____________________________________________________________________ _____JANUARY/MARCH, 2002 ____________VOLUME X_*__NUMBER I___


Last week I attended a meeting of the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation Board to discuss the very important "Education Phase" in Seattle and later in Los Angeles to a meeting of the National Council of AJA Veterans and the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Japanese American National Museum. Between the two meetings, while visiting our daughter in San Francisco, I received a call from our very dedicated editor of the JAVA Newsletter informing me that he had enough material for the next issue. I therefore hurriedly began jotting down some thoughts which I considered would be appropriate.

While in Los Angeles, I received news that Senator Inouye would be attending our "Salute to Senators Inouye and Akaka," which we have been planning to hold for the past year. Some unexpected delays were encountered and have held our planning in abeyance pending definite responses from the two Senators. We will now proceed with the event which will be held on April 27 at the Fort Meyer Officers Club. The salute will start at 6:30 p.m. with dinner served at 730 p.m. Official notices with applications and further details will be sent out shortly.

We, the Nisei veterans, and the Asian Pacific American community as a whole, owe much to the support these two Senators have given in a number of different ways to various groups represented by those who are co-sponsors of the event: the Asian Pacific American Heritage Council, Japanese American Citizens League (Washington, D.C. Chapter), American Coalition of Filipino Veterans, Japanese American National Museum, National Japanese American Historical Society, National Japanese American Memorial Foundation, National Council of AJA Veterans, Hawaii University Alumni Club, and the Hawaii State Society. (We hope to include the Oahu AJA Veterans Council.)

We have asked General Eric Shinseki to be our speaker for evening along with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi. The ambassadors to America from Australia and the Philippines have also been asked to participate while Representative Patsy Mink has been asked to serve as Mistress of Ceremonies.

Also included among honorees being saluted that evening are a number of veterans from northern and southern California who spent long hours researching records and preparing papers in support of legislation to upgrade the service records of Asian Pacific American veterans. This, among other things, resulted in the awarding of 23 Congressional Medals of Honor and a Presidential Unit Citation to those Nisei who served in the Military Intelligence Service. These veterans played an important part in establishing barracks at Crissey Field (where the first Army Language School was started) as a National Memorial Site.

Although there are many who dedicated their time and effort in this work, one man stands out as of particular importance – Harry Fukuhara. He has been the untiring driving force in the effort to recognize the work of Dick Sakakida in the Philippines, in the effort to get medals upgraded, in procuring the Presidential Unit Citation for the MIS, and in preserving the site of the first Army Language School as a national site.

One of the advantages of having JAVA members who are also with the JACL and the Asian Pacific Heritage Council is that we are well-represented in the various events such as the Day of Remembrance and the Freedom Walk and receive whole-hearted support for the annual JAVA-sponsored Veterans Day ceremony as well as being assigned key roles along with the JACL in observing Memorial Day at the Arlington National Cemetery.

We are fortunate in having "Uncommon Courage," a television program on the role of the Nisei in the Pacific Theatre, being offered for showing nationwide by the Public Broadcasting .Service. People are urged to call their PBS stations to support the airing of the program in their local areas. The producer of the program is Gayle Yamada, daughter of JAVA member Gordon Yamada.

S. Phil Ishio


Gayle Yamada, producer of "Uncommon Courage: Patriotism and Civil Liberties," the television program devoted exclusively to the Nikkei soldiers who served in the U.S. Military Intelligence Service during WWII, reports that the program, will be distributed nationally for airing by the Public Broadcast System in May, the nation’s official "Asian American Month."

"This is a program of Japanese American soldiers trained in the Japanese language and sent to the Pacific during World War II and the Occupation of Japan while their families on the West Coast were incarcerated in concentration camps, stripped of their civil rights," she said.

"This is the first time a program that focuses exclusively on the MIS has ever been on TV, and it’s a little-known part of American history that will finally be brought to the American public."

