Japanese American Veterans Association


Vol. 1, No. 18, March 1, 2020


 The JAVA Memorial Scholarship Program 


Scholarships for High School Seniors, Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Deadline is March 25

JAVA's annual Memorial Scholarship Program for 2020 is open! The scholarships include The Inouye Memorial Scholarship ($5,000) honoring the late US Senator Daniel K. Inouye’s iconic career of military and civilian public service;  the JAVA Founder’s Scholarship ($3,000), which is awarded in memory of JAVA’s founder, Colonel Sunao Phil Ishio, USAR,  his wife Constance and his son Douglas Ishio; the Kiyoko Tsuboi Taubkin Legacy Scholarship ($2,000),  a tribute to Ms. Kiyoko Tsuboi Taubkin, a longtime supporter of JAVA; as well as JAVA Memorial Scholarships ($1,500), honoring former JAVA veteran members and/or their family members. The 2020 JAVA Memorial Scholarships are:

  • Ranger Grant Hirabayashi Scholarship, in honor of Ranger Grant Jiro Hirabayashi, MIS.

  • Colonel Jimmie Kanaya Scholarship, in honor of Colonel Jimmie Kanaya, a three-war veteran – WW II, Korean and Vietnam.

  • Mitsugi Kasai Scholarship, in honor of CWO 4 Mitsugi Murakami Kasai, MIS veteran.

  • Ben Kuroki Scholarship in honor of Sergeant Ben Kuroki, a gunner in the US Army Air Corps, 505th Bombardment Group.

  • Matsui Scholarship in honor of Victor Matsui, MIS veteran, and his wife Teru.

  • Robert Nakamoto Scholarship, in honor of past JAVA President and Korean War veteran, Bob Nakamoto.

  • Major Mike Okusa Scholarship in honor of Major Muneo Michael Okusa, MIS veteran, and founding member of JAVA.

  • Betty Shima Scholarship, in honor of Betty Fujita Shima, lifelong partner of 442nd veteran, Terry Shima.

  • Shirey Scholarship, in honor of Major Orville Shirey, 442nd veteran and wife and Maud Shirey.

Descendants of those who served in the Army'a 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry, the Military Intelligence Service, Engineer Construction Battalion, or other United States military unit to include the Women’s Army Corps or Army Nurses Corps,.  Current members of JAVA whose membership began prior to April 1, 2018 are eligible to apply.  Children of current JAVA members may also be eligible to apply if the applicant’s parent or guardian was a member of JAVA prior to April 1, 2018. In the case of the Senator Inouye Memorial Scholarship, past or present members of the Army’s 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Reserves are encouraged to apply.  Applicants should demonstrate their lifelong commitment to public and uniformed service leadership for the nation.

Applicants should first review published rules and forms.  Applications and supporting documents must be electronically submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, to javascholarship222@gmail.com  with either “2020 Inouye Memorial Scholarship,” “2020 Founder’s Memorial Scholarship,”  "Kiyoko Tsuboi Taubkin Legacy Scholarship," or “2020 JAVA Memorial Scholarship” and the applicant’s name in the subject line.  Applications not received by that date or that fail to meet the submission requirements will NOT be considered. Applicants will be notified of a decision by early June 2020.  Awards will be presented at the annual JAVA scholarship luncheon on July 18, 2020. 

2020 JAVA Memorial Scholarship Program Overview  here.

2020 US Senator Daniel K. Inouye Memorial Scholarship here.

2020 Founder's Scholarship here.

2020 Kiyoko Tsuboi Taubkin Legacy Scholarship here.

2020 JAVA Memorial Scholarships here.

Book Cover Image: NPS.

Two Japanese Nationals Fought in US Civil War

JAVA Research Team (JRT)

Gettysburg, PA.  The 2015 US National Park Service (NPS) Handbook, Asians and Pacific Islanders and the Civil War provides the names of about 335 Asians and Pacific Islanders who served in the US Civil War.  The enlistees found their way to America from China (74); Guam (22); Hawaii (53); India (49); East Indies (23); Indonesia (5); Japan (2); Malaysia (3); Mauritius (3); Myanmar (2); New Zealand (5); Northern Marianas (4); Pakistan (1); Philippines (56); Polynesia (4); Samoa (1); Singapore (3); Sri Lanka (6); Tahiti (8); Thailand (1); Tonga (4); Unidentified Points of Origin (6). 

