Japanese American Veterans Association


Vol. 5, No. 66, October 1, 2023

Remembering KIA Hawaiian Soldiers

As generations shift and the content of attics are sorted, JAVA is occasionally contacted by heirs on what to do with historical and prized possessions. Richard Murphy found himself in exactly that predicament and reached out to JAVA last fall. Murphy, a World War II historian, sent the following inquiry:

“I was recently going through some old papers that belonged to my great-grandfather who served in WWII. 

I came across several official US Army Signal Corps photos in which my great-grandfather is presenting awards to the surviving parents of members of the 442nd who were KIA.

All of these personal and at-home award presentations occurred in Hawai'i. 

Having a bit of experience in these kinds of mementos and their historical significance, I know that these photos would have a better home within the JAVA community, even if only on the internet.  

Please let me know if you are interested or point me toward whoever would like more information.”

JAVA was absolutely interested!

In the spring of this year, EC member CAPT (Dr) Cynthia Macri, MC, USN (Ret), and Neet Ford met with Murphy to see the photos and learn more about their origins. Murphy shared that his great-grandfather, Corwin H. Olds, served as the Chaplain in Hawai'i at the end of WWII with Headquarters United States Army Forces Middle Pacific. This service was part of a distinguished military career that started in Canada’s Imperial Royal Flying Corps (pilot, WWI) and ended with the rank of Brigadier General (Chaplain) in the California National Guard. During WWII, he was awarded a Bronze Star and was an expert in jungle warfare. Between the wars, Corwin completed seminary school in Bangor, ME, and became an Army Chaplain when he entered U.S. Army service in early 1941. He was born in Ohio in 1895 and passed away in California in 1990.  

Murphy went on to explain the poignant photos, eleven total, captured the presentation of posthumous medals to families as well as memorial services. Each of the photos has the official full caption including names of the people in them and their relationship to the soldier killed in action. He also had a script of a eulogy that his great-grandfather gave for Sgt. Wilson Eiga Higa. Mentioned in the eulogy were: Sgt. Masayoshi Miyagi, Cpl. Kiyozo Enomoto, and PFC Herushi Kondo. Lastly, a handwritten note in Japanese (which Cynthia Macri had translated and determined it was likely either notes someone took for the eulogy or notes someone sent to the Chaplain so he could make his remarks) was discovered among his great-grandfather’s papers.

Viewing the images, you can’t help but be moved by the palpable sense of loss and pain the Gold Star families are experiencing. Murphy was certain that Chaplain Olds felt their grief, “Knowing my great-grandfather, which I did, each of these ceremonies was important to him and touched him deeply.” 

Richard Murphy, the Olds family, and JAVA would like to find surviving relatives of the men pictured in these photos. It is Richard’s main objective that these photos be sent home to the families of those who so willingly went for broke. Please let us know if you are next of kin by contacting javapotomac@gmail.com

The following photos and captions were donated to JAVA on March 25th, 2023, in Washington, DC.

Mrs. Take Amakawa is presented with the Silver Star Medal posthumously awarded her son, PFC Amakawa for gallantry in action, October 27th, 1944, in France. Acting for Lt. Gen Robert C. Richardson Jr., Com Gen [Commanding General] FOA [U.S. Forces in the Pacific Ocean Area], is Lt. Col. Corwin H Olds, Chaplain, CPBC. Ceremony took place at the home of Mrs. Amakawa, 563 Cooke St., Honolulu, T.H. [Territory of Hawai'i] (U.S. Army Signal Corps Photo)

(Photo: provided by WWII historian Richard Murphy, MPA, MA, on behalf of the Olds family.)

Colonel Corwin H. Olds, Chaplain MIDPAC, representing Lt. General Robert C. Richardson, Jr., Commanding General AFMIDPAC, presents the Silver Star posthumously to Mr. Tokushichi Ikehara, father of PFC Kikuichiro Ikehara, 1955 A Ala Koko, Honolulu, T.H. (U.S. Army Signal Corps Photo)

(Photo: provided by WWII historian Richard Murphy, MPA, MA, on behalf of the Olds family.)

