Japanese American Veterans Association


Vol. 4, No. 54, November 1, 2022

JAVA Fall Luncheon 

JAVA President Gerald Yamada presents Eric Federing, former Mineta press secretary with JAVA commemorative coin at the JAVA fall luncheon on October 22, 2022, Meiwah Restaurant, Chevy Chase, MD. Photo: Noriko Sanefuji.  

JAVA Research Team

With its waning opportunities for the sun's warmth, autumn offers a special poignancy, making JAVA's tribute to The Honorable Norman Y. Mineta at the Fall Luncheon on October 22nd particularly fitting. Almost forty members and friends gathered at Meiwah Restaurant in Chevy Chase, MD to hear Eric Federing, reflect on his 35-year relationship with the Honorable Norman Mineta in a talk titled The Legacy of Norm Mineta - a View from a Senior Staffer, Later Friend, Later Extended Family. 

The luncheon opened with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Vice President Howard High and was followed by President Gerald Yamada's welcome. In his remarks, Yamada emphasized that JAVA was especially grateful to Secretary Mineta who served as an Honorary JAVA Chair, for his unwavering support of the organization, noting Mineta "could always be counted on" and for his work on behalf of Japanese Americans. Former Executive Council Member, LTC Rod Azama, USA (Ret), recognized Mrs. Deni Mineta who with warm words and affection introduced guest speaker Eric Federing, Mineta's congressional communications director for much of a decade. 

Norm Mineta’s signature legacy is that he never forgot where he came from and the importance of people at the center of everything he did, in whatever role or office he held. He was Norm to all, save family members and Issei who would call him Norman.  Federing said that Mineta often reflected on his experience and the unexpected paths his fortunes often took.  Did Norm ever look back with amazement, Federing once asked him directly.  “All.  The. Time,” Mineta said.  For Federing, it was endless good fortune to work not for but with Norm, first as his personal Press Secretary and later as House Transportation Committee Communications Director. Federing later served on the transition team when Mineta was named Secretary of Commerce. During his congressional years, Federing was Mineta’s spokesperson to the news media and his speechwriter; speechwriting was his favorite role because he and Norm seemed to understand each other so well so naturally.  Coming from entirely different ethnicities, faiths, coasts didn’t matter.  To Mineta, diversities were "additives not liabilities" – and Federing’s colleagues in Norm’s congressional offices demonstrated that every day.  This was also true in Mineta’s interactions with all of his many constituencies, Federing said. Mineta genuinely "liked and understood people; he remembered people" from all walks of life, ancestries, and views. Mineta was "not afraid to make difficult decisions" even when, as in the case of voting for NAFTA, the decision hurt some of his constituents in the short term. He had the credibility to explain himself, be understood, and be trusted that he’d look for ways to help meaningfully, without equivocating or hairsplitting.  In his reflections at JAVA, Federing also touched upon Mineta’s work on Redress, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and while serving as Secretary of Transportation – such as grounding air traffic on 9/11. But Federing’s remarks at JAVA were not about policy or politics in the main; they were about Mineta’s more personal attributes, his focus on people.  Mineta had an "ethical moral center" and for Federing was a "model of what a public official should be.”

Federing joked that for him he "never stopped working for Norm; he just stopped getting paid."  Federing went on to describe how over time employment led to role-model mentorship, a deep friendship, and eventually a familial connection between him and his family and Norm and the Mineta family.  In his own lookback, stretching to 1987, Federing said he was "grateful" for his endless good fortunes that could be traced back to Norm, but stressed that everyone was fortunate to have Mineta in their lives whether you worked for him, worked with him, knew him personally, or none of the above.  Very simply, Federing said, Norm “helped to make things better" for everyone.

The lunch service which opened with a lovely blessing by longtime Friend of JAVA Mary Murakami closed with JAVA President Gerald Yamada's presentation of a JAVA commemorative coin to Mr. Federing and the singing of "America the Beautiful" led by CPT Wade Ishimoto, USA (Ret).

Note: In addition to the guest speaker, Lawrence Provost who is an Outreach Officer with the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration made a presentation on Veterans Burial and Memorial Benefits. If you would like more information, reach out to Mr. Provost at Lawrence.Provost@va.gov.

CPT Wade Ishimoto, USA (Ret), closing the JAVA fall luncheon with "America the Beautiful." Photo: Rod Azama.

JAVA Member Dr. Stanley Falk Discovered on Page 149 of Book Club Selection!

Image of Stanley Falk while serving in WWII. Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Stanley Falk. 

Neet Ford

What a thrill it was to come across a familiar name in my book club's October selection, Elizabeth Gray Vining's Windows for the Crown Prince, Akihito of Japan. Vining's account of her years tutoring the Crown Prince during the Occupation of Japan is historically interesting and her descriptions of the people and the geography are utterly winsome. When JAVA member Stanley Falk's name leaped off page 149, it made the book all the more a favorite. 

"On the other hand, there were many cases where the men were seriously trying to interpret democracy through friendship. Two twenty-year-old lieutenants, Stewart Shoyer and Stanley Falk, called on me one evening and told me with great enthusiasm about the class which they had in a Japanese Sunday School, and how they were trying to teach the boys to discuss controversial questions freely and disagree without heat. They had studied Japanese at the University of Michigan, and they were well fitted for this undertaking." (Windows for the Crown Prince, Akihito of Japan, Elizabeth Gray Vining, 1952, Charles E. Tuttle Co., pages 149-50.)

In an email exchange, Dr. Falk shared, "I remember our visit with Mrs. Vining very well.  She served us glasses of milk, at our request, because we'd only had powdered milk in our dining room.  A very nice lady.  Thanks for reminding me."

For anyone wishing to time travel, I highly recommend Windows for the Crown Prince, Akihito of Japan. Vining does not spare readers the destruction, devastation, and deprivation of the post-war years, but her lens is focused on the enduring beauty and resilience of the Japanese.  