Approximately 250 of the Asian and Pacific Islands enlistees, including two Japanese nationals, served using Anglicized names because recruiters had difficulty spelling foreign names. Recruiters were under intense pressure to meet demanding recruitment quotas, enlistees could not write their names in English, and administrators did not care.  Many were listed as “Joe.”  Ruthanne Lum McCunn, a principal writer of the Handbook, said “the lists of Asian Pacific Islander enlistees in the book do not differentiate between Union and Confederate combatants.  By far the majority fought for Union.  But some did fight for the Confederacy.”

McCunn also noted that the reasons Asian nationals listed for serving in the Civil War were “defense of the homeland, desire for citizenship which was promised to foreigners, opposition to slavery, and adventure.”

Information in the Handbook and independent research have helped to compile the profiles of the two Japanese nationals who used Anglicized names, Pvt John Williams and Pvt Simon Dunn.  Despite their best efforts, JRT has not succeeded in identifying their Japanese names.  If anyone has or succeeds in obtaining their Japanese names would you kindly share that information with JRT at javaotomac@gmail.com.

Pvt Williams was age 22, born in Japan, 5’ 1” tall; black hair, dark complexion and a laborer. He enlisted at the 3rd District Enrollment Board, New York, on August 25, 1864 and served in the 1st Regiment New York Cavalry (Lincoln).  He arrived in the US to study 10 days before he enlisted.  McCunn remarked in an article about the book that according to historian Katsuya Hirano, “if Williams knew how to ride, perhaps even fight, he could have been of samurai origin.” 

After each hard day of fighting, Williams and his fellow cavalrymen would unsaddle and rub down their horses, feed them and saddle them up again.  They then slept, fully dressed with rifles at their side, anticipating the bugle to sound to mount their horses for another engagement.  In 1864 the 1st Regiment fought in the Shenandoah Valley campaign.  Williams was engaged in combat operations until he was hospitalized in the 3rd Division Cavalry Corps Hospital with fever caused by a disease called “febris remittens” and later transferred to Armory Square General Hospital in Washington, DC.  Today this disease is called remittent fever, the symptoms of which are elevated body temperature showing fluctuation each day but never falling to normal.   He was not able to ride with the regiment for the final discharge ceremony in New York on June 27, 1865 but was discharged from the hospital earlier on June 16.

Pvt Dunn, described as 5’ tall, was born in 1842 in Japan.  He was recruited in Brooklyn, New York on December 7, 1863 for Co E, 158th Infantry, New York, known as the “1st Empire Brigade.”  Dunn’s unit served in combat in Beaufort, North Carolina in August 1864; in Swansborough and Jackson, NC in February 1864; Petersburg, VA in August 1864; Richmond, VA in 1864; Appomattox, VA from March 28 to April 9, 1865.  His unit was in Appomattox when General Robert E. Lee was at the Appomattox Court House on April 9 for the surrender ceremony.  Dunn and his fellow infantrymen were mustered out of the 158th on June 30, 1865 and transferred to Co D, 100 Infantry, New York, on July 1, 1865.  He was discharged from the Union Army on August 28, 1865 at Richmond, VA.

[JRT comment.  We thank Dr. Jim McNaughton for donating to JRT the NPS Handbook, Asians and Pacific Islanders and the Civil War, which opened research challenges to identify the first ethnic Japanese to serve in the US military. We also thank Ms McCunn for responding so helpfully to our numerous questions. Obtaining the true names of Pvt John Williams and Pvt Simon Dunn is our goal (a ) to conduct continued research as to what the two Union Army soldiers did after the Civil War and (b) to identify the first ethnic Japanese to serve in the US military.]