Lt. Col. Corwin H. Olds, Chaplain, CPBC, presents Mr. and Mrs. Fukamatsu Inoue with the Purple Heart Medal posthumously awarded their son, PFC Minoru Inoue. Ceremony was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Inoue, 2232 Kanealii Ave., Honolulu, T.H. (Signal Corps Photo)

(Photo: provided by WWII historian Richard Murphy, MPA, MA, on behalf of the Olds family.)

Mr. Matsu Tanji, 908 Kilani Ave., Wahiawa, accepts the Silver Star Medal earned by his son, PFC. Matsu Tanji, for gallantry in action, from COL. Corwin H. Olds, MIDPAC. Chaplain, at a presentation made in the Matsu Tanji's home. Looking on are Capt. Theodore A. Ray (far left), who is assigned to duty at the Army University Center, Schoefield, and Mrs. Matsu Tanji, his mother. (U.S. Army Signal Corps Photo)

(Photo: provided by WWII historian Richard Murphy, MPA, MA, on behalf of the Olds family.)

Mrs. Shizuko Kina receives the Silver Star Medal posthumously awarded her brother, PFC. Tomoaki Shimabukuro, for gallantry in action with the 442nd regimental combat team near Bruyeres, France on October 20, 1944. Presenting medal is Chaplain Corwin H. Olds, Central Pacific Base Command, representing Lt. Gen. Robert C. Richardson, Jr., commanding Army Forces, Middle Pacific. Presentation took place at Mrs. Kina's home, 1865 South King St., Honolulu, T. H. A volunteer member of a party carrying vitally needed supplies to hard-pressed front-line troops, PFC. Shimabukuro dashed across a field exposed to heavy enemy fire to divert German riflemen and machine gunners from firing upon his comrades when the group was ambushed. His gallant action permitted his comrades to reorganize and beat of their attackers and to complete their mission, although it cost PFC. Shimabukuro his life. (U.S. Army Signal Corps photo)

(Photo: provided by WWII historian Richard Murphy, MPA, MA, on behalf of the Olds family.)

Colonel. H. Olds, Chaplain, MIDPAC., representing Lt. Gen. Robert C. Richardson, Jr., C.G., AFMIDPAC., presents the Bronze Star posthumously to Mr. Gunmatsu Tanimoto, 1039 Fifth Ave., Hon., father of Pvt. Yukio E. Tanimoto, while Captain Roland Pickhardt, Santa Ana, Chaplain's office, MIDPAC., looks on. (Signal Corps Photo)

(Photo: provided by WWII historian Richard Murphy, MPA, MA, on behalf of the Olds family.)

Mrs. Hana Harada receives the Silver Star Medal awarded her son, Sgt. Charles K. Harada, posthumously for gallantry in action with the 442nd regimental combat team near Castellina, Italy on July 12, 1944. Chaplain Corwin H. Olds, Central Pacific Base Command, presents medal on behalf of Lt. Gen. Robert C. Richardson, Jr., commanding Army Forces, Middle Pacific, at the fallen hero's home, 936 Mahikiki St., Honolulu, T.H. Sgt. Harada three times crossed an area under heavy enemy shelling to direct the fire of his mortar section upon a German force assembled to attack his company, which was holding an exposed position. (U.S. Army Signal Corps Photo)

(Photo: provided by WWII historian Richard Murphy, MPA, MA, on behalf of the Olds family.)

Mr. and Mrs. Risaku Kanaya receive the Silver Star Medal awarded their son, Pvt. Walter E. Kanaya, posthumously for gallantry in action with the 443d [442nd] regimental combat team near Bruyeres, France on October 17, 1944. Presenting the medal is Chaplain Corwin H. Olds, Central Pacific Base Command, as representative of Lt. Gen. Robert C. Richardson, Jr., commanding Army Forces, Middle Pacific. Ceremony was held at the gallant soldier's home, 1521 Young St., Honolulu, T. H. Pvt. Kanaya was cited for his courage while carrying urgently needed ammunition to the front line troops to repel a heavy counterattack, when although fatally wounded by intense enemy shellfire, he delivered the additional supplies with his volunteer comrades. (U.S. Army Signal Corps Photo)

(Photo: provided by WWII historian Richard Murphy, MPA, MA, on behalf of the Olds family.)

