Japanese American Veterans Association
Vol. 2, No. 29, January 1, 2021
The past year will be an unforgettable year. It will be remembered for COVID-19, lockdowns, wearing of masks, staying at home, and social distancing. Despite all of this, we saw the development of a vaccine in record breaking time, and, overall, 2020 was a successful year for JAVA. The year’s highlights include:
- LTG Michael Nagata (USA) was the keynote speaker at the January general membership meeting. LTG Nagata was presented with JAVA’s highest award, the Courage, Honor, and Patriotism Award. The Terry T. Shima Leadership Award was bestowed on Bill Houston. The Veterans Advocate Award was presented to Judy Brubaker, Principal (Retired), and to Teresa Potterton, Music Director (Retired), of the Spark M. Matsunaga Elementary School, Germantown, MD.
- The general membership approved substantial revisions to the JAVA by-laws allowing for more transparency and accountability in how JAVA is to be governed.
- The first Day of Affirmation ceremony was held by JAVA at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC to commemorate President Truman’s tribute on July 15, 1946 that the Nisei soldiers who served in World War II are American heroes. LTC Brett Egusa (USAR) served as the military escort. The two wreath bearers were Catherine Luette, daughter of Maj. Orville Shirey, who served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and Turner Kobayashi, son of Key Kobayashi, who served with the Military Intelligence Service.
- JAVA awarded thirteen scholarships in July. The Scholarship Committee received a record high number of applications. The presentations were done virtually with all the recipients participating. Chris DeRosa, Scholarship Committee Chair, presided over the ceremony.
- JAVA’s Veterans Day Program was live streamed in front of the names of the almost 800 Nisei soldiers who were killed while serving during World War II. The granite panels of these inscribed names are located within the National Japanese American Memorial in Washington, DC. Rear Admiral Andrew Sugimoto (USCG) was the featured speaker. The National Japanese American Memorial Foundation was a co-sponsor.
- For the first time, the Department of Veterans Affairs selected and listed JAVA’s November 11th program on the VA’s website as one of the “Veterans Day observances throughout the country that represents a fitting tribute to America’s heroes.”
- November also saw the hosting of the 72nd Annual Memorial Day Program at Arlington National Cemetery, which JAVA co-sponsors with JACL DC and NJAMF. Rescheduled due to COVID, the Program which was started in 1948 by Key Kobayashi and continues to be organized by the Kobayashi family, is the longest running Memorial Day service at Arlington. JAVA EC member CAPT Cynthia Macri, MD, USN (Ret), served as the keynote speaker at the event.
- JAVA sponsored its first fundraiser and is grateful to all the donors whose generous support will help JAVA to pay for its programs and operating expenses.
- The Postmaster General’s approval of a Nisei Soldier stamp that will be issued in 2021 brought a successful completion to the campaign that JAVA fully supported. JAVA played a substantial role in having the United States Postal Service (USPS) assure us that “the stamp design honors all Japanese Americans who served in World War II.”
With 2020 still in the rearview mirror, JAVA’s Executive Council is planning to build on these successes with the hope that 2021 will be an even more eventful year for JAVA.
I thank the Members of the Executive Council, JAVA Committees, and Neet Ford — JAVA’s Administrator — for their dedication in making JAVA’s programs truly successful. And, on behalf of JAVA, I wish all of our JAVA Members and Friends a very Happy New Year!!!
United States Postal Service Responds to JAVA Request to Include MIS
In mid-December, the USPS graciously responded to JAVA's request to include the MIS as part of the GO FOR BROKE Nisei Stamp Campaign.
A transcript of the USPS letter follows:
Shawn P. Quinn
Manager, Stamp Development
December 10, 2020
Mr. Gerald Yamada, President
Japanese American Veterans Association
Post Office Box 341198
Bethesda, MD 20827-1198
Dear Mr. Yamada:
Thank you so much for your letter dated November 19, 2020.
