Japanese American Veterans Association


Vol. 4, No. 57, February 1, 2023

RSVP for JAVA's Annual Membership Meeting and Awards Presentation! 

On Saturday, February 4, 2023, from 3:00 pm EST/ 12:00 pm PST / 10:00 am HST, JAVA will hold its General Membership Meeting and Awards Presentation virtually on Microsoft Teams. All are welcome! Please RSVP!



Presented to

General Paul M. Nakasone, U.S. Army


Posthumously Presented to

Commander Michael Omatsu, U.S. Coast Guard



Presented to

Christine DeRosa

JAVA Scholarship Chair


Presented to

Bruce Henderson

Author, "Bridge to the Sun: The Secret Role of the Japanese Americans Who Fought in the Pacific in World War II"


After the 2023 Awards Presentation, the annual meeting will center around JAVA’s future direction. Howard High, JAVA Vice President and Chair of JAVA’s Strategic Planning Committee, will lead the discussion on organizing the committee’s work. Also at the meeting, Gerald Yamada will review JAVA initiatives, and JAVA Committees will report on activities. Additionally, members will be asked to consider and ratify the JAVA By-Law Amendment on membership composition. 

The JAVA's General Membership Meeting is posted on Eventbrite. JAVA members and Friends of JAVA should register for the meeting at this link: 

JAVA's General Membership Meeting Tickets, Sat, Feb 4, 2023 at 3:00 PM | Eventbrite 

All those who register on Eventbrite will be sent a link to join the meeting on Microsoft Teams. Please reach out to Howard High if you have questions about joining the meeting at howard.high@java-us.org.

JAVA's Annual Membership Meeting and Awards Presentation Program

Pre-Meeting Video Stream 2022 Images

Call to Order – Gerald Yamada, JAVA President

Welcome Remarks – Howard High, JAVA Vice President

Pledge of Allegiance – CPT Wade Ishimoto, USA (Ret)

Remarks – Gerald Yamada, JAVA President

Awards Presentation – Gerald Yamada

Honor, Courage, Patriotism – GEN Paul M. Nakasone, USA

Terry T. Shima Leadership – CDR Michael Omatsu, USCG

Veterans' Advocate – Christine DeRosa

JAVA Legacy Award – Bruce Henderson

Proposed By-Law Amendment – Gerald Yamada

Strategic Planning Committee – Howard High

Committee Reports – Freedom Walk, Membership, Finance, Nominations, Scholarship, Outreach, Hawaii Regional Representative,  Executive Director

Announcements – Howard High

Closing & Group Screenshot – Howard High

Adjournment – Gerald Yamada

Go For Broke Soldiers Stamp Soon to Be Retired

Get them now, or theyll be gone

Two attendees to the Poston Pilgrimage show off the special Go For Broke Soldiers Stamp pictorial postmark on October 21, 2022, in Parker, Arizona. The Stamp Our Story Committee worked with the Poston Community Alliance and Parker Postmaster Bob Adams for the special postal event. The stamp is being phased out by the USPS in 2023. Photo: Courtesy of SOSC.

PRESS RELEASE — For Immediate Release

NOTE: This press release has been updated from a previous version issued last week

1/23/23By the Stamp Our Story Committee (SOSC)

Contact: Wayne Osako, SOSC Chair • Cell 714-222-6530 • wtosako@gmail.com 

The U.S. Postal Service will stop selling the Go For Broke Japanese American Soldiers of World War II Commemorative Postage Stamp sometime this year. The remaining inventory will be destroyed,  postal sources recently shared with the Stamp Our Story Committee, the community group that led the fifteen-year campaign for the stamp.

All commemorative stamps are printed in limited quantities and sold for a limited time, typically one to two years. This coming June will mark two years since the Go For Broke Soldiers Stamp was first issued in Los Angeles, California, on June 3, 2021.

We strongly encourage interested individuals and organizations to buy up the remaining Go For Broke Stamps — let s sell out the stamp!” said Wayne Osako, chair of the Stamp Our Story Committee. “This is a wonderful way to show your support for the Nisei Soldiers legacy, and to send a message to Washington that more stories like ours ought to be shared.”

The Committee hopes that the success of the stamp will lead to a future Senator Daniel Inouye commemorative stamp and others featuring AAPI subjects. There is an ongoing community effort for a Senator Inouye stamp proposal, currently under consideration at the Postal Service.

We would love for people in the community to buy the stamps, particularly those whose loved ones and friends are Nisei Soldiers,” Osako said. Once the stamps are gone, they are gone — the Postal Service does not reprint nor reissue commemorative stamps.”

The USPS has not announced when it will cease selling the stamp and these items. Once the Postal Service stops selling them, the stamp resellers will sell some but raise prices. Anyone can buy the stamp, and legally resell them later at their own price. They can also be resold as part of fundraising.

To continue to raise awareness of the Nisei Soldiers legacy this year and beyond, the Stamp Our Story Committee is releasing a short documentary film about the story behind the stamp. The 18-minute film, titled “Stamp Our Story: Honoring America’s Nisei Veterans,” will show at various film festivals. The Films of Remembrance and DisOrient Film Festivals both recently announced that the documentary will be among their featured films this year.

The Committee is also urging people to keep sending letters to the USPS and to their congressional lawmakers asking them to issue the Senator Inouye stamp.

In addition, the Committee is calling for organizations interested in holding a special event with the Go For Broke Soldiers Stamp pictorial postmark. Manzanar National Historic Site and the Poston Community Alliance both held such events with hundreds of participants to commemorate the Nisei Soldiers story in 2022. Interested organizations can reach out to the Committee for details.

An attendee to the Go For Broke Soldiers Stamp Dedication shares one of the first stamp sheets to be sold by the Postal Service. The dedication ceremony was held at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, California, on June 3, 2021. Photo: Courtesy of SOSC.

