____NOVEMBER/DECEMBER, 2000___________VOLUME VIII * NUMBER 6__
Those who worked so hard on its preparations and organization can heave a sigh of relief now that the dedication of the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism has been such a great success. There were many JAVA members who volunteered their time and services for this worthwhile project. There are to be highly commended. But the greater tribute must be paid to the dedicated people who, over the many trying years, were able to accomplish the task of raising this unique memorial dedicated to the sacrifice and loyalty of an American ethnic community whose belief in democracy and love of country never faltered. If it were not for the Go For Broke National Veterans Association, the parent organization of the project and Congressional leaders such a Daniel Inouye, Norman Mineta, Robert Matsui and others, there would not have been a memorial. And for those who accepted the responsibility and carried on the task through many trying months such as Chairman Emeritus Judge Bill Marutani and current Chairman of the NJAMF Board Mel Chiogioji and current Executive Director Cherry Tsutsumida we offer congratulations for a job well done. Gokurosama deshita.
There had been some dissatisfaction expressed by veterans associations about the paucity of their representation at the ground-breaking ceremony. A Veterans Coordinating Sub-Committee was organized so that the veterans might have more of a role, and a Veterans' Day Breakfast and a Memorial Service were incorporated into the program as well as the display of organization colors. Both events were successful due in no small part to JAVA and other volunteers. We are especially grateful to those organizations which brought their colors to the dedication and allowed them to be displayed. They included the 100th Bn, 442nd RCT (from Senator Inouye's office); the MIS (NorCal, SoCal, NW, Hawaii); the Oregon Nisei Veterans, Inc.; the Nisei Veterans Committee of Seattle, WA; JAVA, and the American Legion Nisei Post 185 of Denver, CO.
Elsewhere in this newsletter are articles about the Veterans Oral History Project and the American Folklike Center by Warren Tsuneishi. We plan to pursue this further as a possible project for JAVA.
During September, an informal meeting of interested individuals met with Ted Tsukiyama, historian of the Hawaii 442nd Club, to talk about the many years of work of Dick and Fumi Yamamoto collecting National Archives material by Records Group (RG) numbers from 11 government agencies such as the Departments of the Army and Navy, and other headquarters. There is still a vast amount of documents to be examined. There has been no similar undertaking for MIS material in the Archives, and the continuing project should begin to include this material as well. This matter will be brought up at the next JAVA Executive Committee meeting.
I am glad to report that JAVA members have continued to be active in spreading the word about Nisei service in WWII. Among them are Kelly Kuwayama, Grant Hirabayashi and Joe Ichiuji, who took part in the Freedom Museum's Second Annual Festival at the Manassas, VA., airport. Stan Falk spoke on "The Nisei Soldier" to a luncheon of the Rotary Club of Alexandria in September. Joe was interviewed in July for a documentary TV program entitled "This Week in History" on internment camps for Japanese Americans in WWII, which was conducted at the Arlington Cemetery grave site of his friend Lloyd Onoye. It will be aired on the History Channel at 9 p.m. on December 15. Joe was previously interviewed on the History Channel in connection with the WWII Memorial ground breaking ceremony. Joe was also interviewed by CNN Morning News in connection with the NJAM dedication. JAVA veterans of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, etc. are encouraged to share their experiences before they are forgotten and lost. By the next Executive Council meeting, we hope to have a committee established to formalize our efforts in this direction.
The Salute 2001 All Nikkei Veterans and Family Event will be held August 3-6 of next year in Los Angeles' "Little Tokyo." We are wholeheartedly in support of this event and encourage our JAVA members to take part in it. For those interested in attending, a brief description of the program of events is included elsewhere in this newsletter. A number of registration forms and brochures are available. Call (301) 460-0401 and a copy of each will be sent to you.
We hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and we hope you will have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
A MEMORIAL . . . FOR THE AGES: A Personal Report by Calvin Ninomiya
The dedication of the National Japanese American Memorial November 9-11 can be viewed from two perspectives: first, from that of JAVA, which will be remembered for its role in making the commemoration such a distinguished event; secondly, from the inevitable personal feelings that were awakened.