Ms. Yamada found it "so exciting because it is not often that PBS feeds by satellite an independent producer’s program on its National Program Schedule which is fed during prime time (8 to 11 p.m.) Sunday through Friday." She said that most of the prime time slots on PBS usually are filled with station-produced series and programs such as NOVA and the new Bill Moyers series.

"To me, it’s so wonderful for these veterans to be recognized for the sacrifices they made and their courage that served all of us despite many of their families and friends being imprisoned in concentration camps… It is a story of hope, of triumph despite despair, of perseverance.

"I am very glad this story can be broadcast when these men can see their story on national TV along with millions of other Americans." Gayle is the daughter of JAVA’s Gordon T. Yamada, a veteran of the MIS as are a majority of JAVA’s membership.

She paid special tribute to "a very talented and dedicated group" who worked on the program: Ken Kashiwara (narrator), Dan Friedman (editor), Joan Yoshiwara (archival researcher), and Dan Kuramoto (composer) and the Military Intelligence Service Association of Northern California, which "began with the project dream, and has provided support throughout Uncommon Courage."

Ms. Yamada warns, however, that the program, though it is being fed to PBS stations, these stations are not obligated to carry it. She said people can help make sure it’s broadcast in their area by contacting their local PBS program director to ask when the program will be broadcast.

She said the queries (a postcard would be preferred) should be made before March 25, since most PBS stations will be making up their May schedules in the next several weeks.

In the Washington D.C. area, the people to contact would be Dalton Deian, chief programming officer and/or Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president and CEO (WETA, 2775 South Quincy St., Arlington, VA 22206); Zvi Shoubin, vice-president for programming and/or Robert Shuman, President and CEO, (Maryland Public Television, 11767 Owings Mills Blvd., Owings Mill, MD 21117-1409; or Bill Elmquist, program director and/or Frederick Thomas, vice-president and general manager (WNVC, 8101 Lee Highway, Falls Church, VA 22042).

Telephone directories would contain the addresses of PBS stations in other areas of the country.

Ms. Yamada also reported that about $50,000 was needed for editing, publicity and promotion efforts for the national broadcast of "Uncommon Courage."

"You’d think this program would be free on public TV – but it’s not," she said. "It’s free and the public, but the costs of editing, tapes, promotion (making sure it gets to the stations and in stations’ program schedule), a media kit, and publicity (local newspaper stories nationwide, local TV guide stories, photos, reviews, newspapers, etc.) are shouldered by the producer. The more money that can be raised, the wider and better the promotion and publicity."

She said now was the time to get the MIS story out – "the possibility of a million people nationwide seeing this program is stunning."

The National Asian American Telecommunications Association (NAATA) is working with her group. NAATA is a non-profit organization that promotes and works with Asian American film producers and offers programs to PBS. NAATA is handling donations for the programs airing.

Donations for the project should be sent to: NAATA/Uncommon Courage, ATTN: Don Young, 346 Ninth Street, 2nd floor, San Francisco, CA 94103.



When Radio Tokyo broadcast its daily outpouring of Japanese propaganda during World War II, American Nisei in the US Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service (FBIS) were among its most attentive listeners.

An article about the FBIS in the current issue of CIA’s journal, "Studies in Intelligence" (unclassified edition), includes welcome but little-known information about the contributions of Japanese Americans to the wartime monitoring of enemy radio programs.

The FBIS was established within the Federal Communications Commission in mid-1941, and that October a listening post was opened in Portland, Oregon, to monitor, transcribe, translate, and analyze Japanese broadcasts. It targeted Tokyo’s shot wave transmissions aimed at the United States and, when atmospheric conditions permitted, even eavesdropped on standard radio programs broadcast in the Japanese homeland.

For this, the FBIS needed skilled Japanese linguists, but recruiting them was a difficult job, in many ways even more challenging than finding enough linguists to handle most of the other languages in which Axis propaganda was broadcast.

While a number of Americans who had lived and worked in Japan were recruited for the program, Japanese Americans seemed to offer the best promise. Among the first to join the FBIS was Satoru Sugimura, a graduate of the University of Hawaii who had also studied at Meiji Daigaku and was then an interpreter/translator with the Interior Department.