We would love for people in the community to buy the stamps, particularly those whose loved ones and friends are Nisei Soldiers,” Osako said. Once the stamps are gone, they are gone — the Postal Service does not reprint nor reissue commemorative stamps.”

The USPS has not announced when it will cease selling the stamp and these items. Once the Postal Service stops selling them, the stamp resellers will sell some but raise prices. Anyone can buy the stamp, and legally resell them later at their own price. They can also be resold as part of fundraising.

To continue to raise awareness of the Nisei Soldiers legacy this year and beyond, the Stamp Our Story Committee is releasing a short documentary film about the story behind the stamp. The 18-minute film, titled “Stamp Our Story: Honoring America’s Nisei Veterans,” will show at various film festivals. The Films of Remembrance and DisOrient Film Festivals both recently announced that the documentary will be among their featured films this year.

The Committee is also urging people to keep sending letters to the USPS and to their congressional lawmakers asking them to issue the Senator Inouye stamp.

In addition, the Committee is calling for organizations interested in holding a special event with the Go For Broke Soldiers Stamp pictorial postmark. Manzanar National Historic Site and the Poston Community Alliance both held such events with hundreds of participants to commemorate the Nisei Soldiers story in 2022. Interested organizations can reach out to the Committee for

The Postal Service is selling the Go For Broke Soldiers Limited Edition Collectible Set on USPS.com along with the stamp. Soon, the Go For Broke Soldiers Stamp and special items like these will cease to be sold by the USPS. Photo: Courtesy of USPS.

Stamp Our Story trailer. Click here to Watch. Stamp Our Story is not showing the full movie online yet because the film is being entered into film festivals this year. Entry into these festivals demands that SOS limit its availability for now.

Japanese faces, American hearts

Their own country questioned their loyalty in the wake of Pearl Harbor. They silenced all doubts

Yoshio Nakamura,  M Company, 3rd Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Photo: Courtesy of Shane Sato “The Go For Broke Spirit” portrait series.  

Reprinted with Permission

Military Times

December 7, 2022

By Jon Simkins

Yoshio Nakamura remembers Dec. 7, 1941, in vivid detail. The panic of a nation. The cries for revenge and anger of his neighbors. The sentiments boiled within him, too.

But “Yosh,” as he likes to be called, also recalls the subsequent rage directed at people who looked like him. The suspicions that followed that day of infamy. The eventual order to leave his home.

That dreaded notice arrived in May 1942. Yosh was a junior in high school in El Monte, California. Just months earlier, inside the walls of that blissfully isolated existence unique to teenage academia, his classmates had elected him president of the school’s honor club.

None of that mattered to those who didn’t know Yosh. Outsiders didn’t see an artist, a farmer, a family-oriented kid. No amount of good standing made a difference once Executive Order 9066 was dispatched from the desk of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Fear and anger incited by politicians and media in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor spawned rumors. Rumors were quickly accepted as truth. Japan must be receiving intelligence from spies in America. An illuminated light on a Japanese-American porch has to be a signal for enemy submarines. It all seemed so believable. How else could a small nation like Japan attack a titan?

“Many people stopped seeing the difference between Japanese-Americans and the enemy,” says Nakamura, now 97. “There was no exception. If you happen to have any Japanese blood, you were guilty. But we were just as shocked and angry as anyone else. We had Japanese faces, but American hearts.”

To read the article in its entirety see: https://www.militarytimes.com/news/2022/12/08/japanese-faces-american-hearts/

Vietnam Veterans' Camp Legacy to Open in DC on May 11!

"We are now just 117 days away from hosting Welcome Home! ~ A Nation Honors our Vietnam Veterans and their Families ~ on the National Mall in Washington D.C., 11-13 May.

Together, with your help, we will inspire Americans to gather, embrace the vital responsibility of honoring our Vietnam veterans and their enduring legacy, and welcome them home!

Thursday, 11 May, a ribbon-cutting will formally open Camp Legacy, which is divided into two experiences, X-Ray and Zulu. X-Ray, located at the west end of the National Mall on the JFK Hockey Fields, will immerse visitors in stories and the legacy of Vietnam veterans, as well as the contributions of families, citizen volunteers and our allies who supported American troops during the Vietnam War period. Helicopter static displays, military performances, daily entertainment, nightly concerts, museum-quality exhibits and rally points will highlight this part of the camp.

Zulu, situated a short walk away in West Potomac Park, will offer all generations more interactive opportunities featuring additional Vietnam War period vehicle static displays, another gathering point for veterans and their families to relax, a Veteran Services Hub, and much more!

A Memorial Walk and Roll, Saturday, 13 May begins at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, proceeds across Memorial Bridge, and finishes with a resonate “Welcome Home!” at Camp Legacy. Saturday’s main event will culminate with a spectacular multimedia celebration at West Potomac Park, closing this 3-day immersive experience."

For more information: https://www.vietnamwar50th.com/.

Meet Colonel Noe-Noel Uchida, French Army


I’m Colonel Noe-Noel Uchida, commanding officer of the French 1st infantry regiment, a 1,200 man strong unit based in Sarrebourg (close to Strasbourg, eastern part of France) and currently deployed on a 4-month mission in Africa.

I’m a kind of French Nisei, as my father is Japanese and I was born in Paris. I’ve joined the French army in 1998.

During a combat training of one of my companies last June, the manoeuvre took place in… Bruyeres.

So I took my pilot and went to the monument to honour our colleagues of the 442.

When I was a cadet officer in the French military academy of Saint-Cyr (1998-2001), I had the great opportunity to write a Memoir on the 442 and I came to LA for 3 weeks in 2001 to interview veterans. One of the most memorable times in my life.

I’m sending you a few photographs of Bruyeres last June.

