Mikiko Hatch-Amagai

Mikiko Amagai was Managing Editor of The North American Post, the Seattle Japanese-community newspaper, from 2001 to 2005. Of her tenure, Mikiko feels that the most memorable articles she wrote were her interviews of the Seattle Nisei veterans—all but one now deceased. She obtained their stories by “just letting them talk.” She published the accounts in both English and Japanese. On November 1, 2020, Mikiko returned to Tokyo after 44 years in Seattle.

Updated January 20201

war en ja

Quiet Warriors

Mitsuru Takahashi

“[A] Bronze Star doesn’t really mean very much. Every soldier that was overseas got it. This is the Silver Star and this is the Purple Heart. Dog Tag. And the Presidential Citation. And this is the discharge paper,” explains Mitsuru Takahashi showing the framed memoirs with a smile. His wife June, the high school sweetheart from Minidoka Camp, put it together.

“Where did you get hurt?” I asked him.

The expression on his face turned stiff and he answered, “I got wounded in the shoulder. The bullet grazed but missed the bone and the lungs. No surgery or anything ...

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war en ja

Quiet Warriors

Pat Hagiwara

“I feel lucky; my life was (lucky) all the way from my birth. In Alaska, I was growing up very close to each other (other Nikkei)… there was only one school, from kindergarten to high school, in one building… In wintertime, the main drag (Stedman St., Ketchikan) was a hill; the stores blocked off the street with boards, so kids could slide for several blocks…”

Pat Hagiwara talks cheerfully, as though it happened yesterday. He was one of four Nisei soldiers from the Alaska National Guard. Now, he enjoys a quiet, ordinary life.

Pat’s father, originally from Nagano-ken, immigrated ...

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war en ja

Quiet Warriors

Art Susumi

“No, I wasn’t afraid. I saw a lot of dead bodies around me during the war,” said Art Susumi, who became an undertaker at the age of 22.

That was his answer to the question, “Are you afraid to sleep under the same roof with dead bodies?”

Art received a Bronze Star during World War II for rescuing wounded soldiers of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in spite of his own injuries. After the war was over, he became the only Japanese American funeral director in Washington State. He retired from E. R. Butterworth Funeral Homes in 1991 after ...

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war en ja

Quiet Warriors

George (Ganjiro) Morihiro

“It was exciting.”

George Morihiro is talking about his experience in the all-Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II.

“But don’t get me wrong. I was 17. The German soldiers were laid dead or wounded around us, but still, I never thought we would die. I was excited to serve for the country.”

He talks with a smile in his eyes.

George was born in Fife, Washington. His nickname, Ganjiro, came from his father, who came to the U.S. from Hiroshima in 1898 and worked in a sawmill near Tacoma. His mother came from Hawaii. Just ...

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war en ja

Quiet Warriors

Edie Horikawa

“At the field camp (in Europe), kids came to us begging for food, with pans in their hands. Hakujin soldiers kicked them or dumped their leftovers in the garbage in front of them, but us Nisei soldiers, we put our leftovers in each of their pans, thinking that they were like our (Nikkei) kids at home (in the camps) in America…,” Edie Horikawa recalls.

He witnessed how war affects children more. Edie had taught art classes to about 200 children at Pinedale relocation center in California before he joined the army.

“The classes were meant to keep them out of ...

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