The memorial, within sight of the Capitol dome, is the first ethnic memorial to grace the streets of Washington under U.S. Park Service jurisdiction.
At the time of the dedication, the memorial had not yet been completed, but the symbolic centerpiece -- a pair of golden cranes that appear to be pirouetting upwards seeking release from the barbed wire that that coil around them, was in place. So were the black granite walls on which are inscribed the names of 812 Japanese American servicemen who died during the second World War. A fountain and plantings of cherry trees will complete the monument.
Along other walls are statements of government and JA leaders who have played a prominent part in recent Japanese American history. Somehow, the messages inscribed, particularly in the glow of this unique celebratory occasion, seemed altogether appropriate, sublimating the controversy that has at times marred the memorial's preparation.
From JAVA's standpoint, this may seem self-congratulatory. But the dedication, and particularly, the Veterans' Day observance, that was an integral part of the celebration, could not have occurred (or as well) without JAVA participation.
Somehow, JAVA's role in the dedication seemed entirely consonant with the message of the cranes and the inscribed walls. In symbolism and in words, they convey an awareness that the ignominy of the Japanese American evacuation in the nation's history has now been transformed into a remembrance…and a recognition that is both ennobling and cathartic. Those named on the monument and their former comrades in arms who had come, in person and in spirit, for this crowning reunion had, together, made it possible.
Fred Murakami and his small JAVA committee participated thoughtfully and patiently through the long planning effort, one that the Memorial Foundation spearheaded. That fact is that the dedication, given the large anticipated attendance, the impressive array of events, spanning three days, with the presence of numerous dignitaries, could not have occurred without that kind of effort.
Since the dedication was to occur within two days of Veterans Day, the principal planning committee gave JAVA the responsibility for the military veterans part of the celebration. So, for November 11, under the leadership of JAVA president Phil Ishio, a Veterans Day breakfast and a memorial service at the dedication site were held.
Capacity attendance occurred at both events. Congressional Medal of Honor winner Hershey Miyamura, a veteran of the Korean War, spoke at the breakfast. Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera was the main speaker at the memorial service. Also in attendance was another Congressional Medal awardee, George Sakato.
The three days of celebration ended with "A More Perfect Union" reception at the Smithsonian, where guests were able to visit the continually impressive relocation center exhibit while enjoying a lavish sushi buffet.
In retrospect, one is convinced that the participation and contribution of JAVA to the dedication added a new dimension to its mission. Given its Washington location, and now with the Memorial to Patriotism here, JAVA will inevitably become not only a representational base for Japanese American veterans and service personnel everywhere, but by its national presence, be a reminder of a transcendent patriotism.
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From the more personal perspective, each attendee undoubtedly came away from the dedication with his or her own remembrances. Some of it will have been tearful … some of joy and elation…of pride…of regret…of sadness…of closure. And, all of it will have been …intensely personal.
For those who missed what was sometimes represented as the last great event of Japanese American history, the consolation is that the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism will be here waiting for you to see. And once viewed, you shall come away knowing that the history lesson on Americanism and patriotism that the monument provides is being passed on as a proud legacy to all Americans, even to those yet unborn.
Indeed, if any reader has not yet seen the memorial, and there should come an opportunity to do so, by all means, it should not be missed. Admittedly, the exhilarating spirit of the dedication will be missing, but as you view the cranes, the walls and the inscriptions, your heart will know that you have become, together with those servicemen whose names appear thereon, a part of the memorial itself -- the remembrance shall be…for the ages.
JAPANESE AMERICANS DISUNITED?
Two members of the Board of Directors of the Memorial Foundation, Yeiichi "Kelly" Kuwayama and Francis Sogi have issued a 21-page pamphlet strongly challenging the inscriptions on the recently dedicated Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism.
Both are also members of JAVA.
Under the title, "JAPANESE AMERICANS DISUNITED; How a memorial to unify the Japanese American community became a symbol of disunity," the two say that "Unfortunately, instead of a symbol of unity and honor, the Memorial became a monument to disunity."
Despite what the authors say was a "swelling tided of dissatisfaction from concerned citizens, veterans, historians and other scholars," the Memorial Board, the Commission on Fine Arts and the National Park Service "have displayed indifference to matters of historical accuracy and insensitivity to deep divisions in Japanese America that go back to the war itself."