We deeply appreciate the valuable insight you provided to us as we celebrate the many contributions of the Japanese American veterans. We are aware of the many contributions of the members of the Military Intelligence Services and fully intend to honor those who served as linguists and interpreters. We provide the additional information below in the longer pieces we prepared for the issuance:
"After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941, second-generation Americans, known as Nisei, were initially subjected to increased scrutiny and prejudice because of their heritage. Despite being American citizens, they were denied the opportunity to fight at the outset of World War II and many Nisei were evacuated to concentration camps for fear their loyalty lay with the country of their parents rather than the country in which they were born and raised.
The Nisei were eventually formed into what became one of the most distinguished American fighting units of World War II: the all-Japanese American 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team, whose motto was "Go for Broke." The Army also turned to Nisei to serve as translators, interpreters, and interrogators in the Pacific Theater for the Military Intelligence Service (MIS). Altogether some 33,000 Japanese American served in the U.S. Army during World War II."
There will be occasions when we have limited space available to us and won't have the room to name all of the service units being honored, but we will be sure to explain that soldiers who served as linguists and interpreters are included in this important group. We appreciate your drawing the issue to our attention, and we will be sure to specifically name the Military Intelligence Services whenever possible.
Thank you for helping us to ensure that the stamp design honors all Japanese Americans who served during World War II.
Shawn P. Quinn
475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW
Washington, DC 20260
U.S. Postal Service to Issue US Postage Stamp to Honor WW II Nisei Soldiers
L-R. Fusa Takahashi, Wayne Osako, Aiko
O. King. Photo: Lynn Franklin
(Los Angeles, CA, 2015).
Ohira. Photo by Wayne Osako (Camarillo,
Stamp Our Story Committee
Sacramento, CA. “Always be proud of your heritage,” said Stamp Our Story campaign founder Fusa Takahashi of Granite Bay, California. “It’s what our parents taught us that made these soldiers give their best.” Ms. Takahashi (93), is the second-generation Nisei woman who began the Stamp Our Story campaign in 2005, first called the “Nisei World War II Soldiers Stamp Campaign.” The campaign’s goal has been to get a US commemorative postage stamp that would tell the story of the Japanese Americans who served in the US military during World War II.
Ms. Takahashi and the Stamp Our Story campaign received good news this fall. On November 17th, 2020, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announced the inclusion of a commemorative stamp honoring the “Go For Broke Japanese American Soldiers of World War II” in its 2021 line up. “I hope with the issuance of this stamp that we will be able to make the general public aware of what the Nisei soldiers have accomplished, and help to dispel the discrimination many Asian Americans are still facing,” said Ms. Takahashi.
The “Go For Broke” stamp is the culmination of over 15 years of work by many. The campaign began after Ms. Takahashi and her childhood friend, Aiko O. King, first discussed the stamp idea at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles in 2005. “After seeing an exhibition on the Nisei soldiers and their accomplishments, we started this idea of trying to get a stamp issued to commemorate their deeds accomplished in World War II,” explained Ms. Takahashi. “We first felt we needed some way for the public to know more about these young men who volunteered or were drafted from behind barbed wire. They had their freedom taken away and yet they fought with such bravery and valor.”
Following their early discussions, Ms. Takahashi and Ms. King were soon joined by the late Chiz Ohira, Nisei wife of the late 442nd veteran Ted Ohira (H Co.). Ms. Takahashi is the widow of the late Nisei veteran Kazuo Takahashi (Military Intelligence Service). The three women were incarcerated in the camps during the war: Ms. Takahashi and Ms. King were in Amache, Colorado, and Ms. Ohira was in Poston, Arizona. The women first wrote letters to the USPS and distributed handwritten petitions to their family members and friends. The origin of the stamp campaign is with the family and friends of the Go For Broke soldiers, who have embraced the effort since it first began. Through the hard work of many in just the first two years of the campaign, over fifteen thousand people from across the country had signed their petitions.