I hope you all had a nice Christmas and I wish you a happy new year,

Colonel Uchida, French Army


  • The 1st infantry regiment is the oldest active combat unit in the world. I’m its 138th commanding officer since 1479.
  • My civilian email is noenuch@gmail.com
  • I have written a short story about a Nisei during his landing in Europe during WW2. Unfortunately, it has not been translated into English yet. I have a dozen of the 442nd Veterans' original interviews at the end of the book. My first novel has been published last April, it’s about Japanese holdouts in Asia.

Colonel Uchida, French Army, Bruyeres, France, June 2022. Photo: Courtesy of Colonel Uchida, French Army.

Colonel Uchida, French Army, Bruyeres, France, June 2022. Photo: Courtesy of Colonel Uchida, French Army.

Attendez ici - Terminé Broché, a novel by Colonel Uchida, French Army. Image: Courtesy of Colonel Uchida, French Army.

Jiro Yukimura:

My Recollections of

How I Happened to Be on the

USS Missouri on

September 2, 1945 to witness the Surrender Ceremony

It all began with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I was a senior at the University of Hawai'i. Because I was from Kaua'i, I was boarding at Okamura Dormitory at that time. Responding to the urgent request over the radio for volunteers, we signed up for the Hawai'i Territorial Guard. I was initially assigned to a group at the Ala Wai Boat Harbor to watch for a possible Japanese attack by sea. When this did not occur, we were then sent to protect various installations, such as the water pump at Kapahulu, water tank at Wilhelmina Rise, and electric transfer plant at Kuliouou. After a month and a half of this, we were all called back to our company and were told that we were no longer needed. This applied only to us of Japanese descent.

What a blow this was! We all cried, including our non-Japanese friends. I decided to return to my home on Kaua'i. However, I had to return to the airport for three days before there was room for me. The non Japanese had priority. Back on Kaua'i, I tried to do my part in the war effort. I joined the Kiawe Corps on Sundays to help clear the shoreline of brush and kiawe trees, ostensibly to provide a clean line of fire for the army in the event the Japanese attempted to invade by sea.

When the opportunity came to join the 442nd Infantry Regiment in March of 1943, I decided to volunteer and was stationed at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Then, in September of 1943, I was one of 250 from the 442nd Regiment selected to attend the Military Intelligence Service Language School, located at Camp Savage, Minnesota, to learn the Japanese language. Upon graduation in March, 1944, I was shipped out to the ATIS (Allied Translator Interpreter Service) in a place called Indooroopilly, in Brisbane, Australia, to translate various documents that flowed in from the front lines. Our camp was located in a sparsely populated countryside. In our free time, my friend and I used to rent horses to ride about, frequently visiting a picnic park called Lone Pine, about three miles from camp, to see some koalas, dingoes (wild dogs), cockatoos, and wallabies. many war correspondents who were covering the news. So, on August 28, I joined the correspondents and left Manila at 9:30 a.m. on a C-54 plane. At 3:40 p.m., we landed at Kadena Airfield in Okinawa. We got a jeep and explored the island,stopping at Ishikawa Civilian Camp, which consisted of about 27,000 people. I met Terry Muraoka (a Koloa, Kaua'i boy). Rick Labez, a Honolulu Star-Bulletin writer, was with us.

On August 30, we left Okinawa and headed for Atsugi Airfield, our last leg to Japan proper. From the plane, early in the morning, we could see the beautiful pattern of farmlands, with no sign of bombed areas. Soon, at 7 a.m., we banked and landed at the airstrip. It was a remarkable feeling to know that I was one of the early ones to arrive on Japanese soil. The weather was cool and temperate. Planes, one after the other, kept landing and taking off.

At 10:00 a.m., I got on a truck loaded with correspondents and headed for Yokohama. After winding down a narrow and dusty road, we shot down to Kaikan Dori. We arrived at the American Embassy, where we had our lunch. Then we returned to the airfield to witness General Douglas MacArthur's arrival. Our lodging at Yokohama was at the Bund Hotel. A hard, straw bed was my only complaint about this hotel. It had been raining the night before, and the morning was chilly. Some correspondents were scheduled to meet with General Jonathan Wainwright at the Grand Hotel. The next day, on September 2, I nearly missed the bus for the big event. We got on the USS Taylor, a Fletcher-class destroyer, were served snails and coffee, and were transported to the USS Missouri, which was anchored in the middle of Tokyo Bay. We went up to the navigator's deck and watched the surrender ceremony. Sailors stood sharply on the quarter deck and rendered crisp salutes to arrivals-the signatories representing various nations. These and MacArthur's generals stood on the promenade. At about 8:50 a.m., MacArthur arrived with his staff. Then, at 9 a.m., the Japanese delegates arrived, including Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and General Yoshijiro Umezu, accompanied by two others in black frocks and top hats, and others in army uniforms. Shigemitsu had a wooden leg and used a cane MacArthur read his short message and called upon General Wainwright and British Lieutenant General Arthur Percival to sign the surrender document. After signing with two separate pens, MacArthur gave his pens to the two generals, I guess as souvenirs. After the signing by the Japanese, representatives of the United Nations took turns with their signatures.

On September 5, at 3 p.m., Tokyo Rose (Iva Toguri D'Aquino) was brought to the hotel for an interview, and I sat through this session with my M.I.S. partner, Noby Yoshimura, and we had a chance to ask her a few questions. When asked whether she considered herself American, Japanese, or Portuguese, since she was married to one, she replied "American." Asked whether she did a disservice to her country by being "the voice," she denied doing radio propaganda work. However, when portions of an announcement by Tokyo Rose were brought to her attention, for example: "This is your playmate Orphan Annie speaking to you forgotten soldiers...", etc., she admitted being "Annie" but vehemently denied those words. Noby asked her, "How do you feel about Nisei fighting for America?” She replied, "They are doing all right, I guess." "Don't you think you are no good to them?" Her answer: "That's up to you." I asked, “You consider yourself more as Japanese than American, don't you?” She answered, "I don't care what you think. That's up to you.” She was then called away by the 8th Army photographers. While still at the Bund Hotel in Yokohama, some correspondents accosted General Joseph Dillon on the question of having to turn in their side arms before entering the Japanese Diet Building. It is true that we all had pistols at the early part of the Occupation. General Dillon ruled that we must submit to the regulations of the Diet.