JAVA to Co-Sponsor 22nd Annual Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk

Saturday, March 28, 2020

National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism during World War II

Check in: 9:00 AM

Performance: 9:30 AM

Program: 10:00 AM

Walk: 11:00 AM

Location: Intersection of New Jersey Ave., Louisiana Ave. & D St.

More information & Preregistration 


Rain or Shine!

Day of Remembrance Panel at Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Photo: Richard Struss, NMAH.

2020 Day of Remembrance at the Smithsonian

To mark the 2020 Day of Remembrance, the annual recognition of President Roosevelt’s signing Executive Order 9066 and resulting incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans, JAVA along with the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation and the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation co-sponsored “Not for Sale: Preserving and Sharing a Community Collection” exhibit’s evening event at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The exhibit featured photographs, carvings, paintings, sculptures – all handmade by Japanese Americans imprisoned in camps during WWII. Besides showcasing their talents, the wares also showcased the artists’ resourcefulness and ingenuity as the tools and materials used, were, for the most part, discarded objects. JAVA member and Smithsonian Museum Specialist Noriko Sanefuji remarked that she particularly loved and was moved by the family nameplates. “Many are carved on wood with names written in Japanese or English. The personal details that artists added when crafting a nameplate were fascinating.” Noriko added that it was clear that “a unique nameplate provided not only a way to identify a 'home' among thousands of inmate families living together but also provided a way to claim one’s sense of identity and make the best out of the situation.”

Although the pop-up show was up for less than 24 hours, a sizeable crowd of several hundred, viewed the artifacts and attended the fascinating panel discussion. Panel members presented different aspects of how the collection was formed. Ann Burroughs, President, and CEO, Japanese American National Museum (JANM), moderated and explained that the objects were originally collected by Allen Eaton, author of the 1952 book Beauty Behind Barbed Wire: The Arts of Japanese in Our War Relocation Camps. Eaton was a folklife expert and traveled to camps to document the craftwork of internees. Works were then given by internees to Eaton with the idea that they would be used for research purposes in his book to help tell the stories of the Japanese Americans' lives “behind barbed wire.”

Shirley Ann Higuchi, Foundation Chair, Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation (HMWF), told the audience about the legal battle that took place over the 400-plus collection, now part of the JANM. She related that with Eaton’s death, the objects passed to first to his daughter, then to her friend, and eventually the friend’s son, who put the collection up for auction with Rago Arts in early 2015. When HMWF got wind of the auction, they realized the egregious violation of a marginalized group’s property and the necessity and urgency of making sure the collection was returned to the Japanese American community. The HMWF first requested that Rago stop the sale and donate the collection, an offer that was rejected. Next, they offered $50,000 to purchase the collection, twice its stated value, which was also rejected. A lawsuit followed, with HMWF arguing that the objects were “wrongly held. Incarcerates gave their works to Eaton to educate the public in an exhibition that never took place.” The New York Times, the LA Times and other papers picked up the story, and a public outcry ensued.

Separate from the HMWF endeavor, an unrelated, but similar effort was underway. Nancy Ukai, Project Director, 50 Objects, spearheaded a social media protest on Change.org and Facebook. The immorality of selling the cultural artifacts of the Japanese Americans wrongfully imprisoned during WWII stuck a chord with Americans. The Change.org petition, “Japanese American History Not For Sale” went “viral.” In describing the outrage, Nancy told listeners that more than “1000 people a day signed the petition.” The petition, along with the NHMF lawsuit threat, helped to halt the auction.