Sunao Matsumoto receives the Silver Star Medal posthumously awarded his son, Sgt. Dick Y. Matsumoto, for gallantry in action in Italy, July 6, 1944. Presenting the medal on behalf of Lt. Gen. Robert C. Richardson Jr., Com. Gen. POA, is Lt. Col. Corwin h. Olds, Chaplain, CPBC. Private Ceremonies were held at the hero's home, 2229 Young St., Honolulu, T.H. (Signal Corps Photo)

(Photo: provided by WWII historian Richard Murphy, MPA, MA, on behalf of the Olds family.)

L to R: Chaplain (Capt) Poland Rickhandt, Santa, Ana, Calif.; Chaplain (Col) Corwin H. Olds, Bangor, Maine; Mr. and Mrs. K. Togo, Kahuku, Oahu; as Mr. J. Togo receives the Bronze Star Medal from Chaplain Olds in honor of his son, S/Sgt. Shiro Togo who was killed in action in France on Oct. 24, 1944. He was inducted into the army in 1940 and was a member of the 298th Inf. before going into the 100th when the war broke out in 1941. S/Sgt Togo received the Purple Heart and Five Battle Star. (Sig Corps Photo)

(Photo: provided by WWII historian Richard Murphy, MPA, MA, on behalf of the Olds family.)

Memorial Services for the late Yasu Arakawa. Aug. 20, 1944.

(Photo: provided by WWII historian Richard Murphy, MPA, MA, on behalf of the Olds family.)

Message from JAVA Research Team:

100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team Unit and Individual Awards, World War II - Update

Photo: A bronze duplicate of the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to the 100th Infantry Battalion (INF BN), 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT), and Military Intelligence Service (MIS) at a ceremony in the U.S. Capitol Building on Nov. 2, 2011. Image: Obtained from the United States Mint website.

Washington, DC.  A five-member research team recently updated the 100th Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team Unit and Individual Awards list, which is found in Major William Shirey’s book, Americans: The Story of the 442nd Combat Team, page 101. Shirey’s book is based on the original official records of the 442nd. Since that time a significant number of changes have been made to the total award numbers for the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Purple Heart Medal, and French government award.

In Shirey's Americans: The Story of the 442nd Combat Team, page 93 states that the 442nd had “650 dead and 3,436 wounded” in combat. If the Purple Heart Medal is awarded for each dead or wounded, the awards list should have said 4,086 Purple Hearts or over 4,000 Purple Hearts.

Some books and articles have reported that the 100th/442nd received over 9,000 Purple Hearts. That number is incorrect.

During the early 2000s, the Government of France (GOF) announced that any American who served in the liberation of France during WWII was invited to apply for a Chevalier dans l’Ordre national de la Legion d’honneur (Knight in the National Order – KNO). Jeff Morita, a researcher with the JAVA Research Team, on a volunteer basis, completed the paperwork for over 40 KNO recipients.

The 100th and 442nd Awards List, as well as the Nisei individual records, did not specify if the 848 bronze stars were awarded for valor or meritorious service. The Research Team, thus, could not compile the two lists. Also, the Team did not include responses to a U.S. Army general order, issued after WWII ended, which entitled any holder of the Combat Infantryman’s Badge or the Combat Medic’s Badge to apply for a Bronze Star for meritorious service.

Members of the Research Team include Terry Shima, Jeff Morita, Mark Matsunaga, Isami Yoshihara and Metta Tanikawa.

100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team Unit and Individual Awards during WWII+

Major Campaigns in Italy and France: 8

Unit Awards

Congressional Gold Medal (to 100th Battalion, 442nd RCT, MIS): 1

Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation: 7

Meritorious Service Unit Plaque: 2

Army Commendation: 36

Division Commendation: 87

Individual Awards

Medal of Honor: 21

Distinguished Service Cross: 29

Distinguished Service Medal: 1

Silver Star: 371++

Legion of Merit: 17

Soldier's Medal: 15

Bronze Star Medal (war time only): 848+++

Air Medal: 1

Purple Heart Medal: 4,000 plus++++ 

Croix de Guerre (for valor, with bronze-gilt star, with silver gilt star, etc): 15+++*

Palm to Croix de Guerre (issued to unit): 2

La Medalle de la reconnaissance Francaise (Gratitude): 1

Chevalier dans l'Ordre national de la Legion d'honneur (Knight in the National Order (KNO): 173+++**

Al Merito De Guerra (Cross of Merit (Italy) (AS part of 92nd Div): 2

Medaglia De Bronzo Al Valor Militaire (Italy) Bronze Medal for Valor: 2

Soldier's Medal (Great Britain): 1

+ This presentation is based on format and data from William Shirey, Americans: The Story of 442nd Combat Team, page 101.