When we moved to Tokyo, I shared an office with two administrative officers, Captain Roberts and Captain Fenwick. I had my own desk but no particular job to do. In other words, I was free to do whatever I wanted. However, I had lots of learning to do. For example, when I answered the telephone, I would say, "Moshi moshi," and the caller would also say, "Moshi moshi," which went on for a while, both sides saying, "Moshi moshi"--a hilarious situation. The correct response, I later learned, was to answer, "Hai, hai," as only the caller says "Moshi moshi."Once in a while, I would be called upon to help make the correspondents make a radio connection with their home stations in the states and had to deal with the Japanese technicians. I found that I did not have to learn all the technical terms they used, such as "call signs," "oscillator," "antenna," "interference," etc.; I just got the American and Japanese technicians together, and they were familiar with their common radio jargon.

On October 11 through the 15th, I made an official trip to Hakata, Kyushu, with a Public Relations Office team consisting of Captain H. C. Herman, Morris Landsberg of the Associated Press, Corporal Clyde Hodge of Photo Pool, T/4 James Wolfe and T/4 Dan Witte of Signal Corps, T/5 E.J. Kelbar of Movie. Accompanying us was Colonel Hiroishi of the Japanese Army, who gave me his pistol, saying he would no longer be able to have a gun-a gun I brought home as a souvenir. The crew on the plane was Captain Lofthouse, 1st Lt. B. A. Mitchell, and three other crew members. This trip to Hakata was to get a story about Japanese soldiers returning from Korea.

Another memorable incident while I was in Radio Tokyo occurred when Lowell Limpus of the New York Daily sought my help in getting a little Japanese girl to her home, since she appeared lost. We got in the jeep and started our search. With the information she provided, we travelled to the outskirts of Tokyo, having to stop frequently to ask for help. It was after midnight that we were able to finally get her home. Her grateful parents invited us in for hot tea. We were happy that we were able to get her home, and get back to our routine life. It was about a month later when I received a letter from my friend, Ichiro Okada, who, having been wounded in Italy, was recovering in a hospital in London. He mentioned that he had read a story about me in the New York Daily. Lowell Limpus had written his human interest story about that incident in Tokyo. I was fortunate to have had interesting experiences while stationed in Japan. Captain Lofthouse, whom ! befriended since the trip to Hakata, called me to join him on his flights. We flew around Mt. Fuji, Hiroshima, Kure-shi, and, at my request, flew over Yanai City, Yamaguchi-ken, my parents' home city. My friend George Fujikawa and I took the train to visit Osaka, Kobe, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, my relatives in Yamaguchi-ken, and even down to the southern city of Kagoshima before heading back to Tokyo. Incidentally, when George and I went to Yanai City, we went to the police station to inquire how we could get to Shinjomura, the suburb where my parents lived. A policeman got us in a police car and chauffeured us to our destination.

After about five months in Japan, my three years of service in the U.S. Army was coming to an end. On February 6, with a sword and a pistol as souvenirs, I joined a few soldiers from Hawaii at Yokohama to board the USS Coontz. We sailed first to Okinawa to pick up about 1600 Puerto Ricans. It was here that Captain Howard Cox and Masaji Marumoto joined us. On February 8 we headed for Honolulu, arriving at Pearl Harbor on February 17. I received my discharge in March, 1946, a full three years of military service.

I often wonder what might have happened to me if I had remained with the 442" Regiment and had not been picked to join the M.I.S. I am thankful that I managed to survive and am able to enjoy life thus far. My family and friends got together recently, on November 17, to celebrate my 93' birthday. How fortunate can a person be?

Jiro Yukimura

November 19, 2013

EdNote: Many thanks to Carolyn Morinishi for contacting JoAnn Yukimura who graciously shared this account of her father's life. The photo was provided by Mark Matsunaga, MIS Veterans Hawaii. Three Nisei MIS soldiers were on the deck of the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945, to witness the thirty-minute surrender ceremonies officiated by General Douglas MacArthur.  While Lt Jiro Yukimura, U.S. Army escort for one group of American journalists, observed the ceremonies from the "navigator's deck," 2nd Lt Thomas Sakamoto, escort officer for the press corps covering MacArthur, observed the ceremonies from the "sub-deck." Sakamoto's role is described in detail in the prologue of Bruce Henderson's recently published "Bridge to the Sun:  The Secret Role of the Japanese Americans Who Fought in the Pacific in WW II." The third Nisei was Lt Noboru Yoshimura, media escort.]

MIS Spady Koyama and Japanese Prisoner of War Yoshio Takayama Friendship after WW II

This story is condensed for publication in the e-Advocate with permission from Dr. Nakasone. Spokane, WA. In the Spring of 1944, Spady Koyama, a member of the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) was stationed at the Allied Translation and Interrogation Service (ATIS),  a unit of General Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters in Brisbane, Australia. Koyama volunteered for duty as a linguist with the US 6th Army located at Hollandia, a port town in northern New Guinea under Netherlands control until 1963 when Indonesia assumed sovereignty.   One of the Japanese Imperial forces prisoners-of-war Koyama interrogated was Yoshio Takayama, an Imperial Navy Petty Officer. Because of Takayama’s leadership qualities, he was selected to assist the Americans to assign healthy prisoners to work activities, such as clearing debris from the jungle nearby and processing prisoners for transfer.