The collection now permanently resides at JANM. Clement Hanami, Curator at the Japanese American National Museum, discussed that JANM is tasked with cleaning, stabilizing and storing the objects and, of course, making them accessible to the public. The current exhibit, "Contested Histories: Art and Artifacts from the Allen Hendershott Eaton Collection" has allowed the museum  to connect some of the objects with the actual artists to establish provenance, or place of origin, as well as to amplify the story of the Japanese Americans during WWII. Indeed, much of the data and research on the objects have been established through “crowd-sourcing.” Since the Smithsonian audience had only a brief time to spend with the collection, for a second look, Clement suggested going to the website http://www.janm.org/exhibits/contested-histories/. Before the panel discussion came to a close, Secretary Norman Mineta, JANM trustee, David Inoue, Executive Director, Japanese American Citizens League, Floyd Mori, Board Member, National Japanese American Memorial Foundation, and Shirley Ann Higuchi of HMWF, explained how the halting of the sale galvanized the Japanese American community and created the momentum to form the now several organizations strong Japanese American Confinement Sites Consortium. The Consortium is "committed to collectively preserving, protecting, and interpreting the history of the World War II experiences of Japanese Americans and elevating the related social justice lessons that inform current issues today." Panel members concluded by reiterating the importance of exhibit as part of a larger effort of telling the JA story so that it might never happen again in the United States.

California State Assemblymember Albert Muratsuchi (D-Torrance)

CA State Assembly Apologizes to JAs for Past Injustices

Muratsuchi Introduces HR 77 Nearly 78 Years After E.O. 9066

Reprinted from Pacific Citizen, February 8, 2020

P.C. Staff Report

LOS ANGELES — The California State Assembly has apologized for its past role in abetting the abrogation of constitutional and civil rights of Americans and legal permanent residents of Japanese ancestry before and during WWII.

California State Assemblymember Albert Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) introduced HR 77 into the lower house on Jan. 28, just weeks before the 78th anniversary of President Roosevelt’s Feb. 19, 1942 Executive Order 9066 and the 37th anniversary of the report issued on Feb. 24, 1983 by the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians.

“Every year during the years I’ve been in the California Legislature, I’ve introduced a resolution to commemorate the Day of Remembrance, that I know many communities across the country observe to remember the lessons of Executive Order 9066,” Muratsuchi told the Pacific Citizen.

“But this year I wanted to do something different and have California lead by example. While our nation’s capital is hopelessly divided along party lines and President Trump is putting immigrant families and children in cages, the California Legislature, with HR 77 will be issuing an official, bipartisan measure for its own actions taken that led to the incarceration of over 120,000 loyal Americans of Japanese ancestry behind barbed wire.”

Muratsuchi cited as co-authors Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) and Assembly Minority Leader Marie Waldron (R-Escondido) and the bill itself lists as co-authors Assemblymembers Ed Chau, David Chiu, Todd Gloria and Phil Ting.

In addition to acknowledging and apologizing for California’s role in the U.S.’ treatment of Japanese Americans during WWII, HR 77 also does the same for legislation that dates back to the state’s alien land laws of 1913 and 1920, which proscribed immigrant Asians — who were at the time ineligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens — from owning or leasing in the long-term land, especially for farming. Following California’s lead, many other states also enacted similar alien land laws until they were ruled unconstitutional in 1952.

Muratsuchi said the purpose of the resolution was to also educate all Americans on actions by “state leaders like California Gov. Hiram Johnson and Attorney General Earl Warren leading the calls for discriminatory laws and actions, and newspapers like the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle fanning the populist flames of anti-Japanese sentiment” while highlighting how in the present day “California leads the country in so many ways,” including by recognizing its past faults.

Weeks after the U.S. declared war on Japan following its attack on the then-territory of Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor naval base on Dec. 7, 1941, Roosevelt — at the recommendation of Army Gen. John L. DeWitt and others — issued E.O. 9066, which led to the forced removal, as well as voluntary evacuation, from the Pacific Coast of some 120,000 residents of Japanese ancestry. The bulk of that number, who were U.S. citizens, were subsequently incarcerated in several government-run camps, including 10 operated by the War Relocation Authority in remote areas of the nation.

Decades later, the report of the CWRIC, which investigated the government’s role in the treatment of American citizens and legal permanent residents of Japanese ancestry during WWII, concluded that what had occurred was the result of “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.”

HR 77 can be read in it entirety at https://tinyurl.com/qmcdwgl.

In Los Angeles County, a Day of Remembrance commemoration took place on February 15 in the city of Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo at the Japanese American National Museum, 100 North Central Ave. In Gardena, a Day of Remembrance event took place on February 23 at Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute, 1964 W. 162nd St.