Their efforts developed to involve organizations and lawmakers. They first distributed petitions at meetings for organizations of Nisei World War II veterans and their families. They set up tables at cultural events like Nisei Week in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, and the Japanese American festival in Camarillo, California. Many chapters of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) got involved. Ms. King’s Ventura JACL Chapter in California was the first to help. Even strangers they never met joined them, such as Carole Herhold of Chicago, Illinois, who had no direct ties to the Japanese American community but felt so strongly to support the campaign that she spearheaded a successful effort to get a state resolution and her congressman’s help. “Helping remember the sacrifice and service of these young men is the right thing to do,” she said in 2008. She was joined by Bill Yoshino, Midwest Director of the JACL, and Chicago JACL members. Besides Illinois, many JACL chapters participated nationwide, including the National JACL. Among them, Mas Hashimoto and the Watsonville-Santa Cruz JACL chapter were especially prominent since the early years of the campaign. The Go For Broke National Education Center, with Christine Sato-Yamazaki, notably worked with Rabbi Abraham Cooper and the Simon Wiesenthal Center for a joint press conference in support of the stamp in 2007.
By 2020, supporters had documented lawmakers’ help from local, state, and national levels. Seven state assemblies passed resolutions: Hawaii, California, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and Illinois. In addition, letters of support were collected from three state governors, 91 members of Congress, two Consul Generals of Japan, and numerous local officials including mayors and city councils. California saw bipartisan help led by critical early assistance from former Congressman Mike Honda and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Rep. Adam Schiff, former Governor Jerry Brown, and State Rep. Mike Eng who championed its state resolution. Hawaii saw help at all levels, first from State Senator Les Ihara Jr. and State Rep. John Mizuno, then from Governor David Ige, and the whole congressional delegation, notably championed by the late Rep. K. Mark Takai. With Utah JACL chapters involved, Utah State Senator Jani Iwamoto, whose late father was a Nisei World War II veteran, was central to securing a state resolution, and letters of support from the entire Utah congressional delegation, Attorney General Sean Reyes, and Governor Gary Herbert. Help from the state of Washington was led by JACL chapters, and the Seattle Nisei Veterans Committee, and resulted in a state resolution and letters of support from its members of Congress. Help from Oregon was led by Portland JACL, and Dr. Linda Tamura, and resulted in a state resolution and support letters from its congress members. Wyoming’s congressional delegation co-authored a letter of support after assistance from the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation Executive Director Brian Liesinger, current Chair Shirley Ann Higuchi, and former Senator Alan Simpson. The efforts of Mia Russell and the Friends of Minidoka led to a coauthored letter of support from Idaho’s congressional delegation. Dr. Brian Yamamoto’s efforts led to Alaska’s congressional delegation voicing support. Highlights also include help from Texas over the years from Rep. Al Green, William Scarbrough and the 36th Division Association, Sandra Tanamachi, Gary Nakamura and the Houston JACL, and Texas Standard Radio’s W.F. Strong. Additional highlights include the National Military and Veterans Alliance letter of support in 2010, key help from Rabbi Shmuel Novack (grandson of the late Lt. David Novack), support from Historian Eric Saul, and the boost from documentary film producer Jeff MacIntyre. Key support and encouragement were received from former Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, and the late Senators Daniel K. Inouye and Daniel Akaka during the campaign.
The result of these collective efforts coupled with critical assistance from the Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA) has led to the issuance of the “Go For Broke” stamp. “We are forever grateful to the JAVA leadership, especially Gerald Yamada and Terry Shima, and the entire JAVA family, for the kind support over all these years, and we look forward to celebrating the stamp’s issuance with them,” campaign co-chair Wayne Osako said. “The support has been so important for us since the early years of the campaign. An example that we would like to highlight is the help from Eileen Roulier, Gerome Villain, and Hervè Claudon. They tirelessly organized petition signatures and letters of support from French citizens and lawmakers over a number of months.”
The stamp will be issued sometime in 2021, but the date has not yet been announced. Following the issuance of the “Go For Broke” stamp, Stamp Our Story will continue to work toward educating the public about the proud American story behind the stamp. For additional information, including a more comprehensive list of support, visit www.StampOurStory.org.