In September 1944, the 6th Army was ordered to close their camp to prepare for deployment to a then unannounced secret destination.  Takayama asked Koyama for his name and address so he could look up Koyama after the war to thank him for the kind treatment Koyama extended to them. Koyama was surprised to receive the request but consistent with U.S. Army regulations said he was not able to provide the information, however, if he survived the war and visited Japan he would attempt to locate Takayama. Apart from US military practices, Koyama was concerned releasing his personal information might jeopardize the status of his younger brother and two sisters who lived in Japan. While disappointed, Takayama accepted what he was told.

On October 25, 1944, Koyama’s convoy was en route to Leyte, Philippines.  Koyama’s LST (Landing Ship Tank) took a direct hit from a kamikaze dive bomber. Koyama was seriously hit and the medics, who had judged he was killed, lined up his body on the beach alongside the other dead soldiers.   Koyama said “when I regained my senses, I found myself lying with others on a sandy beach and wondered what my chances were if we were to be strafed by enemy planes. At that time, I noted that my hearing was not up to par and that I could not see out of my right eye. I checked my face for my left ear and right eye and noted that I has suffered cuts and burns on my face. After I checked my face with my right arm, I left the arm on my chest. This single act of leaving my arm on my chest when others on both sides of me were laid side by side with their arms at their sides did indeed attract attention.”

“I heard someone call out to a nearby chaplain who hurried over to my side to ask for my religion. Before I could reply, he asked, “Buddhist”?  When I shook my head, he looked surprised and looked again at my bloodied identification tag and saw a P for Protestant. With that, he launched into the recitation of the 23rd Psalm as I lost consciousness again. This is how I escaped from being buried along with the others.” Koyama left the Army hospital with a piece of shrapnel still lodged in his lung wall.”

In 1946 Koyama was discharged and returned to Spokane, where he worked as a civilian for the Galena Air Depot. Late that year the War Department invited him to return to active duty as a Tech Sergeant, the rank he was discharged. In January 1947 he reentered the U.S. Army and later that year received a direct commission to 2nd Lt.  Two years later Koyama was assigned to Tokyo.  Recalling the promise he had made to Takayama, Koyama began his search through Army channels. Takayama was found in two days and Koyama arranged and paid for Takayama’s visit to Tokyo. 

Koyama said he went to Tokyo Station as arranged. ”When our eyes met, there was instant recognition on his part and tears began running down his face.   I hurriedly took him to a nearby store and improved his appearance before taking him to our home in Tokyo. Takayama insisted on staying in Tokyo to work for me, but after about 10 days I finally succeeded in persuading him to return to his family, parents, and farm.” 

Soon after Takayama left Tokyo, Koyama was visited by a young man, Satoshi Hirano, age 18, who said he was Takayama’s neighbor and had come to Tokyo to serve Koyama. Koyama said he did not need any assistance, spent long hours to persuade Hirano to return to his prefecture. When Koyama realized he could not get Hirano to budge, he assisted in settling Hirano in Tokyo, where he got married, raised a family, and became a member of his Tokyo ward assembly in which he served for over 20 years.

The friendship between the two wartime enemies grew stronger with time and Takayama and Hirano visited Koyama in Spokane in 1989. Koyama’s career in the Army included assignments to Korea during the Korean conflict and to Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Colonel Phil Ishio, JAVA founding president, was in the same LST as Koyama and frequently related Koyama’s survival at Leyte. 

Source: The Nisei Soldier:  Historical Essays on WW II and the Korean War; by Edwin M. Nakasone, Professor of History, Century College, April 1999; pp 158 - 166.

February "Battle Briefs" and "History Talks" at the National Museum of the United States Army 

JAVA member CPT Wade Ishimoto, USA (Ret) passed along news of fascinating public programs - virtual and in-person - at the United States Army Museum.  Please note that registration is required. Please click the links below for more information and to register. 

Battle Briefs

The Revolutionary Leadership of George Washington

with James Dubik and Charles Neimeyer

Tuesday, February 7, 2023 | 7 p.m. (ET) | Virtual
Tuesday, February 14, 2023 | 12 p.m. (ET) | Virtual and In-Person


“Our Girls Over There”: The Hello Girls of World War I

with Tracy Bradford and Jennifer Dubina

Tuesday, March 7, 2023 | 7 p.m. (ET) | Virtual
Tuesday, March 14, 2023 | 12 p.m. (ET) | Virtual and In-Person


Traitor in the Tidewater: Benedict Arnold’s Virginia Raid, 1781

Tuesday, April 4, 2023 | 7 p.m. (ET) | Virtual
Tuesday, April 11, 2023 | 12 p.m. (ET) | Virtual and In-Person

Click here for more information and to register for a "Battle Briefs" program

History Talks

The Revolutionary War Soldier’s Load: The Beginning of the U.S. Army

Wednesday, January 11, 2023 | 12 p.m. ET | Virtual
Wednesday, January 18, 2023 | 12 p.m. ET | Virtual
Wednesday, January 25, 2023 | 12 p.m. ET | Virtual and In-Person


“We Return Fighting”: The Harlem Hellfighters in World War I

Wednesday, February 8, 2023 | 12 p.m. ET | Virtual
Wednesday, February 15, 2023 | 12 p.m. ET | Virtual
Wednesday, February 22, 2023 | 12 p.m. ET | Virtual and In-Person


“Like Angels from Heaven”: U.S. Army Nurses and the War with Spain

Wednesday, March 8, 2023 | 12 p.m. ET | Virtual
Wednesday, March 15, 2023 | 12 p.m. ET | Virtual
Wednesday, March 22, 2023 | 12 p.m. ET | Virtual and In-Person

Click here for more information and to register for a "History Talks" program.