Other Hawaiian Nisei may have been recruited; but Sugimura was the top linguist at the Portland post and subsequently became Chief of the FBIS Japanese section that was later established in Hawaii.

In late 1942, a senior FBIS official visited a number of the Japanese American internment camps in search of badly needed linguists. She was disappointed to have to report that "most Nisei seem to have very little knowledge of Japanese." Of 174 Japanese Americans she interviewed, she selected 100 to take tests, and found only 22 of the sufficiently qualified in the language.

Five of the best agreed to work for the FBIS. It was planned to station them in Portland, but Lt. Gen. John DeWitt, who headed the Western Defense Command, refused to allow this. These Nisei and others who joined them would have to work out of a newly established FBIS post in Denver.

The CIA article does not name all of the Nisei linguists, nor indicate just how many were working for the FBIS. It does, however, identify Chitose Yanaga as the individual in overall charge of the FBIS Asian language programs.

A professor at the University of California in Berkeley, Yanaga taught at the Navy’s Japanese language school and headed the Office of War Information’s Japanese translation and research efforts. After the war he would pursue a distinguished career as a scholar and teacher, including the authoring of the important book, Japan Since Perry.

The FBIS published its findings from Japanese broadcasts in a widely disseminated bulletin called "Radio Report on the Far East." According to the CIA article, this "offered" a depth of reporting and analysis found nowhere else in the United States.

The first published FBIS analysis, for example, was issued the day before Pearl Harbor attack and emphasized the "growing defiant, hostile tone" of Radio Tokyo in comparison with the less belligerent attitude in earlier broadcasts. Another early report analyzed Japanese efforts to undermine British rule in India by trumpeting exaggerated news of unrest among the local populations there.

Late in the war, FBIS picked up Japanese claims that stay-behind forces in areas captured by the Allies would play an important part in a coming major Japanese counteroffensive. Other Japanese broadcasts described the balloon bombs launched from Japan against the western United States and boasted of their effectiveness. One of the last broadcasts monitored by FBIS was Emperor Hirohito’s surrender announcement.

The FBIS reports were well appreciated throughout the government. The White House, State and War Departments, OSS, and other agencies all stressed their value. One senior official in OSS, for example, wrote that without them "our knowledge of current events in Japan would be meager." Another termed them "the most extensive single source available for information on developments … in Japan and the territories she has occupied." They were, he wrote, "indispensable."

The contributions of the Nisei to these efforts are not generally known, so their description in this CIA article is a welcome addition to the growing literature of the valuable participation of Japanese Americans in World War II.


JAVA member Grant Hirabayashi was a featured speaker at the Smithsonian Institution on March 8 when a new book about the war in the Pacific was introduced to the public. In this book, Into the Rising Sun: Veterans of WWII Remember, the author, Pat O’Donnell, recounts the details of battles in which certain special units, such as paratroopers, rangers and some marines were a key part.

Through detailed interviews with members of those select military organizations, the reader is given personal views of how we came back from the early defeats of 1942 and brought the war to a conclusion through the efforts of the individual soldier.

Grant initially recounted to the 100-member audience how Japanese Americans were forcefully removed from their homes, schools and businesses and confined in primitive "camps" in what was described as the worst blot on our Constitution, but when given the opportunity, how many Nisei volunteered from those prisons and served, often with great distinction, in all theaters of WWII.

In Grant’s case, he became one of the members of the renowned Merrill’s Marauders who led the successful Allied offensive in Burma but a great cost and under sub-human conditions. The audience gave Grant’s presentation a warm and enthusiastic response.

The book contains the story of another JAVA member, Harry Akune, how of Gardena, CA, whose actions were key to the success of the very difficult parachute assault on the island of Corregidor in the Philippines.

