Japanese American Veterans Association


Vol. 1, No. 15, January 4, 2020

President's Message 

JAVA President Gerald Yamada 

I wish you a Happy New Year and hope you and your family had a very good holiday season.  I thank all those who worked so hard to make JAVA’s 2019 events so successful.  I am particular appreciative of the leadership efforts made by Chris DeRosa, who chaired JAVA’s 2019 scholarship program, and Brett Egusa, who chaired JAVA’s 2019 Veterans Day program.  

JAVA starts 2020 with several initiatives to serve our members and to build on the legacy that was forged by the valor and sacrifices made by the Nisei soldiers who served during World War II.   

JAVA’s Executive Council has approved amended by-laws that clarify the procedures as to how JAVA will be governed and managed going forward.  The membership will be asked at the annual JAVA meeting on January 25th to ratify the amended by-laws.  These amendments are important to strengthen JAVA transparency and accountability.  

JAVA will reinstitute its awards program to recognize and honor those who have made significant contributions in support of JAVA.  We will announce this year’s recipients shortly and the award presentations are planned to be made at the January 25th JAVA luncheon.

On July 15, 2020, JAVA will sponsor a Day of Affirmation at the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC.  This new commemoration is intended to be solely dedicated to honor the service of the Nisei soldiers who served during World War II, their fight against prejudice, and their legacy from which the Japanese American community continues to benefit.     

I am pleased that all of JAVA’s committees are up and running.  If you are interested in serving on a JAVA committee, please contact me, Neet Ford, or the committee chair: 

  • ·         Membership – Howard High
  • ·         Finance – Mark Nakagawa
  • ·         Nomination – Ken Washington
  • ·         Outreach – Cynthia Macri
  • ·         Communications – Jason Kuroiwa
  • ·         Awards – George Ishikata
  • ·         Scholarship – Chris DeRosa
  • ·         Freedom Walk – Marty Herbert
  • ·         Veterans Day Program – Ken Washington
  • ·         JAVA Luncheon -  Metta Tanikawa

I hope to see you at the January 25th Annual Membership Luncheon and the other JAVA events scheduled for 2020.

Gerald Yamada

President, JAVA


July 15 will forever commemorate the legacy created by Japanese Americans who served in the U.S. military during World War II.

JAVA will lay a wreath at the World War II National Memorial in Washington, D.C., on July 15 to honor all Japanese Americans who served during WWII. Photo: NPS.

Reprinted from the Pacific Citizen, November 8, 2019

By Gerald Yamada, JAVA President

The Executive Council of the Japanese American Veterans Assn. approved a proposal to designate July 15, starting in 2020, as a Day of Affirmation to commemorate the legacy created by the valor and sacrifices made by Japanese Americans who served in the U.S. military during World War II. I have long felt that the Japanese American community needed to have a special occasion to acknowledge what was accomplished by those who choose to put country first while their family and friends were imprisoned in America’s war relocation internment camps. July 15 was selected because on July 15, 1946, President Harry Truman received the returning 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team at the White House Ellipse at Noon in the rain. President Truman praised their battlefield accomplishments by saying, “You fought the enemy abroad, and you fought prejudice at home, and you won. Keep up that fight, and we will continue to win.” The president affirmed the decision made by the Japanese American soldiers to serve their country and fight for its ideals, as well as demonstrate loyalty as their way to combat the prejudice that they faced at home. The legacy of the Nisei soldiers must also be credited for making redress a reality. Being reminded of that legacy is what changed President Ronald Reagan’s decision not to veto, but to sign the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 (aka “redress legislation” or “HR 442”) into law. Just before President Reagan signed the redress legislation, he stated that “HR 442 was so fittingly named in honor of the 442nd (Regimental Combat Team).” When he signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, he stated, “Here we admit a wrong. Here we affirm our commitment as a Nation to equal justice under the law.” This affirmation is inscribed in the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism in World War II, located in Washington, D.C. JAVA wants the Day of Affirmation to be the opportunity for our community to remember and express our appreciation for how the legacy created by the Nisei soldiers has benefited and will continue to benefit our community’s efforts to fight prejudice and promote equal justice under the law. On July 15, 2020, JAVA is planning to lay a wreath at the World War II National Memorial in Washington, D.C., at Noon to honor all of the Japanese Americans who served during WWII. The memorial is located within sight of the White House Ellipse. The honor guard each year will consist of Japanese American veterans of WWII or lineal descendants or ancestors of Japanese Americans who served during WWII. JAVA will create on its website — https://java.wildapricot.org/ — a simple application process so that interested persons can volunteer to be considered to be part of the honor guard. On July 15, 2021, JAVA has reserved the National Museum of the United States Army for a gala event to honor the Nisei soldiers, in addition to the wreath-laying ceremony at the World War II National Memorial earlier that day. Tours of the museum will be a part of the evening event. A dinner committee is already being organized for this event. JAVA members and friends are asked to mark their calendars for these two events. For more information, contact javapotomac@gmail.com