Veterans Calls and Texts to the Veterans Crisis Line Increased Over the Holiday Season

WASHINGTON The holidays can be stressful times for Veterans. The Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) offers support to Veterans who reach out for help, and this holiday season saw an increase in Veterans’ calls.

Over the New Year Weekend – Dec 31, 2022 to Jan 1, 2023 – the Veterans Crisis Line received 3,869 calls. 25 calls experienced wait times greater than 240 seconds, but all were responded to within the same day. This total was 18.6% higher than the FY23 weekend average to date. Specifics by day:


29.6% more calls than last year

22.8% higher than the average since implementation of 988 (July 16, 2022)


27.6% more calls than last year

23.7% higher than the average since implementation of 988

Typically, 1-2% of calls are abandoned before they are answered. Due to the unusually high volume, 5.1% of Saturday calls and 3.8% of Sunday calls were abandoned (a total of 173 calls). All abandoned calls were reached through call back outreach by responders or the caller calling back.

In addition, there was a 25% increase in chat and a 73% increase in text contacts for this weekend versus last year.

“We want all Veterans to know that caring, qualified responders are always here for them and ready to help – even in times of particularly high stress and high demand like the holiday season,” said Denis McDonough, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. “You can reach the Veterans Crisis Line at any time by calling 988, then press 1. Don’t wait, reach out.”

Since July 16, 2022, the Veterans Crisis Line has been easily accessible via 988, press 1. The new, shorter number, implemented thanks to the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020, directly addressed the need for ease of access and clarity in times of crisis, both for Veterans and non-Veterans alike.

In FY23 to date, over 200,000 calls have been answered by the VCL. The Average Time to Answer remains below 10 seconds, with 95% or greater of all incoming calls answered on average within 20 seconds.  

To reach the Veterans Crisis Line, Veterans can Press 1 after dialing 988 to connect with qualified, caring responders.

[EdNote: Thank you to Executive Committee Member LTC Jason I. Kuroiwa, USA (Ret) for passing along this important information from the Department of Veterans Affairs.]



1930 - 2023

By Nori Uyematsu

“To Forget Would Be A Dishonor, To Remember Will Be Everlasting”

I first met Bob Wada at a Japanese American bowling tournament held at Premier Lanes in La Habra, California in September of 1962. Bob and I bowled together in the same bowling lane.  As we were bowling, I found out he was a Korean War Veteran serving with the United States 1st Marine Corp Division.  I served with the United States Army.  We were both in the same area in Korea during the Korean War and I was with the 521st Military Intelligence unit attached to the 1st Marine Corp Division. Bob and I both ended up with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) fighting in the Korean War. 

Bob noted in his personal information in Discover Nikkei that “I joined the US Marine Corp because it was always a dream of both my Mexican American friend, Bob Madrid, and me, ever since we were little boys. I first met Bob Madrid in kindergarten.”

“When the Korean War started in June 1950, we decided to join but we waited for our draft notices because I had just been married. We joined together in October 1950. During our boot camp leave, my wife passed away, thus Bob and I became separated and assigned to different units.”

“While in Korea, I've had visits with my Marine brother, Henry, Bob Madrid, and fellow boot camp Marine Jack Henderson. Also in Korea at the same time was my brother Ted, who had reenlisted in the paratroopers, after serving with K Company of the Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team during WWII.”

“I am most proud of having served as a Japanese American in the U.S. Marine Corps, proud to have been to war and to experience something that I always dreamed of. As kids we used to have make believe wars, even with trenches and rubber guns that fired pieces of old inner tubes. My only regret is that I lost my very best friend in a war that was no longer pretend.”

“Bob Madrid is not here today to experience a full life, be a parent or ever hear the magic word ‘Grandpa’. He is not here because I asked him to join the Marine Corps with me.”

“I always ask myself why I asked Bob to go with me. Was it God's will that I asked him to go with me? Did he go because he really wanted to? Or did I ask him to go because I was too afraid to go alone.”

“I learned a hard lesson from my Korean War experience. If you're going to place your life or your future at risk, don't ask anyone else to go with you, especially your best friend.”

“I just want my family to know that during my military life, my family meant everything to me, and I vowed never to do anything that would embarrass them. I want my family to know I served because I wanted to and I fulfilled the dream of being a U.S. Marine and I was fortunate enough to fulfill it by seeing and experiencing a war,” Robert M. Wada said.

Bob’s PTSD was very severe with his memory of Robert Madrid. After Bob’s discharge from the Marines and becoming a civilian, he would have nightmares at night while dreaming about Bob Madrid, who was killed in action since he was the one who asked Madrid to join the Marines together. Bob would dream about Madrid and scream and holler “Don’t go Bob, don’t go Bob.” This would haunt him for the rest of his life.

As noted in his profile on Discover Nikkei, his personal responsibilities during the Korean War were that he was stationed at Headquarters. His responsibility was to assist the Operations Officer and go on reconnaissance for selection of tank sites and to support infantry assaults. His knowledge of surveying and mapping was used to map specific areas requested by the captain. He was later transferred to D Company and served as a tank crewman.

His Awards, Medals, and Citations received were:

Korean Service Medal w/ 3 Battle Stars
Presidential Unit Citation w/ Ribbon Bar
United Nations Korea Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal
The Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation
U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Ribbon
The Republic of Korea Korean War Service Medal

The Republic of Korea Ambassador for Peace Medal

Bob was born in Redlands, California on July 12, 1930. He was from a family of four brothers Jack, Ted, Henry, and Frank and 4 sisters Mary, Bessie, Helen, and Fumi. Despite being incarcerated at the Poston WRA camp in Arizona during WWII, two brothers served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Europe, and one brother served with the Military Intelligence Service.

Both Bob and another brother Henry served with the Marine Corps in the Korean War. Bob served in the Marine Corps Reserves from 1948 – 1950 and served on active duty from 1950 to 1952 in Korea as a member of a tank crew with the 1st Tank Battalion.