++ Douglas Sterner, Heroes of 100/442 Go For Broke Regiment, for list.

+++ 442nd did not make a distinction between BSM for Valor and BS< for Meritorious Servie. After WWII ended the Department of Army authorized any holder of a combat infantryman badge to apply for a BSM for meritorious service.

++++ See Shirley. Americans: Story of 442nd, P. 93. 

+++* Obtained from JAVA's Digital Archives.

+++** About 2002, the Government of France (GOF) invited any American who participated in the liberation of France during WWII to apply for the KNO.

This list was compiled by: Terry Shima, Isami Yoshihara, Mark Matsunaga, and Jeff Morita. August 7, 2023.

Go For Broke: Japanese American Soldiers Fighting on Two Fronts Exhibition

Image provided by the JICC.

The Japan Information & Culture Center (JICC), Embassy of Japan, together with the Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA), is proud to present “Go For Broke: Japanese American Soldiers Fighting on Two Fronts.” This exhibition tells a patriotic story, through the photographs taken by Armed Forces and Japanese American veterans, of Americans of Japanese Ancestry who fought in WWII. This exhibition features rare photographs and documents depicting Japanese American WWII military service.

Eighty years ago, Americans of Japanese Ancestry volunteered for military service in the United States Army and became part of the famed all-Japanese American 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team. As a unit, they fought bravely in the European theater of war. The US Army continues to recognize them as the most decorated unit for their size and length of service in US military history. Japanese Americans also served as linguists in the Pacific theater, making tremendous contributions to the Allied victories.

Parts of this exhibit have been shown in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, which was adapted and shown there for more than 25 years. Come and join us at the JICC for a talk from historian Eric Saul about the photos on display on November 8, 2023.

The exhibition is free and open to the publicThe exhibition will run from September 21 through December 15 and will be open to the public during regular JICC hours, 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. The JICC will be closed on October 9 for Columbus Day, November 10 in observance of Veterans Day, and November 23 to 24 for in observance of the Thanksgiving Day holidays.

[EdNote: JAVA thanks the JICC for granting permission to reprint and sharing the article with us! The article can be accessed online at JICC || Exhibition | Go For Broke: Japanese American Soldiers Fighting on Two Fronts (emb-japan.go.jp).]

Heroes of the Vosges Museum Artifact Donations

Image: The cover of the book "Marie of Bruyères" that will be sold to help benefit the museum fund. Provided by Carl Williams.

Carl Williams has been working with the village of Bruyères, France, for several years and successfully completed a monument in memory of the 100th/442nd RCT on Hill 555 in 2017. For details of the “Torch Monument,” please visit https://hill555.org/. As everyone knows, the 80th anniversary of the liberation will take place in October 2024, and Bruyères expects many visitors.

Recently, approval was received from the Mayor of Bruyères for the incremental development of a museum that will be known as the “Heroes of the Vosges Museum.” The exhibit space will not only preserve artifacts of the Nisei and French Forces of the Interior (FFI - Resistance) but create a destination attraction to help the economy of Bruyères and preserve the memory of those who liberated the Vosges. With the town’s approval, a website, https://vosgesheroes.org, has been created to seek money and artifact donations and explain in detail the plan. The site also offers a children’s book, “Marie of Bruyères,” for sale that will benefit the museum fund. The site also provides a downloadable form to be used with artifact donations or loans.

Carl William's wife's uncle, Kiyoshi Ono, served in Battery B of the 522nd FAB at the battle of Bruyères and the rescue of the so-called Lost Texas Battalion. After his death, Kiyoshi Ono’s daughter found several boxes of artifacts that had belonged to him. Fortunately, she did not dispose of them. Kiyoshi Ono’s daughter was unaware of the historical significance of the items. It is their fear that with the passing of almost all the Nisei Veterans, many similar artifacts will be lost if not gathered and preserved. In addition to the potential loss of these artifacts, items from the internment camps, artifacts from Hawai'i, and artifacts from the forgotten FFI are at risk.