Windows for the Crown Prince, Akihito of Japan by Elizabeth Gray Vining. Photo: Neet Ford.

Bio of Dr. Stanley Falk from JAVADC Website

Falk is former chief historian of the Air Force and a military historian specializing in World War II in the Pacific. He holds MA and PhD degrees in American history from Georgetown University. He is the author of five books on the war in the Pacific-Bataan: The March of Death (1962); Decision at Leyte (1966); Liberation ofthe Philippines (1971); Seventy Days to Singapore (1975); and Bloodiest Victory: Palaus (1974)-several textbooks on national security affairs, and numerous essays, articles, and reviews.

Entering the Army in April 1945, he studied Japanese in the MISLS program at the University of Michigan and Fort Snelling, where he was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in April 1946. He served two years in Japan (1946-1948), briefly in ATIS but mainly in the GHQ Historical Section, working primarily with Japanese former Army and Navy officers on the history of the Japanese side of the war. After separation from the Army in 1948, he retained his reserve commission, eventually retiring with the rank of colonel.

In civilian life, he had a long career as a military historian and national security affairs specialist with the U.S. government. In addition to his position as Air Force chief historian, he also worked in the Army and Joint Chiefs of Staff historical programs and was professor of international relations at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Since retirement, he has continued to write, lecture, and serve as a consultant. In 1990, he was the speaker at the Japanese American Citizens League Memorial Day service at Arlington National Cemetery.

He is a member of many professional and scholarly organizations, a founding director of the World War II Studies Association, a d a member of the Board of Directors fo the Japanese American Veterans' Association of Washington, D.C. Married to Lynn Lightman in 1956, the couple have two daughters, Lisa and Karen.

[Courtesy of the Japanese American Veterans' Association, MIS in the War Against Japan, Personal Experiences Related at the 1993 MIS Capital Reunion, "The Nisei Veteran:  An American Patriot", Edited by Stanley L. Falk and Warren Tsuneishi, 1995.]


CPT Wade Ishimoto, USA (Ret), Attends 2022 POW/MIA Recognition Day

L-R:  Wade Ishimoto, Retired Colonel Michael Brazelton, LTC Adriana Brazelton. U.S. Air Force Colonel Brazelton was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for over six years (1966-1973). His daughter, Adriana, currently serving Army officer in a Special Operations unit, has been mentored by Ishimoto. Photo: Courtesy of Wade Ishimoto.

Wade Ishimoto attended the POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremony held in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes on September 16, 2022. Ishimoto is the Acting Chair of the Joint Special Operations/Special Forces Associations POW/MIA Committee.  In attendance were a few former Prisoners of War, families of those still missing in action, and representatives from the embassies of other countries. Secretary Austin was the lead speaker. "Every year on National POW/MIA Recognition Day, we gathered to honor American service members who were taken captive to stand with the families of the missing and the unaccounted for and to renew our commitment to bring home our missing heroes," Austin said. The Chief of the National Guard Bureau, General Daniel Hokanson, also provided remarks.

JAVA Member Walter Jackson's Tsimshian Princess

JAVA member Walter Jackson rode his Tsimshian Princess in the Granite Falls, Washington Railroad Days parade, October 1, 2022. Photo: Courtesy of Walter Jackson.

With great pride, JAVA member Walter Jackson rode his motorcycle, the Tsimshian Princess, in the 2022 Granite Falls, Washington's Railroad Days parade. The third entry in the parade, right after the Boy Scouts carrying the flags, spectators were sure to notice the JAVA logo on the sidecar. Jackson, who served 20 years in the United States Air Force and whose bike is "dedicated to all who served" shared the origin of the sidecar's name:

"The sidecar was named The Tsimshian Princess in my wife Phyllis's honor. Bomber pilots used to name their planes after women. My wife is an Alaska native from the Tsimshian tribe from Metlakatla which is on Annette Island close to Ketchikan in Southeastern Alaska. She is considered royalty because her great-grandfather John Tait was the first mayor of Metlakatla. Her father Walter Wesley would have become chief of the Nisga Tsimshian band if he stayed in BC Canada and not migrated to the U.S. and taken on American citizenship. So in a way, Phyllis is a Tsimshian princess."

Jackson, a dedicated JAVA member, is working to spread the word about JAVA in his neck of the woods both on and off his bike!

"Dedicated to all who served," the backview of the Tsimshina Princess. Photo: Courtesy of Walter Jackson.

Jimmy Doi’s remarkable life: Prisoner to patriot

WWII comrades ‘wanted to prove what good Americans they were.’

Jimmy Doi. Photo: Courtesy of Jimmy Doi. 

Reprinted with Permission from the Atlantic Journal-Constitution

By Bo Emerson - william.emerson@ajc.com


Jimmy Doi was just about to tear into a rack of ribs at the Hickory House when a middle-aged couple from Tucker approached his table.

They eyed his shirt, bearing the handand-torch insignia of the 100th Infantry Battalion and the legend “70th Anniversary Tour of Italy.”

“I just want to thank you for your service,” the man said. “My father also served in Italy.”

Doi graciously accepted their thanks, then, with an appetite unusual for a man of 97, returned to his ribs and Brunswick stew.

When he stops in at Hickory House or Sushi Avenue or McDonald’s or KFC, Doi is often thanked, especially when he wears his World War II veterans gear.

Other patrons at these restaurants sometimes pay his bill before he can pull out his wallet. 

But nobody was thanking Doi back in 1942, when the U.S. government began putting 120,000 Japanese Americans into internment camps. The teenaged Doi was sent to the Gila River War Relocation Center in Arizona, where temperatures regularly topped 115 degrees.

The historic arc that took skinny Jimmy Doi from being a prison camp detainee to becoming a member of the highly-decorated 442nd Regimental Combat Team, cheating death all along the way, is truly cinematic.

In fact, a pair of composers, Roydon Tse and Marcus Yi, turned that story into a short opera, “Shikata Ga Nai,” commissioned and performed by the Atlanta Opera this summer during the company’s 96-hour Opera project.