Bob and I both decided to join the Kazuo Masuda Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 3670, located in Huntington Beach, California at that time. The meeting hall was an old two-story refurbished WWII barrack. We joined in 1962 and became life members since this was the only all-Japanese American Veterans organization in Orange County. The post was chartered on November 2, 1957. Most of the VFW Post 3670 members, at that time, were World War II Veterans. To qualify to become a member of a VFW organization, you had to participate in a designated war. Both Bob and I qualified since we participated in the Korean War which began with Communist North Korea invading South Korea on June 25, 1950.  

Army Barrack where Kazuo Masuda Memorial VFW Post 3670 Meeting was first held in Huntington Beach, CA. in 1957. Photo: Courtesy of Nori Uyematsu.

As members, Bob and I became Commanders (President) of VFW Post 3670 numerous times.  We were very active members where we chaired the State of California all-Japanese American Veterans reunion held at the Knotts Berry Farm Hotel. Since I had experience in organizing sales meetings while working for Emerson Electric Company as Manager of Application Engineering, I thought it would be the right time for VFW Post 3670 to organize and host the State of California Nisei VFW Reunion. When we had the first Nisei VFW reunion hosted by the Kazuo Masuda Memorial VFW Post 3670, Bob decided to invite the National VFW Commander and as a result other Nisei VFW Posts also started to invite the National Commander when they hosted the reunion.

There were 14 Nisei VFW Posts in the State of California at that time, and it was a joyous gathering and occasion when we all got together. Today there are only two active Japanese American Nisei VFW Posts left, the Gardena VFW Post 1961, and the Kazuo Masuda Memorial VFW Post 3670 and so no more Nisei VFW Reunions. Very sad. Photo: Courtesy of Nori Uyematsu.

One of the locations where the VFW Post 3670 Meeting was held was on the second floor of the Bank of Tokyo Building in Santa Ana, CA. Photo: Courtesy of Nori Uyematsu.

We are very fortunate VFW Post 3670 has a permanent meeting place, thanks to Bob.  Bob found out about the vacant building which was a County of Orange fire station located in Garden Grove on Dale Street.   Bob investigated and researched to have the building ownership permanently become a property of our VFW Post 3670. Also, if the VFW Post should ever become inactive, Bob had the ownership of the building automatically transferred to the VFW Post 3670 Youth Group.  Once the VFW Post 3670 becomes inactive, the VFW 3670 Youth Group will have permanent ownership of the building. The building has a room large enough to hold a meeting, a kitchen with cabinets, two storage rooms, an attic to store additional items plus a women's and men’s restroom.

Kazuo Masuda Memorial VFW Post 3670 Building located at 12942 Dale Street, Garden Grove, CA 92841-5044. Photo: Courtesy of Nori Uyematsu.

Bob also initiated a yearly fund-raising program for VFW Post 3670 so the post could continue to exist. If the VFW Post 3670 did not have a yearly fund-raising program, it could not survive.

Kazuo Masuda VFW Post 3670 – Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/318855125677095/?mibextid=6NoCDW

Bob was also instrumental in organizing the Suburban Optimist Club of Buena Park chartered on February 10, 1966. He was Suburban’s first charter president. The club was organized to provide the structure and leadership in support of the JA community through civic and youth-oriented programs. One of their main fundraisers was their annual Pancake Breakfast which they still conduct today.

Bob under the direction of the Suburban Optimists Club honored graduating high school seniors of Japanese ancestry at their Annual Youth Recognition Night at Knott’s Berry Farm in May each year. The Suburban Optimist Club was the first organization to honor these students. Some of the high school graduates honored became officers of the Suburban Optimist Club as well as leaders in the Southern California JA community.

Charter Members of the Suburban Optimist Club of Buena Park at a rare photo get together – L-R Hiro Shinoda, Muneo Hamano, Mas Sugihara, Ted Kunitsugu, Rev. Art Takemoto, Tom Hide, Henry Nakano, Jim Yamashita, Charter President Robert M. Wada, and Jim Takata. Photo: Courtesy of Nori Uyematsu.

Bob, a past Nisei Week Pioneer in 2001, was charter president of the Southeast Youth Organization (SEYO) and Suburban Optimist Club of Buena Park (SOC) and asked the VFW in 1968 to join SEYO Youth Program; and I agreed. Bob and I worked to form the SEYO Basketball League in 1969 and became co-editors of the first SEYO booklet. We also became advisors to the VFW Post 3670 Youth Group together, which annually sponsors a statewide basketball tournament with more than 400 teams and approximately 3,500 participants ranging from third graders to adults. The VFW Youth Group was established as a direct result of the formation of SEYO.

Bob said, “I'm very proud that we started SEYO for these youth groups since it was hard for JA boys and girls to compete with tall Caucasian high school basketball players.” Once the SEYO Basketball league was organized, it was a surprise how the girls performed very well in high school. The boys had a difficult time.

In 2019 there were 69 girls playing high school basketball and some of them made all league plus received a scholarship to a college.  With Bob’s starting the Japanese American SEYO basketball league there are now estimated over 1,000 Japanese American boys and girls participating in high school basketball in Orange County today.

Bob was also involved in organizing the Japanese American Korean War Veterans (JAKWV) Organization on January 5, 1996 where he was the first president. The twenty-eight charter members elected the following officers: Robert Wada, President; Minoru Tonai, Vice President; Norio Uyematsu, Vice President; Sam Shimoguchi, Treasurer; and Victor Muraoka, Secretary.

Bob was instrumental in having a Korean Memorial Wall erected listing the names of 257 Japanese American Soldiers Killed in Action in Korea. The wall is located at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) property located at 244 San Pedro Street in Los Angeles. Today there are four walls, the Korean Memorial War Wall, World War II Memorial Wall, Vietnam Memorial War Wall, and other Wars Memorial Wall which are all at the JACCC location.

