Quiet Warriors

On February 19, 1942, two months after the Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066. Almost 12,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans were sent to concentration camps. Among them, two thirds were American-born Nisei. Many of the young men were in two groups: “No-No Boys” and volunteers (or drafted) for the U.S. Army. Now that they are aging, the quiet Nisei veterans are willing to tell their unspoken stories. Having lived through the war themselves, their wishes for peace are immense.

*The total 13 articles in this series were originally published in The North American Post-Northwest Nikkei in 2003. The North American Post recently edited and republished them on their website. 

war en ja

Chapter 3: 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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war en ja

Chapter 2: Bob Sato

“When my kids ask me what I was doing during the war, I can only say that I was a soldier,” said Robert (Bob) Sato.

He was a sergeant in the famed 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated Japanese-American army unit that served with pride and distinction during the Second World War. Like many other Nisei, he has a lot to say about what happened, but is more reticent when it comes to talking about his own feelings during those difficult times.

Bob Sato was born in Fife, near Tacoma. In early 1942, he and his family had to ...

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war en ja

Chapter 1: Richard Naito

On February 19, 1942, two months after the Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066. Almost 8,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans in the Seattle area were sent to internment camps. Among them, two thirds were American-born Nisei. Many of the young men were in two groups: “No-No Boys” and volunteers for the U.S. Army. Now that they are aging, the quiet Nisei ex-soldiers are willing to tell their unspoken stories. Having lived through the war themselves, their wishes for peace are immense. We will bring you their true voices with a series of interviews ...

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