“Shikata ga nai,” literally “it cannot be helped,” is an unwritten Japanese philosophy and a national attitude that says, essentially, “Suck it up.” If a problem can’t be solved, soldier on, and do what can be done.

Jimmy Doi did just that. He persevered through significant difficulties and made his way to Georgia working as a chick sexer (more on that later). He and his wife, Alice, celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary this year. They have three successful children, a handful of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, a house in Decatur and a coffee table full of military medals.

Last month, Doi was presented with the Legion of Honor by the nation of France during a ceremony in Las Vegas. Doi celebrated by sneaking out of his hotel room at 2 in the morning and winning $1,000 on a poker machine.

Roydon Tse, the composer of the opera, said he was inspired by Doi’s preternatural poise. During their interviews, Doi essentially said, “I came through the worst time in history, but it’s fine.”


Doi’s saga begins with rebellion. His parents, from Hiroshima, rejected an arranged marriage that would have paired his mother with another groom.

They crept away from the planned ceremony, hid in a shack until nightfall, made their way to Yokohama, then boarded what they thought was a ship to America.

Instead, it took them to a forced labor camp in Veracruz, Mexico. They escaped, again, walked (according to Jimmy) to El Paso, then to Oxnard, California, where they had friends.

His parents had five children, did well in farming produce, and in 1939 decided to move back to Hiroshima. Jimmy and his brothers stayed behind.

“We couldn’t speak Japanese,” he told oral historians at Kennesaw State University. “We were Americans.”

Jimmy Doi, 97, shows off his Legion of Honor medal at his home in Decatur. Doi was one of thousands of Japanese Americans placed in internment camps by the U.S. government during the early days of World War II. Later, he was drafted into the Army and became part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, considered the most decorated unit in U.S. military history. Photo: Bob Andres for the AJC.


After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Japanese Americans were isolated. Jimmy ate lunch by himself every day at school.

“They told the other kids not to talk to us,” he said.

Then, in 1942, he and his brother Dick were sent to the Tulare Assembly Center in the San Joaquin Valley, where interns were housed in horse stalls. “We were lucky to get a mattress,” he said.

“Some people had to stuff hay inside a sack.”

From there, they were transferred to the Gila River Relocation Center, which was located on Indian reservation land about 30 miles southeast of Phoenix.

About 13,000 Japanese Americans were imprisoned in Gila. Detainees would dig holes in the dirt under the barracks and brush away the scorpions and rattlesnakes to hunker down and avoid the midday heat.

Doi worked in the kitchen, washing dishes six days a week for $8 a month, and played shortstop and second base on the high school baseball team. His team was “awful,” he said, but they had fun playing against “Caucasian” teams in the area.

The highlight of those bus trips was when they’d stop at Sears Roebuck and he’d buy Glenn Miller records and a Coca-Cola.
At age 18, he was drafted.

The Army

Training at Camp Blanding, near Starke, Florida, Doi waded through snake-infested swamps. He became part of the 442nd, which was made up almost entirely of Japanese Americans and became known as the most decorated unit in U.S. military history, for its size and length of service.

The 442nd played a significant role in breaking through the Gothic Line in northern Italy; Doi’s brother Michael was part of Company A, which participated in the legendary rescue of the Texas Battalion in October 1944, taking heavy casualties.

“They wanted to prove what good Americans they were,” said Michael’s daughter, Janice “Sam” Sears, who lives in Cumming. “They loved their country.”

Jimmy Doi was stationed in France by that time, and heard, inaccurately, that his brother was among the casualties. Hitchhiking to Nice, he was lounging outside a perfume shop when he saw a familiar figure coming down the street toward him. It was Michael.

“Hey, I thought you were dead!” he told his brother.

“Hey!” said Michael. “Can you loan me some money?”

Among his exploits with G Company, Jimmy Doi accepted the surrender of a group of German soldiers holed up in a Roman-era fort in the mountains of northern Italy.

He also helped evacuate a wounded soldier off a snowy peak in those same mountains, carrying him down on a stretcher at night, while the enemy tracked their flashlight and fired artillery shells.

“He did help save a man’s life,” said Chris Sketchley, who created a museum dedicated to the 442nd in Seattle.

“I really admire these guys.”

Alice and Jimmy Doi grew up in California, where their parents became friends. They were held in different internment camps and married in 1952. Photo: Courtesy of Jimmy Doi. 

Postwar years

After his tour was up, Doi reenlisted, hoping to be sent to Japan to check on his parents, whom he hadn’t heard from in six years. He made his way to Kaita, in the Hiroshima prefecture, and saw his father raking the yard.

“Hi, Pop!” he called out, and his father rushed to embrace him, something that he had rarely done before. Both parents and his grandmother had survived the atomic bomb; his grandmother was outside the house at the time of the explosion, and her umbrella burst into flames, but she was unhurt.

Back in the U.S., Doi met and married Alice (their fathers were friends) and found work as a chick sexer, determining whether newborn chicks were male or female.

He could make that distinction fast, sexing up to 1,200 chicks an hour, or two every second. The work brought him to Georgia, and he and Alice built a house in a new subdivision off Rainbow Drive.

The 442nd staged reunions in Las Vegas and Hawaii almost every year, and it was Doi’s greatest joy to attend and see his Army buddies, who like him had survived imprisonment, war and discrimination and found success.

In 2010, the group gathered in Washington, D.C., to receive the Congressional Gold Medal, and Jimmy attended with his brother Michael. Michael died in 2014. Now Jimmy is the only sibling left, and among the few left of the 442nd.

“He was one of the young ones,” Sketchley said of Doi.

“Now there are only a handful.”