Carl Williams will be donating his M1 Garand rifle to the museum (see above).

The U.S. effort is guided by an Advisory Panel composed of a member each from Hawai'i, Alaska, and California.

ALLEN KAMEMOTO, a retired Financial Planner, COL US Army Reserves (ret), active in Hawai'i Rotary and two Heritage Clubs, and a student of genealogy. He is the son of Sgt. Kazuo Kamemoto, a member of the 100th Infantry Battalion who was wounded in Italy. Married to Carol Kamemoto, a retired Elementary School teacher. He and his wife live in Honolulu, Hawai'i.

LINDA ONO, a retired Contract Analyst for the University of California at Davis and the daughter of Pvt. Kiyoshi Ono, a member of Battery B of the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion who fought to liberate Bruyères and to rescue the “Lost Texas Battalion” in October 1944. Linda lives in Sacramento, California.

JEFF FUJIOKA, a retired Mathematical Statistician with the National Marine Fisheries Service and an amateur historian with emphasis on the 100th/442nd and the preservation of the memory of the Japanese-Americans imprisoned under Executive Order 9066. His Father and uncles served in the 442nd RCT and the MIS. His parents and grandparents were imprisoned at Minidoka Internment Camp where he was born. He is married to Carol Fujioka, a retired elementary school teacher. The couple lives in Alaska.

Thank You for Your Membership and Support!

JAVA Elections Call for Nominations

In accordance with JAVA’s By-laws, the Nominations Committee is preparing to nominate JAVA members for each of the four elected Offices: President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Secretary. 

Should you desire to be considered for one of those positions, please submit your name and a short summary (no more than one page) of your qualifications and desire to run for any of the elected offices. The deadline for submission is Friday, December 1, 2023. These Officers will serve a two year term beginning in February 2024. Your submissions should be sent to Nominations Chair Dawn Eilenberger at dawn.eilenberger@java-us.org.

Election Timeline:

  • Slate of Candidates will be presented to the membership by January 6, 2024.
  • Email voting will take place from January 6 to 28, 2024.
  • Proxy email voting will take place from January 6 to 26, 2024.
  • Election results will be announced at the General Membership Meeting on February 10, 2024.

18th Annual Nisei Soldiers Memorial Service

September 24, 2023

The 18th Annual Nisei Soldiers Memorial Service was held at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Sunday, September 24, at 9:30 A.M, presented by the Nisei Veterans Legacy (NVL). 

A copy of the program from the event provided by Lynn Mariano. Find the original flyer at www.nvlchawaii.org.

A tribute and celebration highlighted by the presentation of the colors, laying of wreaths, offerings of songs, remarks, and a rifle salute. The service featured Minda Yamaga of the Japanese American Citizens League, Honolulu Chapter, 111th Army Band, Student Presenters, JROTC cadets, and Veteran Organizations.

Lynn Mariano with Roosevelt High School JROTC Cadets Trisha Tuazon and Kaene Phan. Photo: Courtesy of Lynn Mariano.

Photo of the JAVA wreath provided by Lynn Mariano.

JAVA EC Member, Hawai'i Regional Representation Major Lynn Mariano, USA (Ret) attended the memorial service as JAVA's representative. Hawai'i Congressman Ed Case and Mrs. Jean Ariyoshi, wife of former Governor of Hawai'i George Ariyoshi, and Sergeant Major Allen Kellogg Jr. were among the many attendees of the Sunday memorial service to show their support. 

Lynn Mariano with Hawai'i Congressman District 1 Ed Case. Photo courtesy of Lynn Mariano.

Lynn Mariano spoke to Mrs. Jean Ariyoshi wife of former Governor of Hawai'i George Ariyoshi. Photo courtesy of Lynn Mariano.

Lynn Mariano sitting with SgtMaj Allan J. Kellogg Jr., USMC, Congressional Medal of Honor. Photo courtesy of Lynn Mariano.