Polish-Japanese 442nd Enactor in Foreign Films and Scenes

Hayato Kitabatake, Anzio, 2018 during Italian journey.  Photo: Kitabatake.

Hayato Kitabatake

Warsaw, Poland.  I was born in London, England in 1993 of Japanese father and Polish mother.  My family moved to Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan where I went to school. At age ten, my family moved to Poland where I attended public school.  When in Japan I was not accepted as Japanese and when in Poland I was not accepted as Polish. When I was 19 years old, my parents both died and I was left alone and confused.

My adventures with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team began in 2014 when a friend took me to France for the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of Bruyeres.  There I met with 442nd veteran Eddy Yamasaki and his tour group.  When they told me the story of Japanese Americans, I was very moved.  For this reason, the Japanese American personality has become a huge example for me.  Since then, I have been exploring the history of 442nd with great interest.

In December 2016, I flew from Warsaw to Honolulu where I spent two weeks.  The purpose of my trip was to attend a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  I also had the opportunity to visit the 442nd Veterans Club where I had the pleasure to meet 442nd veteran Robert Kishinami.   This meeting meant a lot to me because I was hearing the story from the man who created it.  After hearing his story, my goal was to visit Italy and trace the 100th Battalion combat route from Salerno to Rome.

I began my research and bought my flight ticket to Naples on May 1, 2018. I decided to walk the entire route which took three weeks.  I will not hide my fear because I was completely alone in an unknown country.  In addition, I slept under a tent.  At the beginning I was walking from Salerno to the city of Avellino, near Montemarano.  I walked along the Volturno River to Monte Cassino, Anzio, and to Rome.  While in Italy, I received the news that on July 14, 2019 (French Independence Day) a 442nd veteran, Lawson Sakai, was coming to France for the last time.

Upon my return to Poland, I began planning my visit to Bruyeres.  I was able to take three days off at work. I bought a flight ticket from Warsaw to Luxembourg, and from there I took a bus to the city of Bruyeres.   I spent the first night in a trench left by the Lost battalion.  Sleeping under a halftent, the night was cold and rainy.   In the morning Sakai and his group arrived for the ceremony at the Lost Battalion monument.  We walked a few hundred meters from the monument to the place where Sakai told us his story of the battle in which he was wounded. It was incredibly moving to be in the same place with a veteran who discussed his combat experiences. That day we traveled around Bruyeres and laid wreaths at all monuments.  I met many wonderful Japanese Americans.  Although I am not American, I felt very good participating in their company because we share Japanese blood. I plan to pursue my career of acting and feature in reenacting 442nd roles whenever I have the opportunity.   

[EDNote.  E-Advocate was introduced to Kitabatake by Robert Buker who has worked with the National Park Service in arranging WW II reenactments, including 442nd RCT.  Buker has also participated with a Japanese 442nd reenactment  group on the lower slopes of Mt Fuji in Japan.]  

Lawson Sakai, 442nd RCT, Featured on IHEART Radio

Food writer and podcast producer Jacqueline Raposo has released a new food podcast featuring Veterans called Service: Stories of Hunger and War.

"Co-produced by iHeartRadioService brings soldiers and civilians together at the table through the narratives of veterans and wartime volunteers sharing where they fought, who they fed, how they ate, and the meals they missed most while deployed far from home."

JAVA member and 442nd Veteran Lawson Sakai is  featured in the first segment of a two-part episode - "Dad, I Can't Talk About It" Part 1 - talking about combat and PTSD, in which Raposo references the 442nd's contributions. And then Lawson comes back in in the last segment - "Dad, I Can't Talk About It" Part 2 - when a younger veteran shares similar sentiments and we trace how things have/have not changed since Lawson's time.