To access the article online click on this link: https://epaper.ajc.com/popovers/dynamic_article_popover.aspx?guid=1ac4d9e4-d49e-40ce-abc4-f8b3329a9148&pbid=8e0858ee-1443-484d-9e94-f8b8a1eaaaff&utm_source=app.pagesuite&utm_medium=app-interaction&utm_campaign=pagesuite-epaper-html5_share-article

[EdNote: Jimmy Doi is a JAVA member and his sister-in-law, Dr. Sue Okubo, was very active in JAVA before moving to North Carolina. We would also like to mention and thank JAVA member and historian Jeff Morita who assisted with the completion and submission of paperwork for Mr. Doi to be considered for the French Légion d'Honneur. Finally, many thanks to Executive Council member Bob Vokac for passing along this article.]

JAVA Annual Fundraiser

The Japanese American Veterans Association has just launched its 2022 Fundraiser.  As you may know, JAVA still assesses no membership dues.  JAVA funds its programs and operations from investment revenue and donations -- 100% of all donations will be used to support JAVA programs.

In 2022, our programs continued to recognize the contributions made by all who have or are serving in the U.S. armed forces; to honor the legacy forged by the valor and patriotism of Japanese American men and women who served in the United States military during World War II; to advocate in support of all American veterans, and, to improve our operations

Thank you!

Ways You Can Donate

  1. Click the donate button below.
  2. JAVA website at https://java-us.org and clicking on the “Donate to JAVA” tab. 
Check made payable to “JAVA,” send to JAVA, P.O. Box 341198, Bethesda, MD 20827.  Please write “donation” and the name of the program on the memo line. 

Join Us Virtually for JAVA's Annual Veterans Day Program

Friday, November 11, 2022

2 pm EST/ 1 pm CST/ 11 am PST/ 9 am HST 

Keynote Speaker

 U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Monica C. Williams

National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism in WWII, Washington, DC.

2021 Veterans Day Program, National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism in WWII. L-R: LTC Mark Nakagawa, USA (Ret) and COL Danielle Ngo, USA. Photo: Nicole Yamada.

The Veterans Day Program is co-sponsored by the Japanese American Veterans Association and the National Japanese American Memorial Foundations (NJAMF) and will be livestreamed via Facebook. Viewers can go to the JAVA website at JAVA-US.org and watch from JAVA’s Facebook page. Members, friends, and interested persons can watch the program online or attend in person 

JAVA’s Veterans Day Program has been selected by the Veterans Day National Committee, which is a part of the Department of Veterans Affairs, as one of the “Veterans Day observances throughout the country that represents a fitting tribute to America’s heroes.”  

LTC Monica C. Williams

LTC Williams received her commission into the Chemical Corps and branched detailed Military Intelligence.  LTC Williams was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  She served as the Division Support Command Chemical Officer. She transitioned to the 313th Military Intelligence Battalion to serve as the Intelligence and Surveillance Platoon Leader, 2nd Brigade Combat Team’s Counter Intelligence, Human Intelligence, and ground surveillance support.  While assigned to Fort Bragg, she deployed twice to Iraq to support Operation Iraqi Freedom and also supported Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana.  

She was then assigned to the 513th Intelligence Brigade, Fort Gordon, Georgia, as the Signals Intelligence Officer supporting Third Army Central Command, providing analysis, production reporting, and direct overwatch.  She served as the Alpha Company commander, 297th Military Intelligence Battalion, providing strategic and operational level all-source intelligence.  While assigned to Fort Gordon, she deployed to Afghanistan and Kuwait to support Operation Enduring Freedom. LTC Williams then moved on to a special operations assignment, serving as a mission commander, troop Commander, Task Force Operations officer, group executive officer, and battalion commander. She is currently serving in U.S. Special Operations Command’s Legislative Affairs as a Legislative Liaison. 

LTC Williams’ graduate of the Chemical Officers Basic Course, Military Intelligence Advanced Course, and Signals Intelligence Course. She also attended the U.S Army Jumpmaster School, Military Freefall School, and Air Assault School. She holds a bachelor’s in computer information science from Mary Baldwin College, a master’s in National Security and Strategic Studies from the US Naval War College, and a master’s in Data Analytics and Policy from Johns Hopkins University.  

Perfect for Thanksgiving! 

Book Review of  Lauren Harris'

A Place for Harvest,

The Story of Kenny Higashi

A Place for Harvest, The Story of Kenny Higashi by Lauren R. Harris, Illustrated by Felicia Hoshino.

JAVA Research Team

While Lauren Harris' new children's book is not filled with images of turkeys or pilgrims, it is the perfect book for this season of thanksgiving. Gratitude for the bounty of the land, the satisfaction of hard work, and the love of family and friends laces every page, and readers cannot help but be reminded to count their blessings. Ms. Hoshino's lovely illustrations only add to the bounty as they conjure up a simpler time, devoid of distracting devices and instead focused on the business of life and relationships. 

Like her first children's book, The Plum Neighbor, Harris' new book, A Place for Harvest, introduces children to the Japanese American Nisei experience, this time in the real-life story of Kenny HigashiReaders will delight in what seems like the best place in the world to grow up - Spearhead, South Dakota, where Kenny Higashi was born and raised on a farm. From childhood on, Kenny is eager to pitch in to help his Issei parents with farm chores, household work, and errands all the while exploring and relishing the outdoors. The Spearhead community is idyllic with storekeepers and neighbors quick to lend a hand and support each other. Yet also in the prose and images of A Place for Harvest, readers become acquainted with the shock, pain, and struggle that accompanies all lives but particularly the Japanese Americans during World War II. The death of Mr. Higashi, Kenny's father, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the issuance of Executive Order 9066, and Kenny's military service in the 442nd all usher in unexpected hardship and sorrows. For those young students of history excited by the idea that Harris' picture book is based on "real life," she includes photographs of the Higashi family and information on the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team. 

A Place for Harvest, The Story of Kenny Higashi by Lauren R. Harris, Illustrated by Felicia Hoshino is available on Amazon or can be purchased through the South Dakota Historical Society Press, https://www.sdhspress.com/books/a-place-for-harvest Please go to Lauren's website www.LaurenRHarris.com for more information about the story.