Harry, though not a trained paratrooper, volunteered for this hazardous operation. He is credited with saving the lives of fellow troopers by obtaining key information about the enemy whom our own forces initially faced, allowing the paratroopers to develop effective strategy and casualty-reducing measures.

(Editor’s note: Jack Herzig himself, a former paratrooper who parachuted into Corregidor, was with the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team, the same unit as Akune, though they did not know each other at that time.)


The JAVA website, www.javadc.org, is the only website being operated by any Nisei veterans organization and is setting the pattern for a future website for the Hawaii’s 442 Veterans organization.

Eichi Oki, newly-installed president of the 442 group, has made "leaving a legacy" a prime goal during his term in office and setting up the website one of its principal objectives.

Ted Tsukiyama of MIS has been named by Oki to be chairman of the Archives Committee and Andrew Ono, honorary member of the 442’s K Company, to be Ted’s assistant in setting up the website. Ono, in turn, has sought input from JAVA webmaster David Buto and Jim Yamashita, a 442 veteran and webmaster for the AJA WWII Alliance, www.ajawarvets.org.

David has provided Ono with not only technical advice, but also an insight into the financial costs and time required to establish and run a website. Yamashita, for his part, has written to David, saying "I think your www.javadc.org website should be a model to pattern the future website around. Thanks again for your experienced input."

Yamashita also reported that he "met with Jan Morimoto…a very bright 24-year-old young lady, graduate of Pomona College and working for Price/Waterhouse. She has done some web/front page design…Jan will be communicating with the JAVA webmaster, David Buto to establish the exterior link between the 442 website and JAVA, in anticipation of us deciding to go that route…"

Domain names www.442RCT.org and www.442rct.com have already been reserved, expiring on 10/29/’03, though only one undoubtedly be kept.


JAVA has been accepted as a partner in the Library of Congress’s new Veterans History Project (VHP), which is administered by the American Folklife Center (AFC).

"The enabling legislation calls upon the American Folklife Center and the Library of Congress to collect and preserve audio and video-taped oral histories, along with documentary materials such as letters, diaries, maps, photographs and home movies of American’s war veterans and those who served in support of them," according to an AFC release.

Individual veterans or their families are encouraged to contact the VHP directly or through JAVA.*

The focus of the collection will be on primary sources materials. Previously published books, tapes, periodical and newspaper articles etc. covered by copyright are generally excluded. (The Library receives such material through its Copyrights Office.)

Additional information is available on the Library of Congress website, www.loc.gov/folklife/vets.

Individuals wishing to donate related material to the project may request a kit containing background information, instructions on interviewing for oral histories, release forms, biographical data forms, etc. by phoning 1-888-371-5858. The project office can reached by telephone: (202)-707-4016 or fax: (202-252-2046), e-mail (vohp@loc.gov) or by mail: Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave., SE, Washington, D.C. 20540-3615.

(Editor’s note: Warren Tsuneishi has been appointed by Phil Ishio to by the contact person for this project. (Phone: (301) 320-3956)


The above question was raised by Grant Ichikawa, who in the last JAVA newsletter, asked MIS veterans for last and first names, serial number, MISLS Class (i.e. Savage, Class Dec.’42), awards, assignments and present residence.

"To date I have received only one reply (from Paul Tani) from JAVA members living in the metropolitan Washington area," Grant said., but adds that "I received information from Sus Toyoda of Carlsbad, CA. and a bunch of old orders orders (a gold mine)and personnel information from Ranger and MIS Hall of Famer Roy Matsumoto of Friday Harbor, WA. Both Toyoda and Matsumoto are out-of-town JAVA members.

An added bonus for Grant was the fact that through an article carried in the Watsonville JACL newsletter, he received information from Bruce Mori about his (Mori’s) father, Atau, an older brother of Grant’s sister-in-law.

"Our information on MISLS personnel in classes of December, 1942 and earlier is fairly complete on full names and serial numbers," Grant said, but "We especially need information on MISLS veterans who attended MISLS after the December, 1942 classes.