"The pamphlet," they said, "is our contribution to the historical record of how the Japanese American Memorial was established, joined by a critical analysis of its inscriptions, and an account of the protest these inscriptions engendered."
They said the pamphlet was in response to a suggestion from Robert Stanton, director of the National Park Service, that "a pamphlet should be produced which will give more information to the visitors."
The authors strongly object not only to a quote from the late Mike Masaoka's "Japanese American Creed," but to the description etched in stone next to h is name as a "civil rights advocate," backing their objections with quotes from Masaoka's own writings during the hectic days of WWII.
The authors also claim that there are at least four significant errors in the narrative inscribed on the momument.
Kuwayama said in a cover letter with the pamphlet that as a director on the Board he felt that the Monument should be a "memorial to the loyalty, courage, sadrifice and contributions made by the Nisei and their parents during World War II and "should not aggrandize any ethnic organization nor any un-elected individual."
Kuwayama said he, with Sogi in agreement, the objections were being voiced though he and Sogi "have endorsed the Memorial and its construction as a tribute to the 800 or so (Nikkei) men who died during WWII."
Kuwayama said that he has had 1,000 copies of the pamphlet printed and that they were available by writing to him at: 4852 Reservoir Rd., Washington, D.C. 20007.
Calvin Ninomiya, JAVA's new vice president, comes to our organization from the world of high national and international finance.
Since 1995 to the present he has been legal adviser on "Government Securities Issuance and Management Concerns" in the Office of Technical Assistance at the U.S. Treasury.
His assignments have included drafting of State debt laws and related legislation, regulations and agreements for several countries of Central and Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union including Moldova, Latvia, Croatia, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Kyrgyz Republic, and Slovakia.
More recent assignments include legislative projects for Thailand and West Central Africa.
Prior to his assignment at the Office of Technical Assistance, Ninomiya served from 1975 to 1995 as chief counsel at the Bureau of Public Debt at the Treasury. There, he supervised a legal staff of 26 lawyers and support staff sited in three locations.
The Bureau addressed the legal problems involved in administering the country's $5 trillion public debt. The Bureau focused on legal/policy concerns such as legal authority, securities regulations, personnel and administrative matters, and designed investment options, investor protection and similar programs.
Born in Seattle, Calvin served in the U.S. Army 1945-46 and was at Fort Snelling at the time of his discharge. He lost a brother, Ban, who was with the 442nd RCT when he was killed in action on October 29, 1944 during the 442nd's daring and costly rescue of the Texas "Lost Battalion" in Bruyeres, France.
Calvin is a graduate of the University of Washington in Seattle where he earned a B.A., got his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, and a Masters degree from the University of Maryland's Department of Government and Politics.
He and his wife, who have three children, live in Chevy Chase, MD.
THE NISEI SOLDIER, a book review by Warren Tsuneishi
(The Nisei Soldier; historical essays on World War II and the Korean War, 2nd edition, by Edwin M. Nakasone. Published by J-Press, 4790 N. 126th St., White Bear Lake, MN 5510. 204 pp. Includes illustrations and bibliographical lists. Paperback. Price $23.50, including postage and handling.)
This book is an unusual addition to its genre -- historical accounts by Nisei veterans describing their experiences during World War II and its aftermath. It comprises 12 essays by an academic (Nakasone is professor of history at Century College, White Bear Lake, MN) reflecting not only on his own experience (one essay) but also on other topics not directly related to "Nisei soldiers."
The title, in fact, is something of a misnomer, since eight of the 12 essays relate to these other topics, such as the Japanese planning for the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Kamikaze, Tokyo Rose, balloon bombing of the U.S., Japanese Peruvians, Chiune Sugihara (the Japanese consular official in Eastern Europe responsible for saving the lives of Jewish refugees, and an unusual account of interviews conducted by the author in 1989 of Japanese POWs taken during WWII.