To read an earlier review of Harris' book The Plum Neighbor visit the JAVA website at https://java-us.org/JAVA-News/8545193.

Hood River’s Veterans Day Program

A Tribute to Oregon Nisei Veterans is Theme for HR Veterans Day Ceremony

Mike Allegre, Major (Ret), Air National Guard, media liaison and advocate for retired veterans.

HOOD RIVER - A tribute of respect to honor all Japanese American (Nisei) veterans statewide and to make amends and reconcile past actions will be the theme for the annual Veterans Day ceremony at Anderson Tribute Center in Hood River on Friday, Nov. 11 at 11:00 a.m.

Hood River American Legion Post 22 Commander Carl Casey will address past discrimination, which resulted in removing the names of 16 local Nisei veterans from an honor roll of 1,600 on the county courthouse during World War II. 

Gary Akiyama, the son of World War II Nisei combat veteran, the late-George Akiyama of Hood River, will share his dad’s military history and discuss prejudices and discriminations he incurred. 

Casey, an Army veteran, said this will be a time for Post 22 to acknowledge their past role, apologize for their actions and tell of their “desire to be leaders in establishing recognition and acceptance of all veterans and all people in Hood River, regardless of color or nationality, by presenting a new Post Resolutions rescinding past wrongs and promising a united future.

“We invite all Nisei veterans, their families and certainly the community to attend.”

Author and professor emeritus Dr. Linda Tamura will also speak and participate in the ceremony.  She is the daughter of a Nisei soldier, the late-Harry Tamura.  Retired Navy Reserve Commander Nick Kirby will share an inspirational veteran’s story. Hood River Valley high school student Melanie Glatter will also share some comments.

Post 22 was at the center of national news in 1943-45 after several incidents of discrimination occurred. On the evening of Nov. 29, 1944, members of Post 22 performed what they later described as a patriotic act.  They went to the county courthouse and blacked out 16 men’s names on the plaques honoring local servicemembers. All 16 men of Japanese descent were still overseas fighting for the United States.

During the racist paranoia that followed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government had already ordered that some 120,000 Japanese Americans be “removed” from their homes on the Pacific Coast to internment camps in the Interior West.  In Hood River, hundreds of families had been forced to abruptly sell or lease their land and belongings, and board a train bound for the camps, not knowing when or if they would return.

“It’s past time for our Japanese friends and neighbors to hear from Post 22 and others as we express regret and apologize for the past at home and abroad. We honor all veterans and salute, in particular, the brave military service of Nisei during World War II who fought two wars at home and abroad,” Casey added.

For more information contact:  Carl Casey, at 541-490-6673 or Gary Akiyama, at 503-504-7462.

Nisei Legacy Will Pass to Younger Generations at Tribute

The Honor Guard of the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Infantry Regiment presented colors at the 2019 Nisei Veterans Memorial Service. Photo: Courtesy of Nisei Veterans Legacy. 

Reprinted with Permission from Star-Advertiser

September 19, 2022

Lindsay Dower

This year’s Nisei Veterans Legacy Seventeenth Annual Nisei Soldiers Memorial Service on Sunday will be largely youth-focused, with youth guest speakers and a large JROTC presence as the nisei legacy is passed on to younger generations.

“We know that the legacy of the nisei soldiers can only be carried forth if the younger people embrace the story,” said Lynn Heirakuji, president of the Nisei Veterans Legacy, which will host the service at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl. “But also, the story has relevance. … There’s still many issues in this country today dealing with discrimination and social injustice,” she said.

When the U.S. declared war on Japan following the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, the animosity toward Japanese Americans grew significantly.

“The country rejected them,” Heirakuji said. “Yet many of these young men and women, like my father, stepped forward to volunteer, to serve, to choose their loyalty.”

The service will honor nisei soldiers who served in World War II, particularly the men and women of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 100th Infantry Battalion, Military Intelligence Service and 1399 Engineer Construction Battalion. Today the 442nd Regimental Combat team is still considered the most highly decorated unit in U.S. military history for its size and length of service.

To Heirakuji, whose father served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the nisei soldier’s heroism continued even after returning home from war.

After having shed blood on the battlefield, the nisei believed they no longer deserved to be treated as second-class citizens, Heirakuji said. So alongside other ethnic minorities, the nisei continued to challenge the remaining discrimination aimed at them after the war.

“They helped to change Hawaii into a more democratic society, into a more open society for everyone,” Heirakuji said.

Brendan Burns, principal of ‘Aina Haina Elementary School, whose grandfather was the late former governor John E. Burns, will be the event’s keynote speaker. The event will also include as guest speakers three youth journalists who worked with the Nisei Veterans Legacy and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser earlier this year to report on the experiences of three nisei veterans, two of whom have died since their stories were published, Heirakuji said.

JROTC from Punahou, McKinley, Farrington and Roosevelt high schools will attend, along with youth cadets from the Hawaii Youth Challenge Academy.

Recent Nisei memorial services have brought some sadness as the number of surviving veterans wanes, Heirakuji said. The last in-person service held in 2019 had 16 veterans in attendance, while only three have confirmed their attendance for this year’s service.

However, Heirakuji said she hopes that the nisei’s accomplishments will be honored for years to come.

“We recognize their bravery, the values they held that compelled them to do what they did at great cost to themselves,” Heirakuji said. “It’s important for us to remember and to honor that legacy, and to remember that it’s still relevant for today’s youth.”

Linsey Dower covers ethnic and cultural affairs and is a corps member of Report for America, a national serv­ice organization that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under­covered issues and communities.

[EdNote: Much thanks to JAVA member Wade Ishimoto for recommending this article and to the Star-Advertiser for permission to reprint.] 

We know that the legacy of the nisei soldiers can only be carried forth if the younger people embrace the story. But also, the story (still) has relevance.” Lynn Heirakuji, President, Nisei Veterans Legacy. Photo: Courtesy Star-Advertiser.