Large National Veterans Federation Applauds USPS Nisei Stamp
Washington, DC. While attending the monthly meeting of the National Military & Veterans Alliance (NMVA) on December 7, 2020, JAVA President Gerald Yamada announced that the United States Postal Service will honor all Nisei soldiers who served in World War II with the Go For Broke US postage stamp in 2021. To share this good news, NMVA immediately sent an email message to 48 addressees, including NMVA’s 35 member organizations, congratulating “Gerald Yamada and all the members of JAVA for their tireless efforts to make this a reality! NMVA will be sharing this on its Facebook page and Twitter account; we ask that all of you consider sharing it from there as well.”
JAVA’s active participation in NMVA activities is an important way of JAVA showing support for military and veteran issues beyond the Japanese American community. NMVA is a non-profit and non-partisan umbrella organization of 35 veteran- and military-serving organizations that expands the military and veteran community’s ability to present a united front to the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Congress, and the White House. By working together, the larger voice of the combined associations’ memberships and their families help to promote the objectives concerning a wide-range of military quality of life issues, including pay, personnel, medical, survivor benefits, military housing, education, veterans, and military retiree issues. NMVA represents more than 3.5 million members. Collectively, the member organizations represent some 80 million Americans – those who serve or have served their country and their families. JAVA is a member of NMVA, and JAVA President Gerald Yamada is JAVA’s representative to NMVA.
SERVED: Military Women’s Stories
Podcast host, Melissa Ritz, interviews women who have served in the military in SERVED: Military Women’s Stories.
In the latest episode of SERVED, JAVA member, Kay Wakatake, the Staff Judge Advocate for the Army Medical Command at the Pentagon, shares her experiences of attending Airborne school, deploying to Iraq, balancing work and personal responsibilities, and leveling the playing field both physically and intellectually while stationed at an infantry division overseas.
Listen to the podcast here: https://www.podbean.com/eu/pb-ncrxr-f61413
In an earlier recording, JAVA member, Persian Gulf War veteran and Bronze Star recipient Denise High shares her journey of growing up as a Navy "brat", pivoting careers as a civilian and as a recruit, unifying under pressure at wartime, a surprise multilingual romance, and reinvention during a military drawdown. (Denise is married to JAVA Vice President Howard High.)
Listen to the podcast here: https://www.podbean.com/eu/pb-f3dta-f39df1
In this episode, JAVA member Vicki Jordan shares how her love for languages led her from Nebraska to the Army's Defense Language Institute in California, where she excelled in Russian and met her husband. Vicki also served as the Chief of Staff of the Operations Directorate at the NSA, and shares the importance of leadership, teamwork and communication in the evolving digital age of cyber intelligence and security.
Listen to the podcast here: https://www.podbean.com/eu/pb-xmi2c-f5bc03
U.S.-Japan Council Hosts A Conversation with General Paul M. Nakasone
Friday, January 11, 2021
6:00-7 pm EST / 5:00-6 pm CST / 4:00-5 MST/ 3:00-4 PST / 1:00-2 pm HST
"Join the U.S.-Japan Council and The Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (National ACE) on January 11 for an exclusive interview with General Paul M. Nakasone, Commander, U.S. Cyber Command and Director, National Security Agency/Chief, Central Security Service. General Nakasone is currently the highest-ranking officer of Japanese and Asian American heritage in the United States Army.
This webinar is brought to you by Presenting Sponsor, Deloitte, and will be moderated by Joe Ucuzoglu, Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte US. Tune in for an engaging and inspiring conversation with the United States’ most senior official dealing with the critical issue of cybersecurity for our country, during which we will discuss U.S.-Japan & East Asia relations, global and domestic security issues, leadership and more!
This event is open to the public and off the record. Simultaneous Japanese interpretation will be available."
When: January 11, 2021 from 6:00-7:00 pm ET
Where: Virtual Event
Registration: Click here
JAVA sends a warm Aloha to our new Veterans as well as new Friends of JAVA.
LT Brian Abe, U.S. Navy Blue Angels
Tara Asami, USAR and USAF
LTC Ben Dennis, USA (Ret)
John Ikeda, USA
Vicki Jordan, USA
John Kakinuki, CA ARNG, JAG
LTC Janette Kautzman, USA
SFC Jaekuen Lee, USA, SOC
Matthew Song, USA, SOC
CW3 Gordon Watanabe, USA (Ret)
JAVA offers a 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.