To learn more about the legacy of the Nisei Soldiers in WWII and the NVL, please go to www.nvlchawaii.org. The NVL is a Hawai'i non-profit dedicated to telling the Nisei Soldiers story.

The event will be available to watch after October 23 at https://olelo.org/olelonet/, search 'Nisei.'

Mahalo to the Oleo Community.

A Sincere Thank You Letter to Terry Shima

Dear Mr. Shima:

I want to wish you a belated Happy Birthday on reaching the age of 100. Congratulations!

My grandson is currently a freshman at Linganore High School where I taught history until 2020 ending a 47-year career in teaching. 

He was asking whether I ever had guest speakers come to Linganore to speak about World War 2 and I said “yes”.

I explained to him about all the guest speakers I had come to my classes to discuss World War 2 and said that the most outstanding speaker that I ever had was Terry Shima.  I went to my computer and showed him several interviews with you speaking about your career and about the 100th Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team. I showed him videos on the experiences of the 100th Battalion and 442nd Regimental Company Team service and contribution during World War 2.  The videos helped his understanding of the achievements that the Japanese Americans made and how they overcame prejudice at home and abroad. 

I want to thank you for all the times you came to Linganore High School and the other guests that you brought with you to my classes to speak to my students.  Thank for educating and enriching my students on the experience and contributions of Japanese Americans to our nation during World War 2 and beyond.

I have seen several of my former students who remember your visit to our school with fond memories of your presentations about the contributions of Japanese Americans to our nation.

Thank you so much for all the times you came to our school.  You are fondly remembered by our students at Linganore High School.


Wayne Coblentz

Retired Social Studies Teacher

Linganore High School

Postscript to this note:

I was a social studies teacher for 41 years, retiring in 2014, then I became a substitute teacher retiring a second time in July 2020. Over the years, I have encountered several of my former students who have expressed their remembrance of our guest speakers we had who visited Linganore High School. They remember the Japanese American veterans who spoke to our classes about their personal experiences during World War Two and upon their return to the United States after WW 2.

They were impressed with their positive and patriotic contributions to our nation. They said how stories of their life experiences during a very critical time in our history gave them examples of how they could overcome obstacles and difficulties that may confront them.

Mary Murakami on numerous occasions came to Linganore High School to explain her experiences of living in an internment camp and how they were able to continue some regiment of daily life and education. Mary went on to earn a degree in public health and served in that endeavor until her retirement.

Grant Hirabayashi volunteered for military intelligence service with Merrill’s Marauders as an interpreter for the special forces team in Burma.

Joseph Ichiuji was in the military service prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and because of the bombing he was dismissed from the service. He returned home to assist his family in moving to an internment camp. Mr. Ichiuji was one of the first in his camp to volunteer for service with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Mr. Ichiuji spoke on his experiences while serving in the European Theater as a member of the 522nd Artillery Battalion an element of the 422nd Regimental Combat Team.

My students fondly remember Terry Shima stories while living on the Hawaiian Island during WW 2 and the contributions of the 100th Battalion during their service in Europe. My students and I watched the televised presentation made by President Obama to Terry Shima who received the Presidential Citizens Medal for community service. My students were very excited that they would have the opportunity to meet and greet Mr. Shima as a guest speaker the following week. The U.S. Congress awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to the 100th Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligent [MIS] for their exceptional military service and contributions during World War 2. Over the years, the Japanese American veteran guest speakers supported our school curriculum and greatly enhanced our students’ understanding what Japanese Americans had to overcame and how they contributed to America in becoming a greater nation.

Guest speakers were:

Mrs. Mary Murakami

Mr. Joseph and Mrs. Asako Ichiuji

Mr. Grant Hirabayashi

Mr. Terry Shima

Dr. Raymond Murakami

Mr. Hiroshi Shima

JAVA's DAY of Affirmation Wreath Ceremony: THE RAFU SHIMPO Article

Full Page Tribute to JAVA's Day of Affirmation in THE RAFU SHIMPO, July 11, 2023, page 7. Mr. Hiro Watanabe, President of Red Shell Foods, known for their miso salad dressing, took out a full-page tribute in THE RAFU SHIMPO that featured a Japanese translation of Gerald Yamada's Day of Affirmation statement. Mr. Watanabe strongly believes that everyone, including the Japanese, should be aware of the significant sacrifices made by Japanese Americans serving in the armed forces during World War II. He maintains that the Nisei's contributions continue to benefit society today. Image: Courtesy of THE RAFU SHIMPO.