Save the Date

November 11, 2022 - Veterans Day Program at 2:00 pm. The keynote speaker will be U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Monica C. Williams. National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism in WWII, Washington, DC. 

November 11, 2022 - Spark M. Matsunaga Elementary School, Veterans Day Concert, 7:00 pm, Northwest High School, 13501 Richter Farm Road, Germantown, MD. 

February 4, 2023 - Virtual General Membership Meeting. More information to follow. 


Dr. Franklin Odo

Franklin Odo was a recipient of the President’s Award from the Japanese American Citizens League. He also garnered awards from the Organization of Chinese Americans and the Association for Asian American Studies, Photo: Hawaii State Teachers Association. 

Franklin Odo, renowned Japanese American scholar, historian and activist dies at 83

Franklin Odo, a third- generation Japanese American, renowned scholar, historian, activist and pioneer of Asian American studies, died Sept. 28.

Odo, 83, was the first Kaimuki High School graduate to attend Princeton University and made significant contributions to the fields of Asian American and ethnic studies throughout the country. He also received both the President’s Award of the Japanese American Citizens League and an award from the Organization of Chinese Americans in 2008, and the Association for Asian American Studies Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.

Odo was born May 6, 1939, in Honolulu — the oldest sibling among his two sisters and brother. His parents owned a general store during the Depression. But when World War II ended, his parents decided to become farmers, according to Odo’s son, Jonathan.

Odo spent much of his youth farming and taking care of his younger siblings, whom he often cooked for. He enjoyed sports and was particularly proud of having been an Eagle Scout, Jonathan Odo said.

After graduating from Kaimuki High School, Odo completed his bachelor’s degree in Asian studies before going on to Harvard to complete his master’s degree in East Asian regional studies. He then returned to Princeton to complete his doctoral degree in Japanese history.

In his early career Odo taught at a handful of colleges in Los Angeles while advocating for the creation of more Asian American studies and ethnic studies programs and departments. He moved back to Oahu when the University of Hawaii at Manoa established its ethnic studies program in 1978, when Odo took on the role as the program’s first permanent director.

From there, Odo served two years as president of the Association for Asian American Studies and was a board member and then chair of the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts for several years. In the 1990s he also held visiting professorships at the University of Pennsylvania, Hunter College, Columbia University and Princeton University.

From 1997 to 2010, Odo served as founding director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program in Washington, D.C., and became the first Asian Pacific American curator at the National Museum of American History. He also spent a year as interim chief of the Asian Division at the Library of Congress before resuming teaching at Amherst College.

From 2015 until his death, Odo taught at Amherst College, where he worked with students and colleagues to more than double the number of professors and courses offering Asian Pacific American studies. Amherst College’s recently formed Asian American Alumni Fellowship Network has since announced a senior thesis prize in Odo’s name.

Those who knew Odo say that his advocacy and mentorship are huge parts of his legacy.

“He liked to share what he knew and help other people learn things,” said his good friend Chris Conybeare. “Even though he could be very firm as an activist or an advocate, it never came across as arrogance. … He was firm about it, but he was welcoming to you and your ideas.”

“He was very instrumental in communicating to the rest of the world Hawaii’s history and culture, the diversity of people — Native Hawaiians, Asian Americans from Japan, China, Korea, South Vietnam and across the Pacific,” Kato said. “He had a great appreciation of what the diverse cultures of Hawaii were all about.”

Conybeare and Odo became fast friends after working together on a documentary for a television program that Conybeare oversaw called “Rice and Roses.”

“He could transmit this enthusiasm about appreciating hidden history and how you could find it from talking to the people themselves,” Conybeare said. “He helped me learn to appreciate Hawaii’s history and culture, as well as the history and culture of Asian Americans.”

Being a good father was also an important aspect of Odo’s life, Jonathan Odo said. He remembers his father as kind, nurturing, instructive, hardworking and always encouraging his children to think critically on matters.

“It was natural for him to think about trying to connect and interact with people in a way that they really understood,” his son said.

In the months leading up to Odo’s death, the impacts that he had became apparent through the community’s outreach to his family, said his son.

“He really wanted to change the world for the better,” Jonathan Odo said. “That’s a life well lived when you were able to have such a wonderful and profound impact on so many people. And I know that’s something that he really was proud of as well.”

Franklin Odo is survived by wife Enid, with whom he had just celebrated 59 years of marriage; sons David and Jonathan; daughter Rachel; brother Alan; and four grandchildren.

The family is scheduled to hold a private memorial serv­ice and asks that in lieu of flowers, people consider donating to the University of Hawaii Foundation’s Franklin S. Odo Fund to continue his legacy there.


[EdNote: Dr. Franklin Odo was a Friend of JAVA and we send our deepest condolences to his family and friends. We also very much appreciate the Star-Advertiser's permission to reprint their tribute to Mr. Odo.] 


Edward Yoshio Ikuma

February 1, 1919, to August 21, 2022

A Historical Passing of the Last Known Surviving World War II 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate) Nisei Military Veteran

Edward Yoshio Ikuma. Photo: Courtesy Ikuma Family. 

Edward Yoshio Ikuma.  Photo: Courtesy Ikuma Family. 

February 1, 1919 to August 21, 2022

Jeffrey H. Morita

Mr. Edward Yoshio Ikuma was born on February 1, 1919, in Honolulu, (then) Territory of Hawaii.  Born to Yorio and Yoshiko (Tamura) Ikuma, he was a 2nd Generation American of Japanese Ancestry or “Nisei.” 

Time jump to August 28, 1940.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill to mobilize the National Guard of the United States and other reserve components for a period of one year.  On September 16, 1940, President Roosevelt and the U.S. Congress instituted the “Selective Training and Service Act of 1940”, the first peacetime military draft.  This new law contained a military draft provision applying to all males, and regardless of race.  On October 15, 1940, the Hawai’i National Guard units of the 298th and 299th Infantry Regiments were federalized and called to active duty.  (Note:  The 298th IR was based on Oahu, and the 299th IR consisted of military members from the outer Hawaiian islands).  

