John Suzukida from Arden Hills Shoreview Rotary was our presenter on Friday morning. John spoke about his family history coming from Japan.
Issei (Eee-say) are 1st generation immigrants, all of whom were denied U.S. citizenship due to being Japanese. Nisei (Nee-say) are 2nd generation, born in the U.S.. Both Nisei and Issei were incarcerated in America’s Concentration Camps.
Posters were the way of communication between the government and persons of Japanese Ancestry, of what the rules were. What and when they had to report and what they could bring. They could only bring what they could carry. The posters were hung on telephone and power poles.
442nd Regimental Combat Team & 100th Battalion: all Japanese-American, October 1944 rescue of the “Lost Battalion”, a unit of the Texas 36th Infantry Division in France’s Vosges Mountains.
- 800 Japanese-American casualties while rescuing 211 members in 6 days.
- It is the most decorated unit in American history: 8 Presidential Unit Citations and 300% casualties (multiple injuries per person).
- 23,000 Nisei served in US military, 18,000 decorations for bravery including a Medal of Honor, 52 Distinguished Service Crosses, 560 Silver Stars, 28 with oak-leaf clusters, and 9,486 Purple Hearts.
- 6,000 served in Army military intelligence specialists in Pacific, were credited with shortening the war by 2 years by Gen. Charles Willoughby, intelligence chief for Gen. MacArthur. Of the 6,000 Japanese-American in the MIS, less than 10% spoke or understood any Japanese.
“It might be looked back upon as an experience or happening in the United States of America that was a result of our own immaturity as a democracy.” – Henry Suzukida