Translation of the article is below.

Dear JAVA Members and Friends:

On Saturday, July 15th at 12 noon (EDT) at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC, JAVA will hold the fourth annual Day of Affirmation wreath ceremony to show our appreciation for the legacy created by the thirty-three thousand Japanese American men and women who served in World War II.

The military escort and wreath bearers for the Day of Affirmation ceremony will represent three generations of Terry Shima’s family. Terry Shima is a veteran of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and celebrated his 100th birthday earlier this year. The military escort is Terry’s son Mike Shima, who will be assisted by his son Eric Shima. Following his father’s legacy of service, Mike served in the U.S. Army. One of the wreath bearers will be Eileen Shima Roulier, who is Terry’s daughter. The other wreath bearer will be Mike’s daughter, Kelly Shima, who will be assisted by her son, Donovan Trexler.

All are welcome to attend this year’s Day of Affirmation Ceremony in-person at the National WWII Memorial, located at 1750 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, D.C. The program will also be livestreamed on JAVA's Facebook page - click here to watch or visit JAVA's website at www.java-us.org to watch on Facebook feed.

Thank you for your support.


Gerald Yamada

JAVA President

Homer Yasui

December 28, 1924 - July 25, 2023

(age 98)

Photo: provided by the Yasui family.

Homer was born on December 28, 1924, in Hood River, Oregon, the eighth of nine children of Masuo and Shidzuyo Yasui, who were immigrants from Japan. 

He attended the Hood River public schools and graduated in 1942 — by way of a mailed diploma — because by May 1942, he was imprisoned in the Pinedale Assembly Center near Fresno, California. Later, he and his family were incarcerated at Tule Lake prison camp in Northern California. Homer was one of the estimated 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry in the U.S. to be imprisoned as a result of Executive Order 9066, issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942. 

In September 1942, Homer left Tule Lake by bus to attend the University of Denver. There were four Japanese American students, accompanied by an armed guard. The guard left them in Reno, Nevada, because that was outside of the Western Defense Command, from which all Japanese Americans had been excluded. 

In September 1945, Homer enrolled at the Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia, from which he graduated in 1949. After an internship in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he married the love of his life, Miyuki “Miki” Yabe, in 1950 in New York City. 

In August 1954 — after completing three years of a general surgery residency — Selective Service informed Homer that it intended to draft him into the Army Medical Corps unless he selected another branch of the service. So, he chose to serve in the Navy.

After a couple of months of training, Homer was given a choice of overseas assignments and chose to serve at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Iwakuni, Japan. Homer, Miki, and their two little daughters spent 18 happy months stationed at Iwakuni, traveling to Kyoto, Hiroshima, and many other historic and beautiful places. After Homer’s release from active duty in October 1956, the family moved to Portland, Oregon, where he and Miki lived in the same house for the next 47 years. 

Homer spent another year and a half in the surgical residency program at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Portland before beginning his solo general surgical practice in 1958 in Milwaukie, Oregon. He practiced surgery for 29 years and retired in 1987.

Homer joined the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1958. He spent 12 years with a Marine Corps Reserve engineer battalion and retired from the Naval Reserve with the rank of captain in 1984. 

After Homer’s retirement, he and Miki became involved with the Japanese American community of Portland, including with the Portland Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League. Homer was president of the Portland Chapter JACL in 1973; co-president with Miki in 1980 and ’81, and the district governor of the Pacific Northwest District Council JACL around 1982-83. Homer was an outspoken advocate for Japanese American redress, overturning the decision in his brother Minoru Yasui’s Supreme Court case, and for the Muslim community after 9/11. 

In 2003, Miki and Homer moved to the Cherrywood Retirement Village in Portland. While there, Homer played poker and harmonica with other residents. In 2015, they moved to the Lakeshore in Seattle to be closer to their two daughters. 