On October 26, 1940, at age 21, and as a dutiful U.S. citizen, Ikuma registered for the military draft.  At the time, he was employed by the Aruda Electric Company as an electrician.  On March 25, 1941, Ikuma was drafted into the U.S. Army and assigned to the 298th IR at Schofield Barracks.  On December 7, 1941, Ikuma was on a weekend pass and at home when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.  Ikuma's father told him “now you must do your duty and do your best for your country”.  Ikuma immediately reported back to his unit for duty.  For the next three days, Ikuma and his brothers-in-arms dug defensive trenches throughout the camp area.  Ironically, although U.S. citizens and only because of their Japanese ethnicity their weapons and ammunition were confiscated.  In the following six months, Ikuma and members of the 298th Infantry Regiment were stationed along the windward shores of O'ahu, between Mokapu'u Point and Kualoa.  Duties entailed stringing barbed wire, constructing machine gun emplacements, patrolling beaches, and building defensive dugouts.  On May 26, 1942, Ikuma and the 298th Infantry Regiment were relieved from the Kaneohe Bay Area and placed in reserve status back at Schofield Barracks.

June 1942, saw the formation of the Hawai’i Provisional Infantry Battalion, composed of Ikuma along with 1,405 American of Japanese Ancestry military members — 798 from the 298th Infantry Regiment, and 608 from the 299th Infantry Regiment.  Without fanfare, all were secretly placed onboard the S.S. Maui a commercial passenger ship converted to a troop carrier, and shipped to Oakland, California.  On June 12, 1942, the 100th Infantry Battalion (IB) (Separate) (S) was officially activated at Oakland.  The new combat unit was further transported by train across the U.S. mainland to Camp McCoy, Wisconsin.  Initially, an oversized infantry battalion, the 100th IB(S) consisted of Headquarters, A “Able”, B “Baker”, C “Charlie”, D “Dog”, E “Easy”, F “Fox” Companies, and combat support.  The Hawai’i-Nisei Battalion underwent additional infantry combat training and maneuvers.  Unit historical documentation lists (then) Private Ikuma assigned to the Communications Platoon, Headquarters Company, 100th IB(S).  In tandem as an infantry rifleman and Ikuma’s electrical background, primary duties entailed coding and decoding messages, sent or received by radio and wire-telephone.  By World War II’s end, Ikuma was the Battalion’s “Message Center Chief”, and responsibilities placed Ikuma in the forward Battalion command post, alongside the attacking line infantry assault companies.

On August 20, 1943, the 100th IB(S) received their embarkation orders.  Ikuma and the 100th IB(S) moved by train to Brooklyn, ferried over to Staten Island, and boarded the S.S. James Parker a banana and tourist ship converted into a troop ship for the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO).  On September 2, 1943, Ikuma and the 100th IB(S) landed at Oran, Algeria (North Africa) and attached to the 133rd IR, 34th “Red Bull” Infantry Division (ID).  On September 22, 1943, the 100th IB(S) landed on the beaches of Salerno, Italy, and entered combat on September 27th (Naples-Foggia Campaign).  The 100th IB(S) fought with determination and took heavy casualties.  In January 1944, Ikuma and the 100th IB(S) valiantly fought at Belvedere and Monte Cassino and became known as the “Purple Heart Battalion” for its’ high number of combat casualties.  In May and June 1944, the 100th IB(S) played a significant role in the break out from Anzio and pushed the German military north of Rome (Rome-Anzio Campaign).  For its actions during 26 and 27 June 1944, Ikuma and the 100th IB(S) were awarded its’ first of three Distinguished Unit Citations (DUC), “cited for outstanding performance of duty in action on 26 and 27 June 1944, in the vicinity of Belvedere and Sassetta, Italy” (War Department [WD] General Orders [GO] No. 66, 15 August 1944).  The DUC is now known as the Presidential Unit Citation (PUC).  Additionally, for the “French Expeditionary Corps in Italy - Campaign from December 1943 to July 1944”, on June 21, 1945 Charles de Gaulle, (then) President of the Provisional Government of the French Government and Chief of the Armed Forces decorated the 34th ID with the French Croix de Guerre avec palme (Cross of War with palm).

On 10 August 1944, the 100th IB(S) was formally attached to the Nisei 442nd Infantry Regiment (AKA:  Regimental Combat Team [RCT]).  In essence the 100th IB(S) became the 442nd’s 1st Battalion, however, retained its’ original numerical ‘100’ designation, a distinct honor for its’ stellar combat record.  In September 1944 the 100th/442nd was secretly moved from Italy and reassigned to the U.S. Seventh Army for the invasion of Southern and Eastern France.  The 100th/442nd was attached to the 36th “Lone Star” or “Texas” ID for the drive into and through the dense French Vosges Mountains (Rhineland-Vosges Campaign).  During four weeks of October-November 1944, Ikuma and the 100th/442nd liberated heavily defended German areas in the mountainous Vosges, a key railroad and communications hub blocking and leading to the French-German border.  In late October, although physically and mentally fatigued from weeks on end of heavy combat, Ikuma and the 100th/442nd were called upon for the epic rescue of the lost ‘Texas’ battalion (1st Battalion, 141st IR, 36th ID).  The 1st Battalion had overextended itself, cut off and surrounded by an overwhelming German military.  For rescuing 211 brothers-in-arms, Ikuma and the 100th IB(S) received its' second DUC, “cited for outstanding accomplishment in combat during the period of 15 to 30 October 1944, near Bruyeres, Biffontaine, and in the Foret Domaniale de Champ, France” (WD GO No. 78, 12 September 1945).  The combat action is listed as one of the top 10 battles in U.S. Army history.  In less than a month, the 100th/442nd sustained over 300 casualties and was no longer a combat effective Infantry Regiment.  Of note, due to the combat tenacity of the 100th/442nd, Adolph Hitler and the German Military High Command placed much emphasis on tracking the location of the 100th/442nd.