Michelle Amano - 2020 Fundraising Appeal
Spencer Baba - 2020 Fundraising Appeal
Diane Nakashima Barstein - 2020 Fundraising Appeal
COL Julia Coxen, USA - 2020 Fundraising Appeal
Lt Col Toki Endo, USAF (Ret) - 2020 Fundraising Appeal - IMO brother, CAPT Nori B. Endo, USN (Ret)
Elliot Frankeberger - 2020 Fundraising Appeal
Thomas Guglielmo and Nikki Kadomiya, In Appreciation for the JAVA Research Archive and IMO of Nikki’s grandfather, Yasugo Kadomiya
Erica Harris - 2020 Fundraising Appeal
Akira Horiuchi - 2020 Fundraising Appeal
Shannon and Wayne Inouye - 2020 Appeal - Inouye and Taubkin Scholarships
CPT Wade Ishimoto, USA (Ret) - 2020 Fundraising Appeal
John Kakinuki, CA ARNG - 2020 Fundraising Appeal - Inouye Scholarship
Lynn Kanaya - COL Jimmie Kanaya Scholarship
Sherin Kawamoto-Ferguson - 2020 Fundraising Appeal - IMO of father, Yukio
CPT Jun Kayama, USA - 2020 Fundraising Appeal
Duane Wesley Koyano - 2020 Fundraising Appeal - IMO of father, Wesley
Kaname Koyano, 442nd RCT
LTC Jason Kuroiwa, USA (Ret) - 2020 Fundraising Appeal
CDR David Lee, USN (Ret) - 2020 Fundraising Appeal
Vincent Matsui - 2020 Fundraising Appeal
Dr. James T. McIlwain - IMO Roger Eaton
Richard Mikami - 2020 Fundraising Appeal - IMO Judge Vincent Okamoto
Dorothy Miller - COL Virgil R. Miller Scholarship
Randy Miller - COL Virgil R. Miller Scholarship
Hollis Molden - 2020 Fundraising Appeal
Hollis Molden - Founder's / Ishio Scholarship
Mary Murakami - 2020 Fundraising Appeal - Memorial Day
LTC Mark Nakagawa, USA (Ret) - IMO Lawson Sakai
LTC Mark Nakagawa, USA (Ret) - IMO Ranger Vincent Okamoto
Allan Nakamoto, USN - 2020 Fundraising Appeal
LTC Robert Nakamura, USA (Ret) - 2020 Fundraising Appeal
Ellen Nakashima - 2020 Fundraising Appeal - IMO of father, Shigemitsu Nakashima, MIS, uncle, Isaac Nakashima, 100th BN, and uncle, Richard Nakashima 442nd
National Japanese American Memorial Foundation - Veterans Day Program
CAPT Roger Natsuhara, USN (Ret) - 2020 Fundraising Appeal
Terrence Okura - 2020 Fundraising Appeal - In Appreciation of Jeff Morita
Rhian O'Rourke - 2020 Fundraising Appeal
COL Walter Ozawa, USA (Ret) - 2020 Fundraising Appeal
Lester Sakamoto - 2020 Fundraising Appeal - IMO of father, Sueo Sakamoto, 442nd RCT
Vickie Schaepler - 2020 Fundraising Appeal - IMO of father, Shizuo Sakurada
Hiroshi Shima - 2020 Fundraising Appeal
Metta Tanikawa - 2020 Fundraising Appeal
Julie Ishio Tsuchiya - Founder's / Ishio Scholarship
Grant Ujfusa - 2020 JAVA Fundraising Appeal
Vietnam Veterans of America, Dean K. Phillips Memorial Chapter 227 - 2020 Fundraising Appeal - JAVA Scholarship Program
Elizabeth Vokac - COL Virgil R. Miller Scholarship
Ruth Sono Watanabe - COL Jimmie Kanaya Scholarship
Gerald Yamada - 2020 Fundraising Appeal
Takashi Yamamoto, USN (Ret) - 2020 Fundraising Appeal
Allan Yamashiro - 2020 Fundraising Appeal
CAPT Homer Yasui, USNR - 2020 Fundraising Appeal