Tom Ikeda
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

Editor’s note: The Herald recently decided to expand its “Legacy of the Sansei” series to include essays by Sansei living on the continental United States. Brian Niiya, who was a contributor to the series last year, introduced series coordinator Gail Honda to many insightful and influential Mainland Sansei as prospective contributors. A good number of them accepted her and Herald editor Karleen Chinen’s invitation to share their perspective. We are honored and delighted to present their essays, which add breadth and depth to last year’s essays by Hawai‘i Sansei.

When I was a kid in the early 1960s, each Memorial Day, my family of seven would go to a Seattle cemetery and place flowers at the grave of Staff Sgt. Francis “Bako” Kinoshita. While my parents lingered at Bako’s gravesite, I would grab extra flowers and play a game of finding tombstones with other Japanese names to place the flowers. I knew my uncle had died while fighting in the war, but his death had always felt distant and somehow normal, given all of the other tombstones with Japanese names and dates of death in 1944.

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