First Japanese American Appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy

Melvin Inamasu and Violet Harada
Courtesy: Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i

Humility. Honesty. A passion for service to country. These qualities define Takeshi Yoshihara, who, in 1949, became the first Japanese American to receive an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy.

When Yoshihara reminisces about how he received this historic honor, he wonders with typical modesty, “Why me?” Most Annapolis cadets had been star athletes and class presidents in high school. “All I had on my resume was one semester serving on the Junior Patrol, helping with after-school traffic,” he said, chuckling. He humbly neglects to mention that he was among the top 10 students in his high school and that he was nominated by the student council to be the class valedictorian.

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