Jodie Chiemi Ching
This month, many events surrounding the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II were curtailed because of our state’s pandemic lockdown. The commemoration ceremony at Pearl Harbor on Sept. 2 was shared virtually worldwide with a few guests of honor and community leaders in attendance on the deck of the USS Missouri, once a battleship, now an instrument of peace. The goal of this Herald issue is to honor those who have served and sacrificed in, and been affected by, World War II. From these stories, it is our hope that you will be inspired by the acts of bravery and compassion as we also approach International Peace Day on Sept. 21.
In our lead story, 93-year-old Edwin “Bud” Nakasone illustrates his experience serving in the U.S. Army as an interpreter in Occupied Japan after the end of World War II. “My memories of Occupied Japan are vivid, “ wrote Nakasone. At this point in history, troops were there to carry out acts of compassion, not acts of war. “We came to know and appreciate the difficult travails of the Occupation-era Nihonjins,” he reflected.
Then, focusing on an incredible episode of wartime bravery, National Veterans Network Executive Director Christine Sato-Yamazaki gives us “Takeichi Miyashiro’s World War II Souvenir.” Miyashiro’s preserved matchbox and shrapnel now belong to an exhibit called “Nisei Soldier Experience” at the National Museum of the United States Army in Virginia. The museum’s grand opening was scheduled for this June but has been postponed “until conditions allow.” For now, you can read the story about how Miyashiro’s “souvenirs” serve as a reminder of his military work and legacy.
Kisa Ito’s keynote speech from the 21st anniversary of the Go For Broke Monument in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, is a Yonsei perspective of the legacy of Nisei veterans. She never really knew about her grandfather’s painful memories of fighting in World War II until she and her family joined him on a trip to France. Hearing the details of his experience and witnessing his emotional response to European monuments and cemeteries opened her eyes, inspiring her to live more fully with a Go-For-Broke spirit.
You are never too young to learn about peace. So in recognition of International Peace Day, Herald’s former editor, Karleen Chinen, reviews three books with messages of peace for school-aged children: “The Girl With the White Flag,” “The Complete Story of Sadako Sasaki and the Thousand Paper Cranes” and “The Peace Tree from Hiroshima: The Little Bonsai with a Big Story.”
I want to share the overwhelming feedback we received to “Japanese Truck Farmers of Waimea, Big Island” (the lead story of the Herald’s Sept. 4, 2020, issue). Contributing writer, Dan Nakasone, spoke with sansei and yonsei farmers in Lälämilo, highlighting the history and legacy of Japanese truck farmers. While working with Nakasone on this article, I was surprised to learn about the disconnect between these small family farmers, our policymakers and produce retailers. Farmers reacted by expressing their gratitude for giving them a voice, elected leaders in office told us that they are listening and even retailers expressed their support for family farms.
This is a reason why the Herald exists: to honor the values and legacy of our Issei immigrants while evolving in new ways. We are always striving to provide the community access to knowledge and cultural principles.
Finally, I want to express a big mahalo to groups who have recently reached out, offering to collaborate during the pandemic. I feel so grateful for the Zoom meetings and phone calls that have all asked the question, “How can we help one another?” Local groups like the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, Nisei Veterans Memorial Center, Hawaii United Okinawa Association and the Nisei Veterans League; and even mainland organizations like the Zentoku Foundation, Rafu Shimpo, Go for Broke National Education Center and Nisei Veterans Network. There are many more relationships with organizations, individuals and our subscribers that make the publication of the Herald possible
— Mahalo nui loa …