[Ed Note: Sandra Tanamachi submitted the above article to the e-Advocate.]


December 27, 2019, Chito Isonaga proudly wearing her World War II Army Occupation Medal with Japan clasp, and the Presidential Unit Citation.

 Chito Isonaga in uniform. Photos: Courtesy of Mae Isonaga

Chito Isonaga

Jeff Morita

Lihue, Hawaii — On February 5, 2020 at age 104, Ms. Chito Isonaga perhaps one of the latest surviving Nisei Veterans of the US Army Women’s Auxiliary Corps, and Military Intelligence Service (MIS) passed away peacefully with her family at her side.  "Aunty Chito" enlisted into the US Army on November 24, 1944 and because of her Japanese language skills attended the MIS Language School at Fort Snelling, Minnesota and eventually became one of the Japanese language instructors.  Post World War II Aunty Chito was assigned to General Headquarters (GHQ), US Army Forces Pacific (Japan).  On February 26, 1946 she was separated at Camp Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan with the rank of Sergeant.  From the 1954 to 1970 the Central Intelligence Agency employed her.  For Aunty Chito’s exemplary and honorable World War II service to her country she was awarded the Army Good Conduct Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; World War II Army Occupation Medal with Japan clasp; the Presidential Unit Citation (formerly known as the Distinguished Unit Badge); and the Congressional Gold Medal.

See http://nisei.hawaii.edu/page/chito for her story.

Chito Isonaga (kneeling bottom right). Photo: US Signal Corps.

Roy  Fujiwara 

February 15, 1918 to November 16, 2019

Roy was born to Teruzo and Komachi Takehara Fujiwara on February 15, 1918. He had five siblings – Yoshio, Fumiko, Chiyoko, Hideko and Shigeko. He met Seiko Kanogawa in Seattle and they married on October 5, 1947. Roy and Sei had their son, Tod, and lived most of their lives in Seattle, Washington.

While Roy’s family was incarcerated in Tule Lake, Jerome (and Sei in Minidoka) internment camps during WWII, Roy served in L Company of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team,carrying a Browning Automatic Rifle.  In the historic battle to Break the Gothic Line, Roy ascended the steep Mount Folgorito through the darkness with his comrades. At the top of the climb, Roy was shot. Miraculously, the bullet that entered his face and ricocheted through his shoulder would not be fatal. For hours, Roy was carried back down and survived.

Later in life, Roy was able to revisit with Sei, and later with Tod, the French and Italian battlegrounds of WWII. He was one of five Nikkei World War II veterans selected to ride in the 2015 Rose Parade. He would say that he was representing the “boy’s who did not return” and that of all his medals and awards including the Congressional Gold Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation was the one he valued the most.

Roy moved to Hawaii to live with Tod for his last years of life. He was feisty until his last days, connecting quietly with friends who visited. Roy passed away peacefully at home with Tod on November 16, 2019. A memorial celebration of Roy’s life was held on February 15, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. As was his wish, Roy will be laid to rest at the Tahoma National cemetery in Kent, Washington.

[EdNote: Our thanks to Sandra Tanamachi for sending the article and photo.] 

Mineko Sakai
April 27,1924 – January 27, 2020

Mineko Hirasaki Sakai, 95, resident of Morgan Hill, California passed away peacefully on January 27, 2020. Born and raised in Gilroy, California, only leaving during WWII when relocated with her family to Grand Junction, Colorado, where she met her future husband Lawson Iichiro Sakai.

She and Lawson married in 1946, moved to Los Angeles, but returned to Gilroy after 2 years. They eventually opened their own travel business which they ran until retiring in 1990. She served on the Board of Directors of Wheeler Hospital and South County Hospital and volunteered for both as well as St. Louise Hospital for nearly 50 years. Mineko traveled extensively and enjoyed many hobbies including golfing, knitting, sewing, and quilting.