The information is being sought as a CD-ROM project of the Americans of Japanese Ancestry World War II Memorial Alliance. The Alliance, under its program entitled "Echoes of Silence," seeks to become a repository for children and other descendants of veterans seeking information on their forbearers.

Information for the project can be sent to: JAVA Research, P.O. Box 59, Dum Loring, VA 22027, or e-mailed to: ichikawa@erols.com


Eighth Graders and the teacher who inspired them into making a 120,000-tassel tapestry honoring the Nikkei soldiers of World War II will be featured at the University of Hawaii’s Spring Forum 2002.

Ms. Leila Meyerratken, the Eighth Grade teacher at the Sunnyside and Tecumseh Middle Schools in LaFayette, IN, accompanied by several of her students, will speak March 25 at the Spring Forum being held in the Hawaii Convention Center. The quilt itself, some 19 by 21 feet with the tassels representing the number of Japanese Americans interned in U.S. camps during the war, will be displayed at the Center and then at City Hall.

The twice-yearly Forum series, begun by the University’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences in June, 2000, presents speakers on topical subjects and issues. Ms. Meyerratken and her students will discus the lessons learned through their Nisei Veterans Quilt Project.

The appearance at the Forum will be one of many highlights for the group during their March 23-through-29 stay. Other events scheduled for them include ceremonies at the USS Arizona Memorial and the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. They also will visit various schools in Honolulu and speak to the students on their research and what they learned during their quilt project in addition to being honored by a reception hosted by the Oahu AJA Veterans Council and similar gatherings.

Ms. Meyerratken is making the trip on her own expense while the students with her will be those who were able to raise their own funds. The 442nd Veterans Foundation may consider defraying some of the cost of making the trip.


The 4th Annual Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk in the Nation’s Capital takes placeSaturday, March 30. The walk starts at the National Japanese American at the corner of D Street and News Jersey Ave. NW (nearest Metro stop – Union Station) with the check-in time 9 a.m., the opening ceremony at 10 a.m. and Freedom Walk starting at 10:30 a.m. (See attached flyer for registration form and details.)

--The non-profit Asian Pacific American Heritage Council, Inc. has announced the establishment of scholarships for studies in the fields of business, education, finance, law, public service/administration, or science/engineering. Competition for the scholarships is open to all children of Asian Pacific Americans who are seniors in high school and for undergraduate students matriculating at a college for university. For further information, contact Mark Au, Chairman, APAHC Scholarship Program Committee, Asian Pacific American Heritage Council, Inc., 8800 Fox Hills Trail, Potomac, MD 20854-4211.

-- JAVA’s book on the dedicated service and exploits of Japanese Americans in the Pacific uring World War II is again available. The AMERICAN PATRIOTS: MIS IN THE WAR AGAINST JAPAN , now in its second printing, is a collection of the first-hand accounts of 25 Japanese language specialists who served in the U.S. Military Intelligence Service in all of the major campaigns of the war in the Pacific. The book is timely in that much of the information on the key role played by these linguists, mostly Nisei, was not released until recently. The soft cover book, co-authored by JAVA members Warren Tsuneishi and Stanley L. Falk, is available for $10 plus $2 handling costs (make checks payable to JAVA) which should be sent to: JAVA Book, P.O. Box 59, Dunn Loring, VA 22027.

-- Abbie Salyers, e-mail: salyeral@jmu.edu, is seeking to interview Nisei veterans of WWII for a research paper on the contributions of Nisei troops during that war. Her request initially was to interview a veteran of the 100th/442nd RCT living in the Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, the District of Columbia or Pennsylvania areas since she lives in Virginia. When informed by JAVA webmaster Dave Buto that "we have a large number of veterans who served in the Pacific Theater with the Military Intelligence Service (not the 442nd)" and that "you will find that a complete story would have to include their experiences as translators…read some of their intriguing stories," Ms. Salyers responded by saying she would be definitely interested; "Their role was equally important and their stories are amazing…"

Her interviews will be used for a research paper at James Madison University.