II. . . . Unlikely Liberators vividly portrays in remarkable realism the officers and men with whom I served. Every American should read Masayo Duus’ book to better understand the true spirit of America which sustains its greatness.” —former U.S. Senator Spark Matsunaga

Combat ChaplainCombat Chaplain: The Personal Story of the WWII Chaplain of the Japanese American 100th Battalion, by Israel A.S. Yost; edited by Monica E. Yost and Michael Markrich
In October 1943, twenty-seven-year-old combat infantry chaplain Israel Yost arrived in Italy with the 100th Battalion, a little-known National Guard unit of mostly Japanese Americans from Hawai‘i. Yost was apprehensive when he learned of his assignment to this unusual unit composed of soldiers with whom he felt he had little in common and who were mostly Buddhists. But this would soon change.

Japanese EyesJapanese Eyes… American Heart: Personal Reflections of Hawaii’s World War II Nisei Soldiers, edited by the Hawaii Nikkei History Editorial Board (distributed for the Tendai Educational Fund)
“It isn’t often that you come across a book that is on the one hand extremely easy to read, enjoyable and inspirational, while on the other hand deeply moving, oftentimes disturbing, and very emotional. Japanese Eyes . . . American Heart is all this and more. . . . The American niseis’ tales create a fascinating literary mosaic, one that is highly educational, highly inspirational, and highly recommended.” —Mainichi Daily News