Resources on Nisei Soldiers

Resources on Nisei Soldiers

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Editor’s note: This story ran in our recent Congressional Gold Medal of Honor issue, which recognizes the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service. Due to popular demand, we will be featuring several articles from that commemorative edition of the Herald online.

RESOURCES ON NISEI SOLDIERS
LEARN MORE ABOUT AMERICA’S NEWEST HEROES

There is much more to the story of America’s newest Congressional Gold Medal heroes than men simply going off to war in a foreign land. In order to truly understand and appreciate the significance of the awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal — the nation’s highest civilian award — to the Japanese American soldiers of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Servies, one has to understand the adversities the men and their families faced in their own country. Towards that goal, The Hawai‘i Herald has compiled a list of books, films and websites that can help you put World War II and the Nisei soldiers’ accomplishments in a historical perspective, including a few titles for younger readers. Most of these titles can be found in local libraries.

FILMS
“442: Live With Honor, Die With Dignity,” (2010) directed by Junichi Suzuki. Suzuki, a Japanese national, shares his unique perspective on the Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

“Citizen Tanouye,” (2005) directed by Robert Horsting and Craig Yahata. History comes alive for students at Torrance High School in California while researching the life and times of school alumnus and Medal of Honor recipient Ted Tanouye, who was killed in action while serving with the 442nd RCT.

“Conscience and the Constitution,” (2001) directed by
Frank Abe. A documentary on the so-called “No-No Boys,” young Japanese American men who refused to be drafted unless they and their families were released from internment camps.

“Go For Broke!” (1951) directed by Robert Pirosh. Van Johnson stars in the first movie version of the story of the 442nd, from training to their battles in Europe.

“Honor Bound: A Personal Journey” (1995). Television journalist Wendy Hanamura’s award-winning documentary on her father’s 442nd unit — L Company, First Platoon.

“Only the Brave” (2006). An independent feature film about the 100th/442nd — written, directed and starring Sansei Lane Nishikawa.

BOOKS
“Ambassadors in Arms,” by Thomas D. Murphy; 1954, University of Hawai‘i Press. Murphy profiles the 100th Battalion from pre-birth to their performance in the European theater.

“Americans: The Story of the 442nd Combat Team,”
by Orville C. Shirey; 1946, Washington Infantry Journal Press. Shirey follows the 442nd Regimental Combat Team through the battlefields of Europe.

“And Then There Were Eight: The Men of I Company, 442nd Regimental Combat Team,” published in 2003 by Item Chapter of the 442nd Veterans Club. The veterans of I Company recall the events that took place between Oct. 15, 1944, and Nov. 8, 1944, when the 442nd battled German soldiers in the Vosges Mountains of France.

“Boyhood to War: History and Anecdotes of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team,” by Dorothy Matsuo; 1992, Mutual Publishing Company. Through oral histories, Matsuo tells the story of the 442nd soldiers.

“Bridge of Love,” by John Tsukano, a 100th/442nd veteran; 1985, Hawaii Hosts. A comprehensive look at the AJA soldiers, the forces that shaped them and how they were viewed within the military community

“Combat Chaplain: The Personal Story of the World War II Chaplain of the Japanese American 100th Battalion,” by Israel A.S. Yost; 2006, University of Hawai‘i Press. The memoirs of the 100th’s beloved wartime chaplain.

“Go For Broke: A Pictorial History of the Japanese American 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team,” by 442nd RCT member Chester Tanaka; 1982, Go For Broke, Inc. An historical overview on the prewar conditions for Japanese Americans, followed by descriptions of the major campaigns and battles waged by the 100th/442nd RCT.

“Honor by Fire: Japanese Americans at War in Europe and the Pacific,” by Lyn Crost; 1994, Presidio Press. This comprehensive book by Crost, who covered the 100th/442nd in Europe as a war correspondent for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, weaves together the history and exploits of the three Congressional Gold Medal military units.

“I Can Never Forget: Men of the 100th/442nd,” by Thelma Chang; 1991, Sigi Productions. A story of the Nisei soldiers — their upbringing, values and impressive record in World War II.

“In Freedom’s Cause: A Record of the Men of Hawaii Who Died in the Second World War,” by the Hawaii War Records Committee; 1949, University of Hawai‘i Press. Biographical sketches and photos of the Hawai‘i soldiers who were killed in World War II; also includes information on the medals and decorations they received.

“Japanese Eyes . . . American Hearts: Personal Reflections of Hawaii’s World II Nisei Soldiers,” compiled by the Hawaii Nikkei History Editorial Board; 1998, Tendai Educational Foundation. In their own words, veterans of the 100th, 442nd and MIS reflect on their World War II experiences.

“Just Americans: How Japanese Americans Won a War at Home and Abroad,” by Robert Asahina; 2006, Gotham Books. An extensive look at the 100th Battalion and the 442nd RCT, complete with interviews with veterans, maps and photographs.

“Nisei Linguists: Japanese Americans in the Military Intelligence Service During World War II,” by James C. McNaughton; 2006, Department of the Army. A comprehensive history of the MIS soldiers’ work in the Asia Pacific theater.

“No Sword to Bury: Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i During World War II,” by Franklin Odo; 2004, Temple University Press. One of the few books on AJA involvement in World War II that includes an extended section on the Varsity Victory Volunteers, the volunteer labor battalion whose patriotism contributed greatly to the formation of the 442nd.

“Remembrances: 100th Infantry Battalion 50th Anniversary Celebration, 1942-1992,” edited by 100th veteran Ben Tamashiro; 1992, 100th Infantry Battalion Publication Committee. 100th Battalion veterans share their memories of their war years.

“Secret Valor,” compiled and published by the MIS Veterans Club; 1993. Hawai‘i MIS veterans recall the various campaigns in which they were involved.

“The Japanese in Hawaii: A Century of Struggle,” by Roland Kotani; 1985, Hawaii Hochi, Ltd. This detailed history on the Japanese in Hawai‘i includes personal accounts of how World War II affected the lives of Japanese Americans and Hawaiian society.

“Unlikely Liberators: The Men of the 100th and 442nd,” by Masayo Umezawa Duus; 1987, University of Hawai‘i Press. Initially published in Japan in serialized form, “Unlikely Liberators” follows the AJA soldiers through the battlefields of Europe. The book is based on extensive research in War Department archives and interviews with the 100th and 442nd veterans.

FOR YOUNGER READERS
“Fighting For Honor: Japanese Americans and World War II,” by Michael L. Cooper; 2000, Clarion Books. A young adult-level book on the heroism of Japanese Americans during World War II.

“Nisei Regiment,” by R. Conrad Stein; 1985, Chicago Children’s Press. This book is a primer for schoolchildren on the role the Nisei soldiers played in World War II.

“Under the Blood-Red Sun,” (1994) and “Eyes of the Emperor,” (2005) by Graham Salibury. Published by Wendy Lamb Books, a division of Random House, Inc. These historical novels relating to the World War II Japanese American experience that have been recognized by the American Library Association.

WEBSITES
442nd Veterans Club (Hawai‘i): www.442.us.com

Go For Broke National Education Center:
 www.goforbroke.org

Japanese American National Museum: www.janm.org

Japanese American Veterans Association:
 www.javadc.org

National Japanese American Historical Society:
 www.njahs.org

Nisei Veterans Memorial Center: www.nvmc.org

100th Infantry Battalion Veterans Club: www.100thbattalion.org

Sons and Daughters of the 442 RCT: www.442sd.org

The Hawai‘i Nisei Story: Americans of Japanese Ancestry During World War II: 
www.nisei.hawaii.edu/page/stories

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