She is survived by husband Lawson Sakai, children Kenneth (Lynda) Sakai, Joanne Sakai (Dallas Foster), Janet (Noriaki) Ito, and Dennis Sakai (Linda Durrin), grandchildren, Kelly (Francesca) Sakai, Nicholas Sakai, Mika Ito (Byron Yamada), Gaku Ito (Aya Ino), Kisa Ito (Erik Fujinami), Stephen Sakai, Kimberlee Sakai (Morad Alvarez), great-granddaughter Mie Yamada, and sister Aiko Elsie (Lawrence – predeceased) Nakamura, sisters-in-law Sumi Hirasaki, Jean Hirasaki, Joanne Hirasaki and brother-in-law Kazuto Oki, as well as many nieces and nephews. She is predeceased by her parents Haruye Hirasaki and Kiyoshi Hirasaki and siblings Manabi Hirasaki, Fumiko (Kenji) Maruko, Michiko (William) Sakamoto, Hisashi Hirasaki, Shinobu Hirasaki and Midori Oki.

Private funeral services were held on February 8, 2020 at Gavilan Hills Memorial Park in Gilroy, California. A public memorial service was held on March 21, 2020 at the Morgan Hill Buddhist Community Center.

[EdNote: Our thanks to Sandra Tanamachi for sending the obituary originally posted in Rafu Shimpo.] 

Raymond Arthur McKeague

Raymond Arthur McKeague 90, of Kahalu'u, passed away peacefully on 12 January 2020. Born in Honolulu, he retired from the US Army (combat tours in Korea and twice in Vietnam) and the Honolulu Police Dept. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Adeline Lani McKeague; sons: Kelly (Nancy), Kevin (Susan) and Sean (Debi); six grandchildren and one great granddaughter. A mass was held on February 14 at the Co-Cathedral of St Theresa. Inurnment followed at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl.

One of Raymond's son is Major General Kelly McKeague (Ret), Director of the Defense Prisoner of War and Missing Personnel Accounting Agency. MG McKeague is also a JAVA member and has served as a principal speaker at several JAVA luncheons. 


[Ed Note: Wade Ishimoto shared the Star Advertiser Obituary.]

Toyome “Terry” Nakanishi

December 27, 1921 - February 4, 2020

Based on The Monterey Herald, February 16, 2020 article.

Monterey, CA.  Toyome "Terry" Nakanishi, age 98, passed away in Monterey, CA on February 4, 2020.  Nakanishi was born in Ucon, ID on December 27, 1921.   She was the third eldest child, with 3 brothers and 2 sisters.  After high school, she enlisted in the U.S. Army and was sent to Fort Snelling to serve in the Women's Army Corps (WAC). There she met Toshio "Lefty" Nakanishi at a dance in the field house. The two were married just two months later in the Fort Snelling church. 

Terry was assigned to G2 Intelligence Headquarters, Tokyo, under General MacArthur. She provided administration and limited translation support for trials of war criminals like Imperial Japanese Army General Hideki Tojo.  She also was the secretary of LTC Paul Rusch, who had served at the Military Intelligence Service Language School at Ft Snelling, MN.

Throughout her life, her kindness shined through, always wanting to share and give to others. She spent years as a Candy Striper at the Fort Ord Army Hospital and volunteered at numerous VFW events.

She received the Congressional Gold Medal for her military service during WWII and the story of her service is featured at the Smithsonian Institution. 

She is preceded in death by her parents, Yano and Mohachi, stepdad Toraki, husband Colonel Toshio Nakanishi, sisters Michiko, and Yaeko, and brothers, Kiyoshi and Yoshito. Terry is survived by her brother, Shozo, two sons, Calvin and Greg, two daughters-in-law, Charmen and Dawn, three grandchildren.

Funeral services were held March 14, 2020 at at El Estero Presbyterian Church (490 Camino El Estero), Monterey, CA.

[EdNote: This article was provided by Jeff Morita.]

Questions or Suggestions: Please contact Neet Ford, JAVA e-Advocate Editor, at javapotomac@gmail.com.

Japanese American Veterans Association:  Address: P.O. Box 341198, Bethesda, MD 20827 I https://java.wildapricot.org 

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