Two of the four remaining essays provide synoptic accounts of the history and organization of the 100th/442nd RCT and the MIS, as well as individual battles, campaigns, and battlefield heroes. The their essay, written in fact by Col. Spady Koyama, tells the moving story of a friendship developed with a Japanese POW in Hollandia, New Guinea, in 1943 and subsequently renewed in Tokyo in 1949, while the fourth, narrated by Sus Shinagawa, is a gripping account of captivity by North Korean troops.
(Note: Acquisitive collectors interested in getting their hands on every possible book published on the subject may wish to know that the first edition, issued by J-Press in 1997, while no longer available from the publisher, may nevertheless still be purchased from the Minnesota Historical Society Museum Bookstore, Historic Ft. Snelling, Ft. Snelling History Center, St. Paul, MN 55111, for $12.95 postpaid. Note that five essays found in this paperback of 92 pages are replicated in the 2nd edition.)
JAVA NOTIFIED OF NOTICE OF LIBRARY OF CONGRESS VETERANS AUDIO-VISUAL ORAL HISTORY PROJECT FOR THE INTERNET
JAVA along with other veterans organizations has been informed that the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress launched an audio and audio-visual program for the internet to collect and preserve personal experience stories and oral histories of America's war veterans.
The program, started on this year's Veterans' Day, wants war veterans, their families, veteran groups, communities and students to audio-and video-tape the memories of veterans' time in service.
The Center has initiated the planning phase of the project and by December hopes to have guidelines to assist the public in conducting local documentation. The Library plans to create a network of partnerships throughout the United States to encourage affiliated organizations, community groups and individuals to collect these recollections and first-hand accounts.
"Collecting the oral histories of American veterans is a critical task in preserving our history and an urgent need as we enter the 21st Century," Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said in announcing the program.
"These histories will be an invaluable resource for future generations and will become part of the nation's vast historical record that the Library of Congress has preserved for 200 years."
The oral history project was authorized by Congress and signed into law last October by President Clinton.
More than 19 million war veterans are living in the United States today including about 3,400 WW1 and 6 million WWII veterans but almost 1,500 die each day, according to the Library.
"The American Folklife Center will preserve these folk histories of our everyday war heroes from every corner of the nation and will offer selections from their stories back to the American people over the internet," Dr. Peggy Bulger, the Center's director, said.
Information about the Veterans' Oral History Project can be obtained from the Center's web site: www.loc.gov/folklife , by writing to: The Veterans' Oral History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540, or by calling: (888) 371-5848.
"CONSCIENCE AND THE CONSTITUTION" TO BE AIRED DECEMBER 3
The television program, "Conscience and the Constitution" which presents the stand taken by Japanese-Americans who refused to report for induction into the U.S. Army from the "relocation centers" during WWII, will be aired in the Washington, D.C. area December 23 on Channel 32, Howard University's public television station.
Minoru "Min" Hara, long-time JAVA member and veteran of the fighting against the Japanese in the South Pacific during World War II, died December 2 in New York. The funeral and memorial services were held Sunday, December 10, at the New York Buddhist Church. He was born October 24, 1922.
Hara, originally from Terminal Island in California, volunteered for service from the Ware Relocation Authority camp in Poston, AR, and after training in Camp Savage, MN, served with the 6th Infantry Division, training in Milne Bay, British New Guinea, and participated in three landings in Dutch New Guinea, where he and two others of his linguist team. The three all earned their Combat Infantryman's Badge. He also was involved in the fighting in Northern Luzon, in the Philippines, and participated in the landing of American forces at Lingayen Gulf. Plans are underway for interment of his ashes at the Columbarium in Arlington National Cemetery later this year.
Mrs. Maruko Ishiyama, September 5, 1902 to November 3, 2000. Mrs. Ishiyama, mother of Haruko Ishiyama and Kyoko Ikari, mother-in-law of Norman Ikari, passed away November 3 at her home in Denver, Colorado. Death came quickly of aortic aneurysm, sparing her of any prolonged suffering. Memorial services were held November 9 at the Simpson United Methodist Church in Arvada, CO.
c (George e Yuzawa to fax over bio on Min Hara for news letter. Yuzawa phone: (201) 384-4704. Frank Abe's "Conscience and the Constitution" on Channel 32 Dec. 23, 9 p.m.. Abe's phone in Seattle H (206) 722-5971 or (206) 722-5981.