Miki died in 2018, but Homer continued to live in the same apartment, playing poker, shopping for groceries and learning to cook Japanese food for himself. (Miki was such a great cook that he never felt the need or the urge to do it before that.) He cooked lots of “hot, white rice,” shared homemade sunomono and nuta with his Lakeshore friends and neighbors, and brought his signature veggie dips to many family poker parties and holiday events. He also enjoyed hunting for and eating matsutake (Japanese pine mushrooms), a hobby he and Miki shared for many years.

A lifelong history buff and storyteller, Homer’s last mission in life was to sort, scan, and annotate the hundreds of documents and photographs in the Yasui family papers, some of which date back as far as 1903. As the last living member of his generation in the Yasui family, he felt a special responsibility to pass on everything he knew about the people, places and things mentioned in those old documents to his descendants. 

Homer stayed busy with his many historical projects until the end of his life. He wrote down dozens of his personal recollections for his family members, gave numerous media interviews, cultivated long-lasting relationships with different historical organizations, and exchanged emails with several fellow history enthusiasts in other parts of the world. He also lived long enough to see the enormous collection of Yasui family papers — which he and Miki stewarded and gifted to the Oregon Historical Society in 1991 — begin to be translated and digitized for future generations, thanks to a grant that OHS was awarded in 2022.

After surviving three different types of cancer and celebrating his 98th birthday, Homer died of lung cancer on July 25, 2023. He was preceded in death by his wife, Miyuki Yabe Yasui, his parents Masuo and Shidzuyo Yasui, his eight siblings, and his son Allen Masuo Yasui. He leaves behind his three surviving children, Barbara, Meredith and John, plus eight grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and dozens of nieces, nephews, and other extended family. Homer’s vitality and spirit touched countless people in his long, active, and wonderful life.

[EdNote: JAVA thanks the Yasui family for granting permission to reprint and share Homer Yasui's obituary. Our hearts go out to them along with our condolences. The original obituary can be accessed with the following link: https://www.emmicklakeview.com/obituary/Homer-Yasui]

Upcoming JAVA Events

September 21 - December 15 – Eric Saul’s WWII Nisei Soldiers Photo Exhibit, Japan Information & Culture Center, Embassy of Japan.

Wednesday, November 8 - Exhibit Talk on Eric Saul's WWII Nisei Soldiers Photo Exhibit, Japan Information & Culture Center, Embassy of Japan.

Saturday, November 11– Veterans Day Program, National Japanese American Memorial. Keynote Speaker: Major Michael H. Yamamoto, U.S. Army.

New JAVA Members

JAVA sends a warm Aloha to our new Veteran members as well as new Friends of JAVA.

War Veteran

John Gise, USA

Jay Hirokawa, USA

Cindy Ohara, USA

MAJ Yohei Saegusa, USA (Ret)

Naomi Tam, USAF

Jason Trapp, USA

Chester Tsuji

Steven Watanabe, USA

COL Cornelia Weiss, USA (Ret)


Julia Pellei, USNA Cadet

Friend of JAVA

Lici Beveridge

Deborah Funai

Michael Higashi

Antoinette Phelps

Mark Tanaka

Kathleen Yamazaki


JAVA offers heartfelt thanks to our generous members and friends for their gifts, memorials, and tributes given in support of our mission, events, and scholarships. We are truly grateful.

Jia-Yuh Chen, General Support

Eric Ford, General Support

Tak and Carolyn Furumoto, In Appreciation for JAVA and Member David Iwata

Amy and Anthony Nakamoto-Brown, Robert S. Nakamoto Scholarship

Mae Nakamoto, Robert S. Nakamoto Scholarship

Michael Nakamoto, Robert S. Nakamoto Scholarship

LTC Robert S. Nakamoto, USA (Ret), Robert S. Nakamoto Scholarship

Steve and Sherri Nakamoto, Robert S. Nakamoto Scholarship

National Japanese American Memorial Foundation, Veterans' Day Ceremony

Dr. Ellen Sawamura, COL Jimmie Kanaya Scholarship

Julie Tsuchiya, Ishio Founder's Scholarship

Gerald Yamada, Day of Affirmation Donation

Questions or Suggestions: Please contact Antoinette Phelps at javapotomac@gmail.com.

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