Lawson's solo episode is slated to go up on January 13! Be sure to listen Service: Stories of Hunger and War!

New Members and Friends

September 1,  2019 - December 31, 2019

JAVA is truly appreciative of our members, family, and friends who continue to make a contribution to our community and Nisei legacy.


Rear Admiral David Boone, USN (Ret), War Veteran

CTI2 Armand Bowers, USN, War Veteran

IS3 Katherine Graham, USN, War Veteran

Jerry Kawaguchi Devantier, USN, War Veteran 

CAPT Eric Lee, USAF, Minnesota Air National Guard (Ret)

John Lennartz, USAF, War Veteran

Emmanuel Macute, USA, War Veteran

Maj Gen Todd McCubbin, USAF, War Veteran, Active Duty

Specialist/E4 Steven Morimoto, USA, War Veteran

LTG Michael Nagata, USA (Ret), War Veteran

Masashi Nakamura, USA (Ret), War Veteran 

CAPT Harvey Nakayama, USA (Ret), War Veteran

Lt Col Vincent Oda, USAF (Ret), War Veteran

Commander Shiho Rybski, USN, War Veteran

SGT Miles Samuels, USA (Ret), War Veteran

LtCol Sally Sato, USAF (Ret), War Veteran

RDML Andrew Sugimoto, USCG, War Veteran, Active Duty

Chief Master Sergeant Edward Wagner, USAF, War Veteran

Dr.  Henry Watanabe, USA, War Veteran

Maj Robert Yamazaki, USA (Ret), War Veteran

Friends Of JAVA

Summer Aoki

Susan Abe

Ann DuPuis

Samuel Gough

Kerry Nicholson

Jean Bennett Stratis


Kathleen Cruise, IMO COL Jimmie Kanaya Scholarship

Dawn Eilenberger, General JAVA Scholarship Fund

LTC Jason Kuroiwa, USA (Ret)

David and Taeko Lee

Frank Nishimura, IMO COL Jimmie Kanaya Scholarship

NJAMF, Veterans Day Program

Lester Sakamoto, IMO Sueo Sakamoto, 442nd RCT (Father) and JAVA

Van K. Shimizu, IMO Parents’ Service in WWII

Gerald and Nancy Yamada, Operations

Dr. Thomas and Catherine Yoshikawa, Research and Operations 


Jimmie Kanaya

October 3, 1910 - November 7, 2019

Jimmie Kanaya, Col. USA Ret, was a 99 year old, three war, decorated veteran who served 34 years in the Army.  While serving with the 442nd RCT he received a battlefield commission during the Italian Campaign and was captured in France and was a POW until the end of WWII.  His family was interned at Minidoka Relocation Center, Idaho until the end of the War. He received a Silver Star and a Bronze Star with Valor device and Two Oak Leaf Clusters. Later he received the Congressional Gold Medal as a member of the 442 Regimental Combat Team.

He served in Occupational Japan in the Military Intelligence service as a translator/interrogator at General Headquarters in Tokyo.  He was attached to ATTIS 8th Army (fwd.)  United Nations offensive and United Nations/Campaigns in Korea.  In July 1962, he was attached to the Medical Department Operations and Training Advisor to the Vietnamese Army Medical Branch, MAAG.  Jimmie retired in 1974 from his last position as Deputy Commandant, Medical Training Center Fort Sam Houston San Antonio, Texas. His service would pave the way for future generations of Japanese American serving in the Military. He will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.  He is survived by his wife, Lynn and brother Enoch.

 The family requests that in lieu of flowers, to kindly send donations to a scholarship set up at the Japanese American Veteran Association in honor of Col. Jimmie Kanaya. PO Box 341198; Bethesda, MD 20827. Donations may also be made to the Nisei Veterans Committee, 1212 S. King Street, Seattle, WA 98144.

Questions or Suggestions: Please contact Neet Ford, JAVA e-Advocate Editor, at javapotomac@gmail.com.

Japanese American Veterans Association:  Address: P.O. Box 341198, Bethesda, MD 20827 I https://java.wildapricot.org 

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