Whether you are an islander or a visitor to Hawaii, please take the time to honor the Nisei veterans by visiting the Nisei Fighting Men Exhibit. The exhibit will remain until the end of the year. The exhibit is on display at the main branch of Central Pacific Bank (2024 North King Street, Honolulu).
Nisei soldiers were second-generation Japanese-Americans who fought during World War II for their country, although that country neither trusted nor respected them. Several thousand Japanese-Americans who volunteered to serve were from the Islands of Hawaii; the remaining Nisei soldiers volunteered from the relocation camps on the mainland. A total of 17,600 Nisei men served in the armed forces. Every unit in which they served became known for its bravery under fire.
The Nisei men of Hawaii's 100th Infantry Battalion were the first allowed to serve in the armed forces. The battalion proved immediately that they were true soldiers, ready to defend and honor their country. Due to their outstanding performance, the government reversed its decision to prohibit Japanese-Americans from serving in the armed forces.
The Nisei fighting men served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion, Military Intelligence Service and Hawaii's famed Japanese-American unit of the 100th Infantry Battalion. The fighting motto of the Nisei soldier was "Go For Broke".
The 442nd Regimental Combat Team became the most highly decorated unit in United States' history. More than 18,000 individuals received citations. Eight of these Nisei soldiers units were awarded Presidential Unit Citations. More than 700 men gave their lives and over 9,500 were wounded and awarded the Purple Heart. The battalion earned the name the "Purple Heart Battalion".
The exhibit is quite moving, with pictures and memorabilia. You will find pictures of Senator Daniel K. Inouye, who earned the Medal of Honor, Elton Skamoto, Sakae Takahashi, Sueo Sakamoto, a McKinley High School graduate, and his brother, Ulichi Sakamoto. Ulichi Sakamoto was one of the 700 Nisei soliders who were killed in combat.
Nisei Veterans Memorial Center (Maui)
Go For Broke National Education Newsletter
Go For Broke - The movie (still available on VHS and DVD)
The Spirit of Go For Broke - Hickam Air Force Base