In November 1944, Ikuma and the 100th/442nd received secret military movement orders for Southern France (Rhineland-Maritime Alps Campaign).  From November 21, 1944, to March 17, 1945, and as replacements arrived, the 100th/442nd protected key areas in Southern France.  Primary mission, to protect the right flank of the Sixth Army Group along the France-Italy border, and included the strategic pass at Col de Braus running between the two countries.  In late March 1945, the 100th/442nd regained its’ personnel complement and returned to a fully combat effective IR.  After much lobbying, Lieutenant General Mark Wayne Clark, Commanding General,15th Army Corps, successfully returned the 100th/442nd to his command.  The 100th/442nd was secretly returned to Italy and attached to the 92nd “Buffalo Soldiers” ID, an African-American military unit (Northern Apennines and Po Valley Campaign).  For five previous months, the Allied military forces were stalemated and the 100th/442nd played a significant and successful role to break through the German Gothic Line, and continue into the vast Po Valley.  For this, Ikuma and the 100th IB were decorated with its’ third PUC, “For outstanding accomplishment in combat for the period of 5 to 14 April 1945 in the vicinity of Serraveza, Carrara, and Fosdinovo, Italy” (WD GO No. 34, 10 April 1946, as amended by WD GO 106, 20 September 1946).  World War II in Europe (VE-Day) ended on May 8, 1945.  On October 18, 1945, the Italian Prince of Piedmont, Umberto Nicola Tommaso Giovanni Maria di Savoia (Umberto II) and the last King of Italy, under Decree No. 1729, personally decorated the 92nd ID with the Italian Croce al Merit di Guerra (The Cross For Merit of War).

As an ‘original’ member of the 100th IB(S), now Sergeant Ikuma had accumulated enough “Adjusted Service Rating Score” or ‘points’ to return to the U.S.  On October 20, 1945, Sergeant Ikuma was honorably discharged at Schofield Barracks, ToH.  On August 15, 1946 the 100th/442d was demobilized and inactivated in Honolulu.  By VE-Day, Ikuma had served in the Central Pacific — Naples-Foggia — Rome Arno — Rhineland-Vosges and Maritime Alps — Northern Apennines — and Po Valley Campaigns.  For his honorable service, awarded the Bronze Star Medal (BSM) for meritorious service in combat in Italy (GO 22, Hq 92d Inf Div 45), and a BSM for World War II service — Purple Heart Medal for combat wounds sustained on April 13, 1945, in Italy (GO 29, Hq 442d Inf Regt 45) — Army Good Conduct Medal (GO No. 6, Hq, 133rd Inf Regt 43) — American Defense Service Medal — American Campaign Medal — Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal — European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one (1) silver and one (1) bronze battle/campaign/service star — World War II Victory Medal — Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) — Marksman Badge with Rifle and Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) bars — Distinguished Unit Badge/Citation (now known as the Presidential Unit Citation) (GO 121, Hq Fifth Army 44) and three (bronze oak leaf clusters) — Honorable Service Lapel Button-World War II.  

After World War II, Mr. Ikuma was an avid participant and supporter of the 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans Organization (Honolulu), more popularly known as “Club 100”.  In January 1946, Mr. Ikuma married the former Hazel Sakae Maeda.  Mr. Ikuma was employed at Fort Shafter as an electrician, and later as an electrical engineering technician by the Army Corps of Engineers, Far East Division until his final retirement in 1971.  In 2009, Hazel preceded him in death.

On July 2, 2014, in Honolulu Harbor aboard the visiting French floréal-class frigate FS Prairial, Rear Admiral Anne Cullere, then Commander in Chief of French Forces in the Pacific decorated Mr. Ikuma with the Republic of France’s highest honor, the French Légion d’honneur.  In 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte established the Légion d’honneur, and is the highest French order of merit, both military and civil. 

On August 21, 2022, Mr. Edward Yoshio Ikuma passed away at the age of 103. He along with his wife Hazel (Maeda) rest eternally at the Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl).  He is survived by four children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Regrettably, I did not have the pleasure and honor of meeting Mr. Edward Ikuma.  However, over a number of months, I have corresponded and met with his son Gary.  As the last known surviving ‘original’ World War II 100th Infantry Battalion military veteran, Mr. Ikuma’s passing brings a bittersweet closure to an amazing and storied individual.  The proud unit lineage and honors are preserved today by the 100th Battalion, 442d Infantry, the sole combat infantry unit in the U.S. Army Reserve.  I and many, many others remain eternally grateful to Mr. Ikuma and his brothers-in-arms for creating and enriching our lives today, and for follow-on generations and long into the future.  Duty, Honor, Country ~ Aloha ~ 

Jeffrey H. Morita 

Sergeant First Class, U.S. Army and

  GG-13, Department of the Army Civilian (retired)

Legion of Merit - Disabled Army Veteran

U.S. Army Intelligence (Foreign Counterintelligence)

    ‘2nd generation Military Intelligence Service’ (MIS) (1982-2015)


1.  From the 100th Battalion website, appears Mr. Edward Ikuma in the same photograph; however, it comes from a group photograph of the “Forward Command Group, Radio and Message Center Unit” — "Venafro, Italy, Italy ’43”.  By the annotated year, this would have been when the 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate) was attached to the 133rd Infantry Regiment, 34th “Red Bull” Infantry Division, and prior to the 442nd Infantry Regiment’s arrival in the Mediterranean Theater of Operation.

2.  Photograph is, “Courtesy of Joyce Walters" the daughter of the late Mr. Hidenobu Hiyane also of Headquarters Company, 100th Infantry Battalion, and one of Jeff Morita's successful inductions into the French Légion d’honneur.

Questions or Suggestions: Please contact Neet Ford at javapotomac@gmail.com.

Japanese American Veterans Association:  Address: P.O. Box 341198, Bethesda, MD 20827 I www.java-us.org.