This Memorial Court is the only location in the US and quite possibly in the entire world, which lists the names of all Japanese Americans and Japanese nationals who were killed in America’s wars. Photo: Courtesy of Nori Uyematsu.

In 2001, the JAKWV dedicated the Japanese American Korean War Memorial Monument in Imjin-Gak Memorial Park, at P’aju City in South Korea, with 247 known Japanese American KIAs’ names listed.

Monument at Imjin Gak, Korea listing names of 257 Japanese Americans Killed in Action

during the Korean War. Photo: Courtesy of Nori Uyematsu.

In an interview with Densho in 2011, Bob was questioned about the campaign he did in 2006 to spearhead the movement to get high school diplomas for his brother Hank, sister Helen, and his friend James Sakato.

He was asked “Why was this important for you? It's not your diploma.” Robert M. Wada said “Basically, I did it because the state had a new law that allowed granting them the diploma. And, of course, my sister passed away, my brother would never go ask for it, James Sakato was a little older and I knew he wouldn't, and I knew they wouldn't go out and do it themselves and so I just took it on myself to get it for them. And I was fortunately successful and they're happy. And my brother -- he graduated in 1945 in Poston -- he goes to the Redlands High School reunions for class of '45. Now, he has an official diploma. So, I just knew they wouldn't do it, so I knew I had to do it. That was my motive. I think my whole life is I try to satisfy people. I try to do things for people that I think need to be done, and I'm not afraid to work hard to get that, at least I haven't so far. But it's rewarding to me to give something that benefits.”

He donated his Poston Boy Scout uniform to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History which is now part of the museum’s Japanese American History Collection.

Bob wanted to tell the experience of living in a United States Concentration Camp and authored a book titled “From Internment to Korea to Solitude” and he also authored another book titled “American of Japanese Ancestry in the Korean War” which tells the story of those Japanese Americans who served in the Korean War. His books are still sold on the internet.    

From Internment to Korea to Solitude, by Robert M. Wada. Image: Courtesy of Nori Uyematsu.

Americans of Japanese Ancestry in the Korean War: Stories of Those Who Served, by Robert M. Wada, Editor Norio Uyematsu. Photo: Courtesy of Nori Uyematsu.

I was happy I was able to have Bob sign this book “Americans of Japanese Ancestry in the Korean War” and I was given the opportunity to present it to the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation Chairman Gen. John H. Tilelli Jr., U.S. Army Retired, at the Wall of Remembrance Dedication banquet in Washington, D.C., on July 26, 2022. The Foundation did not have any record of the Japanese American Korean War Veterans, who served in the Korean War, and this will book will now serve as a reference guide for those that want information on the Japanese American soldiers who lost their lives during “The Forgotten War.” I am also going to give Bob’s signed copy to the Orange County Archives, as well, this year.

In 2019, a program was held at Anaheim High School, under the coordination of Patti Hirahara for the Anaheim Union High School District, to recognize Japanese American families who were incarcerated in the Poston War Relocation Center in Arizona, one of the ten Concentration Camps in the United States. Bob’s family, as well as many of the Anaheim Japanese families, were incarcerated in the Poston Camp. Bob was asked to be on the panel, and he promoted his book “From Internment to Korea to Solitude” at the event.

Anaheim Union High School District “The Poston Experience – Paving the Way for the Next Generations Event August 24, 2019. L-R – Mistress of Ceremonies and Organizer Patti Hirahara, Dr. Don Miyada, Bob Wada, Marlene Shigekawa, Congressman Lou Correa 46th District, Gania Demaree - Trotter, AUHSD Superintendent Michael Matsuda, Tom Leatherman, and Anaheim High School Principal Robert Saldivar. Photo: Shane Sato.

Bob owned a Professional Land Surveying business in Fullerton and retired after 46 years.

Bob enjoyed talking about his experiences and was interviewed by many newspaper, radio and television reporters over the years as well as being a featured speaker at numerous events.

He was the proud father of three sons, Robbie. Glenn, and Garry and a daughter Sharon with ten grandchildren and one great grandchild.

When Bob and I were together, we started talking about our families. Whenever my father visited me from Brigham City, Utah, I would take my father to visit his cousin Mr. Marumoto and Mr. Hanano living in San Diego. Bob asked me why I was going to Chula Vista, and I told him my father wanted to visit his cousin Mr. Marumoto who was living in Chula Vista plus Mr. Hanano who was living in San Diego.  Bob was surprised that we were visiting Mr. Marumoto since his oldest sister Mary was married to Mr. Marumoto.  That was when we found out we were related. 

As Bob wrote in his last words to me when he was hospitalized at UCI, these words brought tears to my eyes, “You and I are very very close friends. We are more than friends, we are family, as we go way back to some real nice memories, somehow, we are even related from Japan with your family and my brother-in-law, Kikuichi Marumoto who came with your dad and all those others from Etajima, Japan through Mexico. A whole group of special friends in San Diego.  We had a lot of fun together for years and years and thank you for chairing each of the post reunions which you made me be the Post Commander during each of the reunion years....” Lifelong friends forever – Bob

At least we had the chance to say goodbye to each other, although not in person since I just had hip joint replacement surgery but when he tried to reach out to me, and I couldn’t really understand what he was saying, I knew he was saying goodbye.

It is very sad that Bob passed away peacefully on Wednesday, January 18, 2023, at 5:40 pm at St. Jude Hospital.

He was an outstanding community leader, and I will miss him very much, but his memory and legacy will last for generations to come.

Questions or Suggestions: Please contact Neet Ford at javapotomac@gmail.com.

Japanese American Veterans Association:  Address: P.O. Box 341198, Bethesda, MD 20827 I www.java-us.org.